Archive | March 2010

Guess the Gemstone!

This contest will run from Friday, March 19th until 12:30pm EST on Friday, March 26th.

Please send one guess to christina@sihayadesigns.com with “Guess The Gemstone” in the title, and all correct guesses will be entered to win a pair of earrings featuring the stone. Please let me know if you have any metal allergies.

The stone:

This stone was a popular one among the Romans, and enjoyed a second heyday of popularity among the artisans of the Art Deco period. Connected to boosting positive energy and banishing depression, this stone may very well help you kick the Winter blues as we launch into Spring! It is a stone of willpower, linked to clarity of thought, as well as abundance. Try a piece of it stored in your wallet or cash register to bring good fortune! And, as a bonus, this stone will never need spiritual cleansing. While it is wonderful for dissipating stagnant energy, it stores no negativity!

Happy guessing!

When imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery.

A very recent observation and discussion with a fellow artist brought up some thoughts I’d like to work through.

From time to time, we might find ourselves having created something strikingly similar to another artist’s work without having meant to have done so. Or you may be browsing another artist’s shop and have a “Hey! That looks a whole lot like my….” moment. For the most part, it’s coincidence. After all, a lot of popular imagery– birds, wings, hearts– are popular specifically because they’re universal. Themes (*CoughSteampunkCough*) become popular and inspire the masses. So, overlap happens. Believe me, it happens, and people talk about it, and then eventually things sort themselves out.

In the jewelry community, a lot of times overlap occurs because we are working from the same supplies, which can create some similarities. This makes innovation with common supplies even more laudable. For instance, have you seen what the supremely talented Kythryne of Wyrding Studios has been doing with electroplated leaves lately? Now, I work with electroplated leaves a lot, too, and when I saw these pieces, the first thing I thought was how wonderfully she had managed to make the element, to my knowledge, her own. Kyth has unique style that sets her apart from even other artists who wire wrap in a similar way. She clearly took pains to distinguish her take on electroplated leaves from the many other interpretations currently available on the market, and she did so in a way that made sense within the context of her brand.

As for me, I strive to make my finished products pieces that speak to me, uniquely, and also make sense within the context of my brand. Doing so takes a lot of effort, honestly, but it’s worth it because my brand is, in essence, my livelihood and name. It’s my ability to stock my fridge as well as my reputation in the community.

On the occasions where I purchase and use project books and tutorials by other artists to expand the scope of my work, I not only give credit where credit is due, but I also try to put my own mark on the finished product. For instance, in the Inara necklace was adapted from a pattern by Louise Jeremich, which was published in a jewelry inspirations book that I own. When I made my version, I changed the silhouette to a deep V instead of a wavier one. I changed the necklace from a two strand to one to fit the new silhouette. I changed the arrangement of some of the spirals. I added my own embellishments. And in the end, I still gave credit for the use of the tutorial which inspired me, despite the fact that the two finished products look, to my eye, different. I am satisfied that the piece not only reflects the techniques and design of its originator, but also my own artistic voice and modifications.

(This is not to say that copying directly from a tutorial is bad and that I’m above it or anything– if that artist is giving you the permission to use their finished design with proper credit, that is totally okay and honest.)

That said, in such a tightly-knit and supportive artistic community, I continually find myself evaluating my work in the context of the bigger picture. I am constantly striving to find ways to expand the scope of my work without being derivative of others’ work. I would never attempt to imitate another artist’s finished product without their consent. For all that I love Kyth’s work, if I took my admiration of her style and then tried to wire wrap those leaves in the exact same way, I am not only invalidating the work that she has put in to make her pieces reflect her artistic voice, but I may also be taking money out of her pocket as the result of my derivation. This directly impacts her livelihood. Obviously, this is a problem, however innocent and well-intended it may be.

With this in mind, I think we could all stand to think a little more about our own voices and evaluate how strongly our work is influenced by the work of others, and how it may affect those from whom we draw our “inspiration.” There are certainly times wherein imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery.Italic
Ultimately, I have adopted the words of the lovely Judy Garland as my mantra:

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.”

It may have become a cliche, but it is still so, so true.

The TimeKeeper’s Daughter at Fantasy Bath!

Squeeeeeee! I can now tell you about one of the collaborations that’s been in the works. My very favorite bath bomb maker in the world, the lovely Denise of Fantasy Bath, has created a Time Keeper’s Daughter Bath Bomb!

Climbing the steps of the tower, something she had done every morning since her mother had passed away years before, she gazed across the city she called her home. She could see the largest clock tower in the distance, through a silvery cloud of lifting haze. Her fingers found her throat and rubbed the stones of the necklace that was her legacy.

She paused for a moment, studying the majestic tower, which gleamed a dull bronze in the pale light of the breaking dawn. It pealed a cascade of sweet, clear tones, like running water or tinkling chimes. Any moment, the city would come alive.

But this was her favorite time. Those few moments alone when all was quiet. She watched the merchants open their shops and stalls, each with the hope of good day of trade. Rich resins from the orient and the spicy wild roses that only grew in the black soil of the nearby mountain foothills.

As she gazed upon the sleeping world, just yawning awake, and she thought of what the future would hold. She knew she would be taught things never spoken of in the schools of her town. She would learn the secrets of the clocks, the magic between the ticks and the tocks and deep brass tolls. She would learn to bend and shape time to her liking, to visit places she had only glimpsed in the reverie of her dreams. And her father would teach her– the first girl to be passed this hidden knowledge.

The amber stones of her necklace warmed beneath her fingers. She brought them to her lips and kissed them. She took one last look at the city and turned to ascend the winding stairs.