Ah, yes, the world of confetti lucite.
It seems that when it comes to the type of jewelry that I create, a small subculture of designers has emerged and within it is a lot of tension. I see a lot of support offered between people-- but support that later morphs into jealousy and hatred. With that comes drama. I honestly feel that in most instances, it starts off as jealousy masked as support. Kind of like that old saying, "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer". There has been a lot of mudslinging as of late and it definitely seems that if someone stands up for their work or feels that their rights are being infringed upon, that they are immediately pegged as a horrible, jealous person that isn't supportive of the others that are doing the same thing.
Here's what's been going on with me…
A former customer of mine has been duplicating two of my designs exactly and offering them for sale online and at assorted events-- one of which they purchased from me a couple of years ago. The other is one that was exclusively designed by me last year for a very popular clothing brand.
I have spoken out about it and have had people that aren't even involved in the situation (but that are designers of similar jewelry) involve themselves to try and cyberbully me, and have defamed not only myself but my company. What they are doing can be deemed as illegal, but to me, that's beside the point that I'm trying to make. I am bringing it up because there are several things I am seeing repeatedly posted around the internet from these people and their followers that try to make those of us that stand up for ourselves feel like we are in the wrong. I'm writing this blog so that people can understand where I and others are coming from and to inform others that they do have rights when it comes to the baubles they create.
The reason I started doing this particular style of jewelry is because the vintage pieces (which I have been collecting for a very long time) lacked. Most are quite crude. Dull from years of improper storage. Oxidation stemming from the metallic components suspended in the plastic occurs, which leads to the plastic breaking down-- fogginess and weird smells come with the territory. Sometimes you'll even get confetti pieces sticking out of the plastic! My biggest issue with the vintage stuff has always been the lack of colors. Occasionally you'll come across a stellar clamper bracelet with vivid squares of confetti packed in there, but they are few and far between (and they're usually a lot of money). Don't get me started on the ones that contain seashells or sea life. Those are the most crude and unappealing of all, yuck!
Once you've been collecting this stuff for a number of years, you start seeing repeats of the same pieces and everything starts to look the same.
I wanted different colors. Vivid colors! Different shapes. Something unique. That's why I started doing this. It was for my own selfish reasons in the beginning, though it didn't take long for me to turn it into a full-fledged legitimate business.
"Unless you are making the molds and glitters and materials yourself, you don't own it."
I am only speaking for myself here, but I use very few commercial molds. I was lucky enough to learn how to do my own sculpting, molding and casting and such as a young art student. My "Bottoms Up!" brooch is the greatest example of this. It took me almost a month to perfect the mold for this.