Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Give Me The Simple Life

The simple life - oh in so many ways! And compared to most people, I suppose my life is fairly simple. I mostly stay home and make jewellery.
I don't crave an exciting social life (been there, done that), or heaven forbid, spend empty hours "shopping", which in my opinion tends to mean just killing time and wasting money.
No. My simple life really does mean spending time here at home, making jewellery, promoting my work to the best of my abilities, and holding things together domestically - baking bread, cooking, trying to manage the clutter in this house that has accumulated during a hundred year's worth of occupancy by the same family - but some days, I feel completely defeated by such apparently simple chores.
The husband, bless him, has commented several times over the last few months, that he thinks I should get back to simpler jewellery styles and maybe put the fancy-nancy microfaceted gemstones on the back burner for a while. Maybe he's right, but when you are drawn to a certain style of jewellery design, then it's the devil's own job dragging yourself away from it.
So for me, a compromise seems just the right thing. Enough of my elaborate styles to keep me happy, while keeping the simpler styles on the agenda.
(Marine Life now SOLD - thank you!)
These two necklaces, which feature glass by Isabelle Anderson and Moon Stumpp, are just gorgeous! Sorry, not going to play them down, they really are gorgeous! And perfect for summer.
But. And right now it's a huge but. Simple jewellery, however gorgeous and exclusive the components, leaves many of us totally exposed to the copycats and plagiarists who rip off and exploit our efforts to make simple, elegant, and desirable jewellery. Let's be honest, some styles are just so easy to copy.
Today I stumbled upon a website that did just that. The first image I saw, quite honestly, caused me to do a double take. The necklace was pretty much identical to several of mine, from last year and the year before using the exact same glass beads and components, and photographed from an identical angle.
When I looked rather more closely at their website, I saw several more pieces that mirrored mine almost exactly.
Now before anyone thinks I'm being precious and picky here, I am well used to "influence" when it comes to jewellery making, and it's something I'll happily tolerate, and indeed encourage - we are all sponges when it comes to creativity - but when a piece has been copied practically bead for bead, then I'm sorry, but that is just not right.
There is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I've been in this situation many times before, which is why I always try to keep things moving in terms of styles, but I still like returning to older designs from time to time because not only did they prove popular with customers, I also enjoyed making them. Simple, clean lines using beautiful glass and gleaming silver are enduringly popular. And easy to copy.
So short of deleting any online presence for my work - doing away with my website, my Etsy shop, the Flickr album, this blog, and leaving a couple of jewellery forums - I just have to put up with the situation, and hope that the copycats will realise that ultimately, they are on a hiding to nothing by trying to shortcut their way to a reasonably successful venture.
It doesn't make me feel any better though...
Nia xx


Nic :) said...

they are beautiful, truly beautiful. Without the clusters of gemstones it is still wonderful to see how you marry such striking components and beads together.

I wish i also had the simple life, would love to stay at home, do the chores and make jewellery. Sounds blissful!

Mary said...

I hate copycats. I don't speak from personal experience but I can understand how soul destroying it must be.

I think you should keep evolving your designs, if that's what your gut instinct is telling you.

Leave the others behind, I can tell whether a piece is made by you and so should most of your loyal customers.

The simple life.....ah, I remember it well!

Nia said...

Thanks Nic! It might be a simple life, but it's a little unpredictable in terms of income.
Not having the cushion of a job to subsidise me at quiet times of the year is pretty tough. I learned to budget the hard way!
Mary - you are right of course, I have to keep evolving things, I don't know how people can just make the same things over and over again, it would be just so boring, I don't think I'd last a week. But in some ways I resent having to leave some styles behind simply because other people have decided that they want to piggyback my way of doing things. One reason I developed my gemstone cluster styles is that the sheer cost of making those pieces in terms of very high grade stones and silver, is prohibitive to a copycat, let alone the added cost of hallmarking. I'm still annoyed, but onwards and upwards, can't let these people put me off!