Wednesday, May 29, 2013

War and Peace on Planet Bead

99.9% of the time, Planet Bead is a wonderful place, filled with fabulous people and more beads than any of us can use in a lifetime. It's the perfect example of abundance; all I have to do is look at my beads and I know that this world has more than enough in it to satisfy me and everyone I know.

0.1% of the time, someone thinks their copyright has been violated, and Planet Bead is split wide open. I'm not talking about the obvious cases, where someone has posted a designer's own photo of her work on the Internet and is selling or trading the designer's work; that causes a ripple of frustration in the waters of Planet Bead, but is oddly unifying.

We come together over such thefts; we console each other and encourage each other to create more; we celebrate that we are the creative ones, and the thieves are not. We hope Karma will get them, sooner rather than later, and move on. That sort of theft is almost a rite of passage; it happens to nearly all of us, and we dry our tears and move on.

It's what happens when someone sees a photo of someone else's beading and thinks, "That looks a lot like my work," that has the power to open a rift on Planet Bead. Accusations can be made, feelings can get hurt, and, when this happens on a social media site, it can take on a life of its own very quickly. Perhaps you've seen the latest episode, perhaps you haven't. It's like pretty much every other one, so here's a generic rundown: two beaders fall in love with the same color palette, accent beads, and type of jewelry. They don't know each other, they're not even Facebook friends, and still they manage to create remarkably similar pieces of jewelry.

Up until this point, no damage has been done. If the concerned designer had investigated the other and discovered that this piece was a natural outgrowth of her previous work, perhaps she'd have realized that great minds do sometimes think alike, shrugged it off, and gone on. They might even become friends; they obviously share a fondness for the same beads. Synchronicity is common on Planet Bead; although there are a lot of different ways to put beads together, it's not an infinite universe. Several people often come up with the same idea and execute it independently of each other.

The damage comes when the designer leaps to the conclusion that the other stole her work, and makes public accusations without having any proof. The accuser's friends rally round, sad that their friend has been hurt, and repeat the accusations. They assume that their friend has proof; they are horrified that one designer would steal from another, and they naturally want to console the person they see as the victim and expose the one they see as a thief.

But what if the accusation has no merit? What if the accuser didn't investigate, didn't talk to the other designer, just assumed that she stole her idea and said so publicly, without any proof other than the synchronicity of an idea?

What if you woke up one morning and found the same false accusations on your Facebook wall?

Friday, May 3, 2013

A new technique in my arsenal

Embellished Double MRAW
I'm still working on my piece for the Battle of the Beadsmith; I've finished the bead embroidery part and begun the beadweaving bits. The embroidery took a lot longer than I'd anticipated, so I'm hoping that the beadweaving will go faster than expected. It's only fair, right?

One of the best things about doing a contest piece is having time to experiment and try new things; for this one, I'm playing with MRAW.  If you've already started doing it, you'll know why I'm so excited about it. It's a wonderful technique that combines RAW and Peyote stitch into a single thread path. Not only does it make keeping a good tension in RAW easier, but it's a real time-saver; and, with only four more weeks in which to finish my entry, I'm appreciating that a lot right now.  I found out about MRAW in this video:

Of course, being me, I couldn't just leave the original stitch alone and call it a day; this little picture is what I'm calling Embellished Double MRAW, and I'm using it as a structural element in my Battle entry. I'm doing my best to stay focused, but it's hard. MRAW has really made my creative juices run, and I can't wait to start beading up all the ideas that are swimming around in my head.

Have you played with MRAW yet?