February 6, 2013

Wherein the speaking of my mind is likely to offend at least some of you.

Soap Box.  Consider yourselves warned.

I opened and ran a bead forum for 5 years on MSN called the Art of Beads.  It started with a handful of people and grew to over 1200 members, 600 of which were in some way active on a daily basis.

That's community success, y'all.

It was successful for 2 reasons.  The first was an atmosphere cultivated for and based on encouragement from creative people from all over the world coming together to grow.  The second and most invaluable was the collective willingness to share.  As we grew individually as artisans the village was invited to come along.

And then...

Buying pewter spacer beads at Hobby Lobby and reselling them on Etsy for three times the price?  No.

Buying cheap poorly made lampwork/clay/enameled beads from China and reselling them at any price?  No.

Seeing an earring pair made of metal designed by someone else, stating publicly that you want to recreate it with seed beads then charging a tutorial fee as an original design?  No.

Doing the above while complaining that people copy your work?  Really?

Writing a tutorial on the Most Basic of stitches and charging someone newer than you to learn it when you could direct them to a website with free instructions?  No.

Buying a difficult stitch tutorial from someone more advanced, changing 1 thing and reselling it?  No.

Sacrificing YOUR CREATIVE SPIRIT purely as a means to make money other than through your creations?  No.

NO to the Nth degree.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

Now that I've exhausted that word, and quite possibly offended half of you, I have something to say to the rest of you.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING is new.  None of us are the first, we haven't cornered any market or any skill or any talent that has not in some shape or form been cornered before.  It has all been done, y'all.

I discover things in my torching, my bead work, and my life every single day:  things that are new to me, things that make all of the above better, more genuine, more real.  I've never viewed any of these discoveries as a way to take advantage of people, because at the end of the day that is exactly what the selling of knowledge is in a community.

Aren't we a community?  A group focused on the same goal of discovering our abilities...our talents?  What happened to the sharing of awareness for the sake of just helping each other?  At what point did someone feel qualified to measure the value of that?

I get that the economy sucks.  I get that times are tough.  I get it.  It has still not stopped me from freely sharing what I've learned when asked.

Not once, in any moment of the last 2 years of dying a slow financial death which resulted in the loss of a home and temporarily, my self worth, did it ever occur to me to take advantage of anyone's ignorance while they struggle to excel.

Charging people...your peers...to help them? A big fat resounding NO.

We live in a commercialized society that dictates we need the newest best top of the line This or That.

But what we really need is each other.

If you want more...give more.

I never realized pride would be such a factor in my life, but I am so proud of that group.  I'm proud to still know the amazing creative souls who came together to grow, to learn, and to share.

You can't put a price tag on that.

I wish people would stop trying.


  1. Girl, I couldn't have said it better myself! It doesn't matter what your medium is, you'll get more by sharing more, teaching more and learn more from those around you.

  2. Amen! Keep being the bright shining soul that you are, sister. Amen, I say to you!
    Enjoy the day.

  3. You go girl!!!!! You hit it on the head! I love, love, love looking at other peoples work... would I copy it??? No way. Get creative ideas and make my own?? Yep! Great post!

  4. This is so right on! What I've loved about the beading community (I haven't been here that long) is the sharing. But I see people who love to have things shared with them, but don't seem to see that as a two-way street. That saddens me (and sometimes makes me feel like a chump). But, thank heavens, I think most of the people I've met (LIKE YOU!!!) know that you get more by giving and I'd rather be known as a giver than a taker any day (even if I do feel like a chump). I have made good friends in this community and I love being a part of it. Thanks for saying this!

  5. Doll, not sure what evoked the tsunami, but love that you are rockin' the boats. My add? I believe that copying someone else's work, except as a bit of this or that as an instructional or practice learning tool will send your Muse out for one of those long lunches that lasts for days, if not weeks or months, most likely stumbling back dazed and semi-comatized from too many vodka martinis....just sayin'

  6. Amen sister! The sad thing is that those you might be offending do not even know you are talking to them!

  7. You rock!!!! I couldn't have said it better myself...recently coming across a tutorial for making balled sterling silver earwires for 5$ for the PDF... I was thinking are u kidding me!!!! ...I'll show y'all for free how to make amazing balled sterling earwires....just a small example of what's out there...you are an amazing person to the core and I adore your integrity & honestly & lucky to have u as a friend ....xox

  8. Thanks for saying it girl. Makes me wanna come over and hang out...even more than before! I recently won some old B&B and Beadwork mags from 2001-2004. While I was so amazed at how far the beading community has come from then, I had to smile to see some very familiar pieces..that are being put out there now as 'new styles'.

  9. I know what you mean. There is such a fine line to walk here between giving away techniques that you've developed and making a living off of your designs. I try to find the balance between sharing and asking compensation for my designs but sometimes that balance is not so easy to find. Thank you for this, it's a lot to think about.

  10. And THIS is why I stop by your blog! Thank you for being the Juls you are! ~~T