Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's Old Is New Again

Apparently I was fast out of the gate when I first put up pictures of my Artbeads Design Team piece. I was told I was actually the first to post...who says I procrastinate :)

Ha'Penny Farthing (pronounced hay-penny)

Anyway, here is the finished piece with it's Vintage woven chain, slider and beaded teardrop beads.  I confess to having not used much Vintaj but I am a total convert now.

As you may have read in my previous post I was excited that this was going to be a vintage type challenge because I LOVE creating vintage style. I had found some old English coins when going through my Dad's things after he died and had been wanting to do something with them so this gave me the perfect opportunity.
When I came across the Kabela Altar piece I knew what my design would look like and went in search for beads to match it. Swarovski's brass pearls are absolutely awesome and I can't understand why they weren't in my can bet they are now:)  For some depth I chose a dark bronze fire-polish bead which is one of my all time favorites.

I design a lot of vintage looking jewelry...I swear I got hooked on the vintage style as a child going through my grandmother's jewelry box. 
Tips I will share for creating old from new are :~
  • use brass elements, if it's antiqued all the better
  • bronze colors like Delica #322 give an instant vintage feel
  • if you're using something like old coins, clean them but don't take all the age away
  • research vintage jewelry so you know the look you're going for
My finished piece has been worn and got quite a bit of attention which is always wonderful.  I chose to use a slider for the piece as it allows me to wear it at choker length and then longer if I feel in the mood.
For me this was the best project yet, and I now have a family heirloom to pass down:)


Artbeads send me beads and things from time to time so I can play with them and give an honest opinion of the products. I am not reimbursed for this opinion.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tries Too Hard

I think that is my American Indian nick name.
The full version being "Tries Too Hard, Cares Too Much"

I thought it would be a good idea for designers to come together and form a strong group to protect our rights....strength in numbers.
I thought it would be a good idea to have a central location where bead store owners could find reasonably priced designs that they could teach, so they would have no need to infringe copyrights.
But this is not something one or two people can accomplish and without there being some strong support for it, failure would be a given.

I got carried away.
After the awesome support I recieved after my pattern was used without permission I got the idea people really wanted to do something about the unethical things that are going on.

Maybe that is true, maybe there are enough people willing to do something about it...I know there are three or four besides me. But something like this takes a lot more people than that, it's been tried before and failed and I'd bet my bead collection that it was due to the lack of support.

So...what's the solution?
How do we stop our designs from being used other than intended?
Well...the ethical among us will buy a commercial pattern if they even think they're going to use it for more than personal use, the unethical will buy as cheaply as they can and do as they please....thinking that either, no one will know or they won't be able to afford the legal fees to do anything about it.
Sadly, they are right, the law has not caught up to the new wave of self employed designers...and it will probably take a landmark case before it does.

Personally, I'm looking at just hiking my prices and making all my designs into "make to sell" tutorials.  It wrecks me to do that, because I really want the people who are honest to be able to buy a personal use pattern at a reasonable price.  The only way I can see around this is to have some kind of club discount for people I know are not going to violate personal use editions.

I put so much work into my patterns, I know every designer does, and yet it seems we have to defend our right to make our living from our hard work. Some designers do offer the rights for free....those people obviously have other areas of income. I'm actually sick of hearing that. To be honest, they don't help those of us who don't have other areas of income....just as the hobby beader selling her work for cost makes it hard for the professional beader who needs to charge a decent hourly rate for the work she does.

If you have to ask the question "Why can't I use your pattern to teach or sell?" Then I suggest you sit down, design something original, take good photographs of it, then write and illustrate the pattern, market it and then see how you feel when someone starts making money from it without your permission....copies it and undersells you, uses it to teach so they can sell beads, makes it up and puts it in a store on the same site as you for less money and you don't see a penny or even get credit for the design.
And if you don't have the talent/ability/skills to do that then please gain an appreciation for those that do and realise copyright theft takes food off the table of the independent designer.
No one deserves to make a living off the work of another individual without that individual's permission....I don't care who you are or what your sob story is.  Trust me, I have just as good a sob story as you.

I can see my followers diminishing as they read this but c'est la vie. I am struggling to make a living and if it weren't for my living with my mom I'd actually be homeless.  I need to take care of me, now and for the future, I know I have the talent and skills to do so, a passion for what I do and the willingness to work extremely hard for it.
But I get so depressed and disheartened by all the lack of integrity and ethics I feel like quitting frequently.

If you are a designer and/or you want to support a group effort for the rights of the designer and to give an ethical option to bead store owners let me know.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Registry For Independent Beadwork Designers

So, here's what I'm thinking after the week of fighting for my rights.

A registry. Somewhere we can post a picture of a design with a graphic like the ones above that indicate to the viewer whether a teaching edition is available or not. If a teaching edition is available there would be a link to a list of authorized teachers and to where it could be purchased with the rules and restrictions listed.

The benefits of having a registry would be that any bead store would be able to check whether or not a design is available to teach and the laws governing copyright...which should be posted up front so they can't miss them. We could also link to any articles regarding copyright.
I'm sure there might be a few sales too :)

After the response to help me solve my issue I have no doubt that we could reach every bead store in the world with this info and it would be an instant education tool.
We could organize it into sections for bracelets,necklaces, earrings, etc. to make searching easier.

We'd need someone who could create this site and maybe we'd need to pay a small membership fee (based on the number of patterns registered) to help run it but I'm sure it could be done so it's easy for us to upload new designs and tag them with the appropriate graphic.

Thoughts?? Input?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Boycott The Unethical

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I am having issue with a bead store in Chesapeake, VA.  Gu's Haus of Beads is teaching my Triquetra Rope without permission.
After e-mailing the owner and letting her know she wrote back saying she would remove the class.  What she actually did was change the class name from "Triquetra" to "Triquetra Rope".  Yep...what bloody nerve.

This store is committing/supporting theft and thumbing their nose at the people they are stealing from to boot!
Unethical, immoral!
And the really ironic thing is the owner of this store actually quotes the Dalai Lama on her Facebook page.

Now, I do have a teacher's version of this pattern available for $30 but obviously these people would rather pay the $7.50 for a personal use pattern and screw the designer and the law over. 
Their ethics and intergrity are worth $22.50.

If you feel as strongly as I do about the unethical behaviour of this store please let them know

This type of thing is going on way too much and needs to be stopped. Please feel free to share this blog post as it's only by being vocal and getting the word out that we will stop these disgusting practices. are the e-mails


My name is Mikki Ferrugiaro and I am the designer/creator of the Triquetra Rope.
I see that someone by the name of Bonnie is going to be teaching my design at your store.
This person has not purchased the rights to teach this design so I request that you have her contact me and pay for the rights to do this, pay for them yourself or cancel this class.
I am trusting that you were not aware that Bonnie did not own this design (which should have my name attached even when rights to teach are purchased) and that you would not knowingly allow copyright infringement to go on in your establishment.
I look forward to hearing back from you regarding a solution to this problem
Mikki Ferrugiaro"

"Mikki - I'm sorry I didn't know about the circumstances regarding your pattern. I'm taking it off the class schedule. Please let me know if she want's to teach your pattern what your policy is.
Sorry about this
Gu's Haus of Beads"

I'm like most designers we spend a lot of time designing, writing an illustrating patterns and the copyright laws protect our work from being used by others to make a living.
I, like a few other designers, offer a commercial version of my tutorials which give license for my design to be made to sell and even taught. The edition of this pattern in commercial form which allows the project to be taught is $30. When this edition is purchased I send two which has the licensing agreement and another file which is the personal use pattern which can be printed out for students. When someone purchases the commercial edition I am still to be given credit for my design and any variations created from it.
I do even allow someone to 'upgrade' their personal use pattern to the commercial version, they just have to give me the transaction number or date of purchase so I can verify the sale.
To teach or sell my designs without permission is theft and I really appreciate your help in educating people about this. The beading community is a close community and we support each other, keeping an eye out for each other's rights.
Some stores buy my commercial patterns so their in house teachers have something to teach and to protect themselves at the same time.
Thanks for your help and if Bonnie wishes to teach any of my projects have her contact me.
Mikki Ferrugiaro"

"Hi Gu,
I'm not sure if Bonnie has told you she would purchase the rights to the commercial pattern because I do see you still have the class on the website and it has been changed from just "Triquetra" to "Triquetra Rope". I have not sold this pattern in commercial or personal use editions to anyone called Bonnie so I do really need to hear from her. As you don't list her last name I cannot contact her directly.
I really hope we can get this sorted out as I truly don't want to have to take action on this.
Mikki Ferrugiaro"

"Mikki - I'm sorry it took to long for you to see it's off the web page but I'm not constantly on my computer. Then I'm getting a call from California about this. I told you I'll take it off and it is. We have been in business for 6 years and we have a great reputation. It was a mistake from our side and I thought of buying pattern personally for our store and using them with your permission but after this experience with the E-mails and call I won't do it.
Gu's Haus of Beads"

I looked at the website and it was changed changed the name of the class from "Triquetra" to "Triquetra Rope".
So please do not tell me it was an oversight.
Under 17 U.S.C. 504, the consequences of copyright infringement include statutory damages of between $750 and $30,000 per work, at the discretion of the court, and damages of up to $150,000 per work for willful infringement. If you continue to engage in copyright infringement after being informed and asked to cease and desist, your actions will be evidence of “willful infringement.”

I see that in the last few minutes you have removed the class. Please ensure that you do not teach any of my projects or projects of any designer you do not have permission from and this includes designs that have been published in the magazines. Independent designers have come together to stop this type of thing and we have a lot more power than you may think, including people in your area who can drop by your store to ensure your compliance.
The fact that you were considering buying my designs and decided not to due to my standing up for my lawful rights says a LOT about your ethics or lack thereof. Your store has been added to our watchlist.
Mikki Ferrugiaro"
So...there you have it.

The call she mentions was made by a friend and the class disappeared from the website around the same time.  And more...sheesh!

"Mikki - thank you so much for your information. I don't even own a copy of your rope and I changed it the first time on the schedule because I didn't know how to spell it and didn't have a clue about the rope and even the name.
I just don't want to order patterns because of this innuendo that I'm not doing something I promised to do.
There are no patterns in the store with your name on and if you don't believe it let somebody come by and look.
Gu's Haus of Beads"
" changed it after you told me you would cancel the class and after I told you my name HAD to be attached to any mention of the design. Instead of changing it you should have done as you said you would and take it off the schedule that proved to me you had no intention of living up to your word.
As for my name not being on any patterns...well, people who steal patterns tend to take the designer's name off the patterns however, my designs and illustrations are very recognisable!
You will never know when or if someone is checking your store.

Mikki Ferrugiaro"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Good Thing About Taxes

"What?" You say, "is good about taxes?"

I'm a surprise, right?
And I, like millions of others, have taxes topping my list of things I procrastinate about.  They are never as bad as they seem and I always think "that wasn't so bad, next year I'll do them in January"...ha!

The good thing is that after I have done them it makes me sort out other things I've been procrastinating about and makes me make the decisions I've been putting off.

Today, I decided I wouldn't teach in June and let the store where I teach know.  I need a break, my brain feels fried and I don't feel free to focus on what I really want to.  In looking at what was going on with me I realised I was doing a bunch of things because I think people wanted me to....that people pleaser side of me was beginning to take control again.  And one of the really stupid things about that is half the time what you think people want is not what they actually want.
So pleasing yourself and doing what is in your heart is much more productive all way around. I really want to focus on designing and writing patterns as they are getting backed up in my brain.

I have been playing with photos....trying things out for the new patterns. Hopefully, a more professional, book-like presentation.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Brighter Days

After days of researching and not getting much done I think I'm back on the beading track.
After class yesterday I managed to find the exact color bead I needed for the clasp design I had in mind for 'Love in the Crosshairs'. So this morning I set about working it up. I had it almost complete when my thread broke (didn't listen to my gut and go with a heavier weight) then I realised I had added one extra thought, rather than un-pick I'd just crunch the bead into oblivion....and I managed to cut the thread there too!
So....feeling frustrated and having just heard the mailman I thought I'd take a break and see if my beads had arrived.

They had :)
And obviously my muse had been telling me something because amongst the fire-polish I ordered were some lavender ones....a much better match than the picasso ones I had been using.  So the morning's work became a test run and was quickly cut apart.  I'm thrilled with the result and it's yet another beaded snap to add to my collection.

Last night's work was the set for my all ready to be boxed up.

So...Purple Sun...check!

What's next?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Researched to Immobility

I have spent a LOT of time this week researching different ways to get my book out.  BOY! Is it interesting....and depressing.
I think the one thing I've really learned is that publishing is something that makes the publisher's money and the author.....not so much.   Financially it doesn't make a lot of sense, releasing patterns individually seems to be more profitable.

Royalties is such a funny makes you think of riches when in truth it's pennies. 

The e-book thing which I wanted to do because it really appealed to my 'save the trees' nature and which looked so promising at first look with 70% commission turned out to be disappointing because the limits for that 70% commission are strict and wouldn't include what I want to put out. So, then it drops to a mere 35%!  Plus they can put your book on sale anytime they want and just give you 35% of the sale much for having the freedom to set your own price!

At this point I've decided to finish the book and then decide how I want to proceed. The options that look good to me right now, and which I could ostensibly do all of them, are....
  • putting it on CD & packaging it in a DVD case with a nice little booklet showing all the design projects
  • going with a company that stores files and makes them downloadable automatically upon payment, then build my own website to sell an e-book from
  • have a printed version available from my online stores through a Print On Demand (POD) company.
Other things that are up in the air is whether I need to combine chapters. When I first set out to write a book I had six chapters that covered different techniques, then I decided to turn each chapter into a volume and fill it out with more versions/variants of the components/projects which would show much more of the design process.  That may still be the way I go, particularly if I go the CD route....I am looking at cases that snap together and cases that hold multiple CDs so the individual volumes become a collection.
At the moment I'm considering blending two chapters for each volume....but that will depend on just how big the first chapter ends up being.

The date for release on my big white board, May 2nd, seems like an impossibility at this point....I've felt like I've been treading water this week, working hard to just stay afloat...the catching up I did after being sick has dissipated and I am so far behind again. Trouble is, all the research has disillusioned me...not to mention when I've been working on the same designs and variations for so long they begin to look old and boring to me. I know they are not from all the great feedback I get, it's just my muse's need to move to the next things so quickly.

So...for those of you waiting for me to release the first volume of my book...have patience....if I was going through a real publisher you'd have to wait a year :)

On a positive note I am, apparently, the first to blog about the Artbeads Vintage project...YAY!  Do I win something?  Lol!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ha'penny Farthing & Discovering one's Heritage

So, this is the piece I created using the old coins I found in my Dad's things for the Artbeads Blogger Program.
I have some chain on order and I still need to make the bail but I'm really happy with how it turned out.  The thing I like about these challenges is that sometimes I need to use things I don't normally work with, in this case the brass components.  I was really drawn to the Antique Brass Altar link as it seemed to be already and waiting for a coin to slip in there, I just had to turn the loops 90 degrees.  It's fun because it moves...swings in the setting.
I knew I was going to need small beads for this one and I pretty much used size 15 seed beads exclusivley.

The pendant started some discussion and questioning....we couldn't remember if either of my grand mother's were born in the same year as the farthing was made 1904. After digging out old birth certificates we found it wasn't...maternal grandmother 1909, paternal grandmother 1902.
However...on looking at my paternal grandfather's birth certificate I discovered he had an unusual name for our family...Shem.  I'm still not sure where it came from but am now building a family tree on
Something very interesting to me about a great aunt I never knew, it seems that at age 17 she was a printer's compositor.  This was cool for me as when I was in art college studying Graphic Design I had to take a typesetting class and I amazed my instructor by setting type perfectly at my first attempt.  He told me he had been teaching for 20 years and this was a first for him. He and a couple of other college instructors/professors encouraged me to become a typographer as they thought I had a natural flair for it....and now I know where that came from.  The ability to read upside down and back to front came from my great Aunt Ada :)

So..this has already been one of the most interestimng challenges I've undertaken and I've learned quite a lot about my family and heritage in the process.

Artbeads send me beads and things from time to time so I can play with them and give an honest opinion of the products. I am not reimbursed for this opinion.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Challenge Projects

When I have time I LOVE challenge projects and I do try and sneak them in, especially when Artbeads ask me to :)
I also love vintage style so I was super pleased at the new Artbeads blogger program challenge.  We have to incorporate something old into a new design while trying out some fabulous products from Artbeads.
After my Dad died we found he had a stash of old English coins and I've been wanting to do something with them as a keepsake.
So....I'm not sure exactly which coins I will use but I can say I'll definitely be using the 1904 farthing...the little one. I'll need to clean these babies up but then there will be some bezelling going on :)

If you're looking for a challenge head on over to the Bead Maven's Facebook Page where Nancy is signing people up for her Bead Soup Mixer.

I'm working on a Top Secret project for the Mavens and may announce during our hiatus or when we get back....depends how long it takes to get the basics worked out :) But I can promise you it will be very interesting...and challenging for everyone who gets involved.

And if you've missed it....I just listed eight new patterns in my Artfire store and there's even a coupon to help your budget :)
Just type APRILFOOLFREEBIE into the coupon code slot and get $7.50 off your pattern order of $22.50 or more....that's like getting a FREE pattern!

And I ain't foolin'!