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"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." by William E. Henley

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

the return of the Nova and other rants

I was thinking about it the other day. Why my two styles are so different from each other. And I started realizing that I had been missing my pinwheels and bean sprouts. I'm very eclectic. I am modern and drawn to clean graphic lines. But I am also old fashioned, soft and romantic. It's just who I am. Like yin and yang. Black or white. Two opposites that together completes me.
So after some CPR I got my first shop novadesigns breathing again! And it feels good. I am complete again.

On a separate note. Someone who I have been fortunate to get to know better via Etsy makes the most beautiful jewelry you'll ever find. She's talented, unique and kind. I am sure you have heard of her. Her name is Jess and her business is called RosyRevolver. It hurts me when I see other sellers on Etsy try to take what is hers and somehow make it their own. It doesn't work that way. It will never be yours unless it came from within your own mind and heart. I have never understood how someone can call themselves an artist when their approach to design is trying to duplicate what someone else have already made. Where is the pride and joy in that? I am writing this cause I stumbled upon some pieces that are almost identical to her. They left me speechless. Not in a good way. I am all for not assuming that someone is guilty and that there isn't much new under the sun. I am all for not judging others but WOW did those pieces leave me with a bad taste in my mouth.

So next time you see something beautiful and think to yourself: Oh I could do that.
Please don't. You're only hurting yourself. Just admire it from a distance and try to create your own magic.

Thank you for reading.

Phoenix wings


  1. Thanks Tess. This post meant more than you know. I am loving your work and am very glad to be your friend.


  2. Tess I saw Rosy's post on facebook ~ so many people out there jump onto the jewellery making train expecting to be able to just take designs and ideas that are someone else's. I have had it done to me but someone wise said to me that designs that are copied have no heart and soul ~ people are going to be far more drawn to a piece that has a lot of the artist in it..

    We all create pieces we maybe unconciously saw elsewhere but if created from within should still carry the artists true essence ~ does that make sense??

  3. Tess, thanks for writing...

    It is important to us all; to be able to feel safe to create, and to showcase, and sell our creations online, without the fear of imminent rip off's.

    I hope by seeing my work someone can being inspired to new places, and have new ideas. But nor be inspired to go copy it, or even the elements.

    Seeing such rampant seeming cases of copying going on this past year has left many of us artists who do create original work sad, disgusted, and feeling vulnerable. and a little angry.

    The best defense we have , is to kindly guide people who are younger in the system than us, that is it ok to look, and draw inspiration, but very much not ok to to copy. f

    find your own voice, and vision.

    if we don't all speak out, and take a stand on protecting ourselves, we haven't got a chance.

    so thank you for writing. i will be doing the same.

  4. Jess I am so lucky to have gotten to know you :o)

    Andes thank you for your comment. I agree with everything you said. Finding your own vision and voice is the only way you will find true joy in what you are creating. Copying will leave you empty inside and nothing good will come from it.

  5. OK. I'm confused. Is this not the same shop you were accused of copying? I have not seen the other shop in question to know what they did but you all must have had some heck of a reconciliation for you to now jump on someone the way you were jumped on.

    I am all for standing up for people being copied but this post leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Why did you not look back to the time when everyone was saying you were copying and you knew you were not and extend this person a little grace?

    I really dislike people copying but this post I cannot abide by and I say this as your friend.

  6. I'm afraid I'm about to become an Etsy pariah - but...

    I just don't know what to make of this post...stranger things have happened, but I still Rosy Revolver when I look at your novaofsweden work - from the first piece listed to the most recent. Now to read a chastising post about copying is...well, it's ironic to say the least.

    The quality of your work is so good, so very good, unfortunately all I can see is someone else's work.

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  8. Nina I am sorry but I didn't realize that I had to share all my friendships and private conversations with the world to see in order for me to have an opinion or to take a stand. I have seen this issue become more and more apparent on Etsy and I was trying to support someone I consider to be a friend and at the same time maybe reach out and help guide some aspiring metalsmiths. I think you would have understood if you had seen what I did. I'm sorry if my post offended you.

    Karen I find your post incredible insulting and hurtful but you're obviously entitled to your opinion. Jess and I have similar styles but to say that you see her work in all my pieces is beyond me.

    I think I'm gonna take a break from this heated topic. Once again I've lead with my heart instead of my head.

  9. I have now seen a piece from the maker in question and while to me it clearly looks like she was not following her creative voice (and following that of several others) I have no proof of that and if I had been treated the way you were I would have tread more lightly on the subject.

    So you know what, I'm calling B.S. There are ways to support a friend (privately and publicly) and then gently chide aspiring metalsmiths (privately or publicly). This post does neither of these well to me considering your unique position. This post to me reeks of a backhanded way to tell people they are not artists.

    I guess I personally feel foolish having offered support to you when it was raining down hard on your heart and then see you have no qualms about doing this same thing to someone else.

    I am just galled that you would publicly bash someone after being bashed.

  10. Perhaps I am reading too much into your post. I'm not sure that I am but we will just have to agree to disagree.

    I will agree that it is important for everyone to follow their own creative voice as that is what will sustain them.

  11. I'm not gonna lie, the first time I saw your work, I couldn't help but see the similarities to Rosy's work and was quite suspicious, especially after having looked at your other shop and having seen how VERY different the 2 styles were and then also factoring in the timing of it all. Though you are indeed entitled to your own opinion as well as the right to free speech in this great country, I must say that reading this post did pretty well flabbergast me.

  12. You're of course entitled to your opinion as well and I appreciate your comment which allows me to respond.
    I guess if you looks hard enough you will see what you want to see. And you can't know everything about me or my work by looking at my Etsy shops. Like that is a summary of my life somehow.

    I wouldn't have posted this unless I felt that Jess and I were in a good place. I have had some great conversations with her and I'm very grateful for that. We use the same aesthetics but that's all. She doesn't feel my new work is overlapping hers but feels it's complimentary.

    So frankly, I am tired of letting other people's suspicions and hurtful words bring me down. I am gonna do what I do best and that is to create.

  13. Well... I struck my neck out into this topic before

    And had my tush handed to me in the Etsy forums afterwards. I can completely relate to your "I guess if you looks hard enough you will see what you want to see"! However, I thought that the comments following my initial blog post were quite insightful. One of the most important lines from these was this one:

    "Your earrings shares elements and the inspiration with hers, no doubt. But the overall feel is very different."

    This is what it's all about. I don't think there is anything wrong in seeing something, finding the general idea good, but thinking "If I made these, I would have..." and then create it. Then preferably honor your original source of inspiration of cause, no reason to claim it's entirely yours when you know where the inspiration came from. Nothing wrong in that. As long as you aren't trying to create a similar look and feel, basically copying it but only take the general idea and create your very own version, I wouldn't consider that a theft or copying.

    That being said, I think there are quite a few Etsyans out there, including you, who create beautiful jewelry based on a large cab, bezel set on a sheet of silver, surrounded by bits and pieces and eventually oxidized. Who started this general trend I do not know and hence can't (and won't) judge on who is copying whom. But all these pieces share so many similarities, that at times you can't guess who did what. There is nothing wrong with the style at all, the important and challenging part is to work with it in a way that delivers YOUR special and unmistakable touch to it.

    Tess, your pieces are lovely, and I think you are one of the best representatives of said style, with a very distinctive twist, making it yours. I know you are proud about your work and you definitely should be!

    On Etsy, everyone can be claimed to be copying -knowing or unknowing, that's the name of the game. So: Piece friend -you do great, but don't throw too many stones in your own glass house ;-)

  14. I am thrilled to hear that you have come to a place where you are "tired of letting other people's suspicions and hurtful words bring you down". I can only assume since that comment followed directly after mine that it was perhaps directed, at least in part, towards me. If so, that's ok. I do want to tell you that I would never want to say anything to intentionally hurt anyone, yourself included. That being said, I have also always been someone who speaks her mind and follows her gut and perhaps this would have been one of those situations where "If you don't have anything productive to say, then please shut your yapper Em!". :) Though, I also feel that when you post something out there on the internets for all to see/hear/read, you are then opening yourself up for a potential firestorm of comments and opinions. Please don't misunderstand. I don't mean for this to sound like "you must from now on edit with precision every single word you think of typing and if you suspect it could stir up controversy then HIT DELETE".

    If I may, I would like to share with you a decision I have made for myself as well as a little background. I am by no means telling you THIS IS WHAT YOU MUST DO, but more so just offering it as something that has worked for me... (perhaps you are already doing this in which case, just disregard the last portion of the following section)

    I have been a part of the etsy metal smith community for several years now and I have to say, I have struggled much of that time with comparing my work to that of other artists. I saw so many lovely things and, though always proud of the things I would make, I often felt like there were so many that were better than me and that it would always be that way. I had also noticed (as I previously mentioned) that copying was becoming more and more prevalent - happening both to me and to some very dear friends of mine. When I started to notice this, I felt first hand the hurt that comes along with it (and have had my radar up ever since) and I knew that hurt was the LAST thing I would ever want to make someone else feel. So, I became hyper-sensitive to it. Even going so far as to refrain from listing things I had made - though fully knowing they were my very own brain children - just because they resembled something I noticed someone else had posted. This led to a full on season of complete doubt of my abilities and capabilities to come up with unique and wonderful ideas. I slowly began to realize that the more I was consuming myself with checking out the work of others, be it via etsy shops of otherwise, the worse I was feeling. Ultimately I came to the decision that I was going to completely cut myself off. I don't look thru the shops of other etsy metal smiths and I even stopped reading the blogs of other smithers. I cannot explain the freedom that has come over me since I came to this decision. I make whatever I want, however I want, and for the first time, I truly feel free to explore whatever design whim may float thru my brain with no fear of the thoughts or opinions of others. Not feeling the need to compare myself to anyone else has given me more confidence in my skill and craft than I could have even hoped for. I would never say that there is no way in the world that no 2 metal smiths could ever create something similar looking because really, if I was able to come up with something, who's to say that someone else couldn't also think of it. However, I have finally come to a place where I do what I do for me and I truly have no concern for what others think.

    I truly wish you all the very best Tess and I do commend your courage for bring this topic out in the open.


  15. Thank you for posting again Emily. And I am like you where I speak my mind and follow my gut and I really don't want to change that. But of course like you said, if you post something out there for the world to see you should be prepared to hear what people say :o)

    I think you're hitting on a point that I have thought a lot about. I have also pieces that I kept from listing because I saw something similar already done. It does make you doubt what you are creating and overall leaves you in a bad place. I think one of the reasons I am trying to branch out more and more and try more and more things is cause I feel that my work is being so scrutinized and compared because of what happened a while back that I need to somehow prove that I do have a mind of my own. Which of course is not a good place to be either. It becomes a rat race of who did what first and there isn't much joy or creativity in that either.

    I do take what you say to heart about not looking at other people's work as it can sometimes do more harm than good. Although it can be inspiring for some it might harm your own creativity.

    So thank you again for posting, I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me.


I treasure your words and the fact that you are
taking the time to share them with me.
Please forgive me if I don't respond personally to you.
I always try but sometimes time just flies away!
love ~tess