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Artistic Infringement

Hi All!

The items in question were beads, buttons, charms, clasps, etc.
Findings basically. I am starting out with some semi-precious stone
beading jewelery as the wiring in what will be my future studio is
not yet completed. I hope to work with Ag, Au, and Plat eventually -
nothing like dreaming big, eih…but there were some fundamental
jewelery/hand skills in beading so I thought whilst I was waiting on
the electricians…might as well do something productive!! It is not
my intention to use another artists work in a demeaning way…nobody
needs that! I did however, want to make sure of the
legalities/customary traditions in this area. Judging from some of
the flamming e-mails I have received, it is apparent some folks were
talking about directly ripping off other artists work. That was NEVER
the intent or question and I apologize to those who thought it was.

Thanks again for everyone’s input. I really appreciate it…it’s
great to know so many folks are still passionate about what they
do…a rare gem in todays world:)


Do you have an example of the “copied” or “enhanced” item in
question? I would like to see what you are working on–out of
curiosity :wink: Christina Simple Charms

Christina Sizemore–artist

     The items in question were beads, buttons, charms, clasps,
etc. Findings basically. 

okay people it’s ‘think’ time again: glass workers make beads. they
make them to sell. they know that few, if any, customers buy their
glass creations planning to build shrines in their homes in which to
place those beads. ergo, it is reasonable to presume that they make
their beads, findings, etc. to sell to people who will use them in
their own bead creations for fun (personal adornment) or profit
(hopefully). every issue of lapidary journal has pictures of
finished work by one person giving credit to another person who
created some component. or even more than one other person who made
parts of the work - i recall at least one issue featuring a
"designer’s" finished work for which a stone cutter/carver, a caster
and a bead maker were given credit for all of the components. being
credited with any component of that particular ‘design’ was not a
career booster.

cognitive ability is good to think about -

life is short - go skinny dipping this summer.

Kennedi, I’ve encountered this issue many times. I’m a glass
beadmaker, although I would hardly categorize my work - especially
the large collectible pieces - as “findings”.

Jewelry designers were my bread and butter at one time. It was
always something I was concerned about: the designers would put their
names on the pieces, but what really made their work a "cut above"
was MY one of a kind beads. (That’s why they kept coming back to me!)
I wanted their customers to know who had made the beads, but I had no
way of really enforcing that if I wanted to keep my designer

The way I handled it was to promote the collectibility of my beads.
At the same time I talked to the designers about the issue, and told
them that their jewelry made with my beads was worth more to their
customers if I was given credit as the beadmaker. So most of them
were more than happy to give me credit on the hangtag or sales
receipt when they sold the piece. Everybody was happy.

If you’re using artist-made focal elements in your jewelry, and you
know the name of the person, I suggest you at least give the artist
credit. Even if the artist is not a well known name, it can only help
the sale of your own work because it says that your elements are
handmade and not commercial.

I’m a lawyer by the way, although this is NOT my area of expertise,
so don’t quote me! But I think it’s reasonable to assume that
buttons, beads, clasps and the like are made for the purpose of
putting into other work. And if the bead artist sells the piece
separately, unattached to any jewelry item (even if it’s a big
collectible bead), there’s an implied assumption that the buyer might
incorporate it into another creation. At the point of sale, it
belongs to the buyer to use for its intended purpose of putting it
into something else. However, if a reasonable person would assume
that the item in question was meant to “stand alone” as an artistic
creation, then it’s a different matter entirely.

Rene Roberts

I have been reading the articles on artistic infringement. I have
to say that all you bead makers out there cannot convice me that
assembling a assortment of beads in any way constitutes artistic
expression. All you are doing is taking beads out of a Rio Grande
catalogue and putting a bunch of findings together. I would like to
see someone sue me over copyright infrignement when it comes to bead
work. I think that if you are talking about something cast thats a
different story altogehter. Beadmakers are hobbiest, with the
exception of a few that can make a living at it, but for the most
part its just an assembly.

Scott Isaacs
Berry’s Jewelry Nashville,
Cad/Cam and laser design services to the trade

  I have to say that all you bead makers out there cannot convice
me that assembling a assortment of beads in any way  constitutes
artistic expression.  All you are doing is taking beads out of a
Rio Grande catalogue and putting a bunch of findings together.  

I had to read Scott Isaacs post 4 times (after falling off my chair)

  1. I thought he was joking at first
  2. I realized he wasn’t
  3. I was appalled at the mean spirit in such an open and giving
    forum and
  4. He obviously has his mind made up and is not (he states) open to

On the other hand it’s good to know about such attitudes, since I
keep a log of potential suppliers to the trade that I might use in
the future (I am proud of being a metalsmith but I also use anything
and everything including beads and found objects in building my
jewelry which I consider very artistic).

Aren’t you confusing “beadstringing” and “beadmaking”? What you
have just described is stringing and it is very different from
actually making beads. Beadmaking would be something like…
lampworking, fused glass, cloisonne, and metal clay, just to name a
few off the top of my head and none of it can be considered assembly.



That’s an overly broad statement that seems to cover stereotyping,
snobbishness and elitism in one brush. I’ve never been fond of broad
statements about a “group” of people becuase you can’t accurately
comment on many people with one or two canned adjectives. I don’t
know about “all you bead makers out there” but this one designs her
own pieces and people have responded to my designs (that means they
buy them) because they are unusual and appealing and well made.
Regardless of whether I am a hobbyist or make a living at it, I take
pride in what I do and consider it more than “putting a bunch of
findings together.” I would venture to say that all of us on this
list take pride in what we create and your statement seems to imply
that only a select few’s work even counts as art or “real” work. I
have seen many complex and intricate beaded designs that I know not
just anybody could replicate. I think your statement was very
exclusionary and outside of the general spirit of this list.

  • Dee Dee

Hi Scott,

I believe the “beadmakers” being referred to are those that are
actually making individual beads, they are rightly considered
artists. Each of their beads is a tiny sculpture. Check out
"lampwork," the art of manipulating glass with a torch, it’s a
respectable artform. As far as those who “just string beads,” there
are some amazing artists who are gifted with composition skills and
are able to finish off a piece with a very professional touch. I
would like to have the imagination many of these people have. As
with almost everything, we can’t lump them all together, life isn’t
that simple.


Hey Scott,

If you are talking about love beads “yeah” I agree, but some bead
work can be really intricate. I work with beads and “beads alone”, and
I have learnt over time to add my edge to things, by adding
sculpture, and the very finest materials, and believe it or not the
finished product is really a feast for the eye. I use Swarovski
Crystal “only”, good quality pearls, and Gemstones, and I don’t have
a problem selling them. They are one of a kind and very limited
addition collectables, they sell from 500 Euro upwards. Some can take
a week to make, some take two days, but I have to say they are worthy
of the “Art title”. I feel your judgement is a little unfair never
mind, sheltered, you need to educate yourself a little. I would never
for a moment criticise or demean your work, I’m sure its very
beautiful and finely crafted, and I applaud you for taking your
creative expression to such a high level of perfection, it takes real
dedication and love of your craft to do so, and succeed. Good for you!

“But please open your mind”, take a look at some of the below
designers for instance. Erikson Beamon,Scott Wilson, and Slim Barret,
all design for The Swarovski Runway, and they all use beads to
achieve some of the most innovative and mind blowing creations.

Yours very Sincerely
Tina Ashmore

1. I thought he was joking at first
2. I realized he wasn't
3. I was appalled at the mean spirit in such an open and giving
forum and
4. He obviously has his mind made up and is not (he states) open to

Well put Roseann! I have long since quit attempting to get closed
minded people to open up their minds. There are incredible beaded
items out there, using a whole range of purchased beads to do
everything from fairly simple, and yet quite elegant and well
DESIGNED necklaces, to intricate three dimensional works of various
sorts. Good art is composed of elements of design put together in a
way that is visually successful. The elements may be painted forms,
as in a painting; forms of silver or gold; or beads; or anything else
the artist has chosen to use. One of the most liberating classes I
ever took was a printmaking class at Penland School of Crafts in NC,
where the instructor had us make a print, then demanded that we
punch holes in it, attach things to it, cut it, etc. All the years
of rigid “follow the rules” printmaking I had taken went flying out
the window, along with all the constraints that had come with them.
The incredible freedom to follow my artistic muse that followed was
wonderful! This has carried over into every medium I have or do use,
including jewelry. I create a design; the components may vary. Just
as I don’t make my printmaking paper or ink, I don’t make all the
components in my jewelry every time. That does NOT lesson their
artistic merit. Nor does making all the components yourself add to
the merit. A good design is a good design without regard to who
made the component parts. It is how the parts were arranged/put
together that is what makes the design good.

Beth in SC

I can’t let this go by (really, I tried!). If you look for a
contemporary textbook definition of art, I’m afraid you will find
that “assemblage” is considered a legitimate art form.

And then we get into the issue of “design.” If someone designs an
astonishingly original piece of fine jewelry and has it made in her
atelier (the French words just keep flowing, probably because of
Marcel Duchamp), is she not an artist?

Are we really going to spend weeks hashing over all this stuff
again? I wish I could apologize for you, to everyone on this list
that doesn’t make your cut.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Benicia, CA