Sunday, July 13, 2014

Courtesy, Manners and Respecting the Murplemakers

Well, you can see how well I'm doing in maintaining this place!

I'm working on spreading my delightful self like a disease across multiple platforms,so, here I am again! Aren't you lucky!

I promise to all the heavens to murgatroids that my next post will be less... grumpy. BY MY PLIERS I SWEAR IT!

But by golly.. I am baffled.

It's on manners. And the lack thereof that people have. Call it netiquette ( please don't call it netiquette). But it genuinely perturbs me when this scenario occurs.

I create a nifty piece of whatever. We'll call it a Murple. This Murple is pretty. It's simple, elegant, and possibly appeals to a range of people.

I post the Murple on my business page.

Lots of people like my Murple! YAY!

Then I get a comment that goes along the lines of this


Now, I don't begrudge that person that they CAN make it. More power to them, and good for them! But what is the sense in posting that on another Murplemaker's commerce page?

Is it a lack of sense? A lack of class? Have we all gone mad and descended into the darkness of manners, and will soon be taken over by the scurrilous Ape Men?

This same scenario happens all the time at shows. And it's not just to me, the mighty Murplemaker. It happens to pretty much every working artist that I know.

 Say I go to a restaurant. I order a sandwich. Now, I KNOW how to make a sandwich. In fact, I can make a damned fine sandwich if I do say so myself ( it's all about the bacon). Even though I know I have these fine sandwich making capabilities, I don't sit down, look at the menu, see the sandwich selections and scream "I CAN TOTALLY MAKE THAT!" to the other patrons. That would be ridiculous right?

The same sense should be applied to when one is browsing an artist's shop. Online, or in person.

Take a jolly minute ( they're jolly, take TWO!). Think about what you're saying. What you're typing. It's a real person. A real person who puts in a lot of hours, creativity, and dang it, some gumption, to create that Murple. Or that sandwich. Or that painting, photo, paperclip sculpture..whatever. If you like what you see, say so! If you don't; remember what your mother should have taught you..." If you can't say anything nice, then shut the hell up".

Some mothers are really pretty badass.

Manners, people!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Limitations of Imitations

 So... this is an issue that I have been wrestling with on how to approach for awhile. Hopefully it won't come across as too grumpy to you guys, but I feel like it is something that I should address. It's an issue I see not only online, but at shows as well. It's normally not such a bother on my mind, but it's been a little rampant lately, hence the urge to pipe up. 

It's called design theft. 

I put a lot of effort into the creation and design of my pieces.  Each one of them is an original, and come  from my imagination and personal brand of style. I deliberately avoid sites such as Pinterest, and Tumblr for this specific reason. I like keeping my brain fresh with ideas that I know stem from my own personal Muse. 

I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to make a living off of what I create. But this has also come from an inordinate amount of hard work. Countless hours of creating, marketing, traveling, sleep deprivation, more working, more not sleeping, more traveling, more not sleeping...and oh yes... more working.  I cannot tell you how many hours of work I have put in since I opened the shop 8 years ago. Or how much caffeine has had to be consumed. Or how many tens of thousands of dollars have been spent. Most of my shows cost me no less than a thousand dollars just for the booth fee... and often times more than that.  Adding in travel costs, overhead, food, lodging, and employee pay, and then taxes on top of that.. that cost goes up by double easily. Sometimes triple.

  And I am grateful for each and every one of those hours, and every dollar spent. And for my wonderful, fantastic, amazing patrons that help me keep a roof over my head, and allow me to continue to live as a creator. You guys are beyond words. You are stellar. 

So... it comes to the meat of the issue. When I see photos of my work being shared, it thrills me. When I see patrons wearing my pieces and taking photos with their friends.. it still blows my mind, and helps me appreciate over, and over again the gift that the Universe has granted me in being able to do this as a career.  

Conversely, it also hurts me to the bone when I see those same photos being shared with the explicit purpose of duplicating my designs. The share is usually accompanied with phrases like " OMG MAKE THIS FOR ME!!" whatever chainmail making friend is nearby.

It happens in my physical shop too at shows. I've had I don't know how many people wander in, look me dead in the eyes and say "Oh, I'm just here looking for ideas".

 Here's where it gets sticky. 

 I have flaws just like every other person, and I am a jealous mistress when it comes to my creations. They are my brain children. 

There are literally thousands of chainmailers out there. This doesn't bother me in the least. Please, chainmailing bretheren, keep chainmailing! Keep creating! 

But make it your OWN creation. Let those creations come from YOUR brain, soul and heart. Create the designs that are uniquely you. 

Duplicating another artist's work without their explicit permission is theft. Pure and simple. 

Last year, at a Con, I had one gentleman offer the defense of "But there are only so many ideas of what can be done with chainmail..." To which I, admittedly, quite bluntly said, "Bullshit!" 

If I can create dozens of new, original designs, then so can you.  You are only limited by yourself, and how far you want to push your creative edge. Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery... it's the sign of someone too lazy to stretch their mind.

Another phrase I hear a lot is " But my friend can make it for me so much cheaper!". I hate having to  but I have to point out the above facts...that running a business costs money. And not a little money...a LOT of money ( see above ). 

Yes, a lot of my pieces have a high price tag. Because the materials I use are of the highest quality. The closures are solid, and perfect. The designs are unique and one of a kind.

If you love for it! Or talk to me about layaway. 

If you want your friend to create something for you, please, DO! But... let it be something completely of your own. Your own ideas and concepts. 

One thing that I will be changing this year, is watermarking all of my photos, on both Etsy, and whatever I post on Facebook. It's an extra step, and kind of a pain.. but I think it might be necessary. It doesn't prevent someone copying my designs.. but at the very least, my photos will be credited. 

Thanks for listening guys! I appreciate it, and you!