To sell or not to Sell

Russian Leaf Flower headbands

It has been a tough decision to make given the amount to time that I spend beading and the cost of materials but after giving markets ago and having set up a small online shop and giving it a I have decided to focus on creating art. This a personal choice for every maker and creator and depends a lot on their own personal situation and inclinations.

For me I didn’t get much enjoyment from trying to sell my work and my home town is only starting to get interested in higher quantity handmade items. Between that and working full time as a casual with a changing roster and working out of town it just didn’t really work out. Having taken the time to do the math I would have to make and sell a large bauble for every single day in the year just make $10950 in a year and that is before taking beading expenses into account, as well as stall fees, travel & postage ect. Not exactly a brilliant business proposition.

But that is ok as I didn’t really have my heart in selling my beadwork, at least not as a dedicated small gift shop. It just took a lot of time away from the artistic beadwork that I really wanted to do. That’s not to say that I won’t be making baubles and things to sell, but mostly it will just be art items and possibly more exclusive items to sell, if I ever get around to working on my idea and writing patters.

In this day and age is with such a saturated market it is really hard for anyone in the creative arts to make a living selling goods unless they really stand out or can upscale to mass production of gift items, like mugs, shirts, postcards and the like. At the same time making your was as a artist you face an over saturated market that has a heavy focus on easy to mass produce modern art, that takes little to no skill to make. But with persistence, quality and a lot of luck I believe anyone can make it work.

Lou, currently unsupervised by any cats.

The Unorganised Struggle

Sometimes things just don’t work out, like my intended post. Don’t worry its still in the works but after technical problems with getting photos from phone onto my computer because my icloud storage was full and the following drama of deleting photos and using air drop and all my other bright ideas to get the photos on to my computer with out uploading to the internet, then downloading to my computer only to edit and upload again I have decided to leave the problem for tomorrow.

It seems despited having over six thousand photos on my devices the hardest part of creating this blog so far has been getting photos to use for the posts that I am happy with. Sometimes its not the expected things that you have trouble with, although I did know that I would need to take better photos as some stage, and have been working on setting up a small area on my desk to do just that despite of the lack of space. The other thing about having so many photos is that it can be a massive pain to sort through them to find one you want from somewhere in the middle of it all even when you can scroll through super fast to work through all the photos.

On the plus side of writing for a blog I am now spending more time listening to music, because I can’t listen to an audiobook and write at the same time; which is my go to when beading, until about dinner time when I switch to watching tv/movies on my laptop. You might find it hard to believe that there is time in my life for a second obsession but having found audiobooks, it has made room for my obsession with reading. Before I would spend a few months beading, then a few reading and switch between the two depending on what I was more in the mood for. in the four years that I have had audible I have spent 5 months, 8 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes listening to audio books. its great.

Lou, off for dinner.

Schedule, expeditions & Covid-19

View from Eungella, QLD Australia

Ok so for anyone interested in what to expect from my blog, I plan to publish one to two post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and although I will try to write the majority of the post on the day they are published I will make use of scheduling as I also have an inconstant work schedule and a tendency to go on adventures. The above photo is from a day trip to the mountain range behind my home town.

For the moment the majority of my posts will be mostly of the art journal variety, with posts on what I am up to, interested in and what I am inspired by. But depending on feed back from viewers, I will hopefully add to this with posts featuring other designers, interviews and what not; if people are interested. There is a high chance that some of my posts will not be bead related but will give you a view into other aspects of my life, because despited how much time I spend beading I do manage to fit other things in.

This Friday I will be on my way to the amazing Undara Lava tubes with my mother and family friends. It is a place that I have visited before and cannot wait to visit again. The lava tubes are fantastic natural pheromone that are stunning to behold. Set in the Gulf Savannah country it is breathtaking when you come upon the ancient lava tubes that hold small rain forests in the tubes. Access to the lava tubes is by guided tour only and they have recently reopened with restricted bookings in compliance with government requirements.

Now for most people around the world it might seem unbelievable that anyone would be travelling given the current pandemic and social isolating constraints. And it dose seem weird that I shall be travelling during a world wide pandemic but Queensland has been very fortunate in this crisis so far, having very few cases to date having a current total of 1105 cases, 1082 of which have recovered. Unfortunately we have had 6 deaths and there are currently 17 active cases according to the Queensland Government department of Health, a link to the website stating the statistics (which are updated daily) is listed below.

Where Queensland has not been fortunate is that our economy relies heavily on coal exported to China who decided to boycott Australian coal and on the tourism industry which has of course taken a hit everywhere around the world. Given border closures and the hardships of our fellow Queenslanders in the tourism industry it seems that the best thing todo is support business as best we can, while practicing responsible social distancing and good hygiene. So thats what we having been doing, going to small markets, avoiding large groups, visiting cafes and restaurants who are following government requirements and also staying home as much as possible.

Eventually we are all going to have to find that balance between supporting business and the economy and what will likely be a new way of life with social distance measures to help slow down future pandemics.

C-ya soon Lou & Milliekins

Links: – latest updates – coronavirus (COVID-19)


The final count.

Well international beading week might be over but this year you have until the 1st of October to get submissions in the post, so there is still time to get cracking.

Ok what it is all about for those who like me didn’t know. International beading week as mentioned is held every year from the 25th of July to the 2nd of august and is sponsored by The Beadworkers Guild at the international beading week website; you can find a link below to the website. IBW as it is known holds Events, competitions and has freebies to stoke fellowship between beadweavers all over the world.

This year their Event for international beading week is called the Black & White Together Project Lead by Prof. Sam Norgard of America. It is a project that hopes to connect makers of various ethnicities with a large community project. You can find pre-recored video sessions with demos of how to make the eight free patterns and art lectures. There is also a graph of the eight patterns and links to PDFs of each pattern.

Now you can also make your own patterns to add to the project as long they incorporate black and white and are the same size as the other patterns. I took advantage of this and sent off 30 warped squares, and only really stopped making squares for the project because I was keen to start again on my Fibonacci project. You should know if you haven’t found out already that making warped squares and then stars is addicting.

You can also join the BLACK AND WHITE TOGETHER PROJECT facebook group to see updates and get inspired by other participants work, so far over 335 warped squares have been submitted and arrived, and hopefully mine will soon be among them despite the us postal issues at the moment. There have been some wonderful photos by people and their stunning patterns, it really is amazing just what you can do with 12 rows of beadwork.

Personal I love the project and think we need more awarenesses about the international community projects that pop up from time to time, I’ve been aware of a few others but this is the first one that I have really had a chance to participate in. It is really cool to be able to be a part of an international project and I hope there will be more to come from IBW in the future.

All the best Lou, currently no cats present.

ACRAW – augmented CRAW

My first success at ACRAW

So I have been working a project that I have been wanting to do for ages now and am super excited about it after having made it work after five attempts. Yes that is right five, sometimes it takes several failures to get to where you are going.

The Fibonacci sequence

Beading is all about angles, space and counting. Which can some times make a project tricky to pull off or down right impossible with out a new technique, so it is a good thing I am tenacious because pulling off a fibonacci sequence project has been tough. Of course I could have started part way through the sequence and made it work with just the usual CRAW stitch but it kind of f***ed with my beading ocd.

The main problem was that starting with the very first cube, was that to do it with just CRAW was that at least one side of each cube would be sharing a side with the next and it would look wrong. And then I thought I could add in a joining row but soon realised before attempting it that such an addition would throw out the whole project because it would be mathematically inaccurate. So it was going to require an argument CRAW stitch.

My first two attempts at an augmented CRAW stitch failed, being way to clunky and confusing to follow. I also figured out that I would need to use OO thread in the third attempt or it would very quickly become too stiff to work. And then having figured out the right combination I got so carried away I forgot the squares were meant to spiral around. So far my fifth attempt has stayed in the realms of 2d but I am confident that the 3d version will work out smoothly.

Now how I managed the Augmented CRAW stitch technique. First I did one CRAW stitch and then added a bead into each of the corners, I did this in silver to make it easy to distinguish the CRAW stitch from the silver fill in beads. Then I dew my thread through one of the CRAW stitch beads and added a bead and went back through the CRAW bead. Then I went around the face until all four beads had a double on top, and then pulled them together with a loop and turned into the next CRAW stitch.

I won’t lie it is a very slow process, that eats up a tone of thread. In less that 3″ squared I have used nine meters of thread.

Theft, Copyright and Inspiration

The Invisible Line

A large issue in our community of beadweavers is theft, copyright & inspiration and where exactly the line is drawn. It is a complicated issued that quickly gets tempers flaring and has been exabated by todays climate of entitlement and our easy access images on the internet. And then there are different copyright laws all over the world, adding more confusion to the matter. So what exactly is acceptable? I won’t pretend to be an authority on the matter but here are some basics, to keep you out of hot water.

Plagiarism: is using someone else’s work without giving them credit – So if you are posting photos of someones else’s work, or bead work you have made with a pattern you brought or were given you need to give them credit.

Copyright infringement: is using someone else’s creative work, which can include a number of things including a piece of visual art, and other creative works, without authorization or compensation, if compensation is appropriate. – This can also include selling someone else’s pattern or teaching their pattern without their permission.

It is illegal to copy large sections of someone else’s copyrighted work without permission, even if you give the original author credit, so if you are inspired by someone else’s work and want to make something similar you are required to buy the pattern if one is available, or ask the designer permission to copy the item if it is not (and give them due credit) or make something similar but is different enough to be its own unique creation.

Fair use Exemption: Allows you to copy small amounts someone else’s work but make sure that you still give them credit.

Now there are many patterns out there with a footnote or disclaimer that you can only make the pattern for your own personal use. This is actually not true, it is only the pattern that falls under the copyright law. You will find these disclaimers in many craft patterns and in every case the are blatantly not true. Unless it is made clear before you buy the pattern that it can only be use to make items for personal use, it has no legal base and even then it is dubious. However I would recommend avoiding patterns with these disclaimers if it is your intent to make items to sell, because really who needs the drama. And if you are writing patterns and want to have this disclaimer make sure you have it nice and clearly visible before the purchase is made.

That said I feel that if you are actually making items to sell from someone else pattern then you should go out of your way to support them, Follow them on social media, engage with their posts and drop them a comment or two, give them a shout out on your own platforms and don’t forget to give them credit where credit is due. Every little bit helps. If you are making money then making sure some of it goes back to the person who created the pattern is a must, even if you are just buying more of their fab patterns, so that they can create more, because they have bills to pay too and from my calculations its damn hard work to make a living creating patterns and items to sell.

And then there are Stitches, Techniques and basic designs.

Stitches and Techniques are not protected by copyright law, though if you do know who came up with them, if they are a modern stitch or technique then be a decent human being and give them credit.

Basic designs are murky water, the thing is it is very easy for several designers to come up with the same basic patterns on their own or to see a basic pattern and copy it with a quick glance at a photo. So if it is easy to copy with a glance then it is rather hard to even determine who owns the original copyright if anyone. The rule of thumb in this case is to try to avoid copying other peoples work but if it is a basic pattern and you do not need to have an image of it in front of you to copy then you can generally copy it without breaking the law. And if you have a photographic memory then remember that dosn’t give you a free pass to copy whatever you want.

And sometimes more than one designer has come up with more complex pattern or design separately and only find out later that their patterns are the same or very similar. In this case because no one actually copied another’s work it can get complicated quickly though copyright dose technically belong to the first person to make the item and can prove that they were the first. In this case designers typically work things out themselves as suing for copyright can be a lengthly and costly process.









And if you see that someone has not given a designer credit please give them a friendly nudge to do so, it can be as simple as saying hey looks like you forgot to credit Designer X in this photo, I really like your personal touch to the design btw.

All the best until next time Lou and at least two of the cats.

Some places you can find information on copyright law:

How I got started

My first 3D attempt.

When I was a teenager my mother dragged me into our local spotlight store for a jewellery making workshop, way back when they still did those kinds of things. It happened to be a beading workshop and we made a charming little net bracelet. I talked my obliging mother into buying several large lamp work beads (that I have never used) and some beading supplies. That was about the end of it, I made one or two bits of jewellery, from some beading books I had also purchased at some point and decided that it was just another craft to go on the scrap pile.

This discarded hobby, only caught my interest some time later, when procrastinating in the ocean of internet images I saw a beaded sphere and thought to myself that I could make my own. With no reason to believe that I could actually make my own and with only a photo to go by I managed on my second attempt. It was a challenge and as you can see in the photo above its not the best sphere ever made, though a good second attempt. Eventually I found a better way of making the spheres and then decided to use only the one type of bead, making them form much better.

If you look at the progress of my work you will notice that spheres are a constant part of my collection and I am sure that they always will be in some form or variation, because they are such a dynamic and interesting form, that you can do so much with. And much of my work is done with only one type of bead, though I do use more from time to time and am waiting on supplies to start a new project I will tell you about later that incorporates a new material (still made of glass) into the mix.

So I have been beading on and off ever since, with more frequency as the years passed and have been beading full time around full time work for the last two or three years. I have found so much inspiration on the internet that keeps me wanting to push boundaries and explore what is possible. To be honest part of the attraction to beading is being able to try something new that may not have been do already, and find a way to make something work, or even turn it into something else if it dose not work. I am nothing if not a sucker for a challenge.

Beadweaving in the modern age.

Looking down on a 3d CRAW cube (C) Louise Carter

These days there are many types of beadwork, beading stitches & techniques ranging from ancient embroidery and peyote stitch right up to CRAW – cubic right angle weave. And beadwork can be done in flat 2d, raised 2d or even 3d. And then there are the beads. Today there is an abundance of different types of beads, so much so that I would have to do a post all about bead types and then it would be out dated soon enough.

Many projects are done with just one or two stitches but some of the more complex projects can incorporate several stitches and techniques to create a complex creation. Most of my own projects to date have been made up of just one to two stitches and of only a few techniques, and I am still exploring what can be made in this way. I also typically use only one type of bead in a project and only one or sometime two sizes or bead. But most beadweavers will use several types of beads in a project and include materials other than thread.

All over the globe there are beadweavers working on discovering new techniques and there are even teams of people scattered across the world working new projects, techniques and figuring out the architecture of beadwork. It is an exciting time to be beading as new techniques are discovered and shared.

Types of projects range from jewellery, embroidery, tapestries, miniatures, boxes, decorations to sculptures. Patterns are abundant for those who don’t want to design their own creations or wish to lear a new technique with a pretty pattern. And for those who do want to create there own patterns there are programs such as BeadTool and Easy Bead Patterns to help the process along.

Well that is all for now, Louise and Millie.

Something Like Obsession

Welcome to my very own art journal/blog and the crazy world of beadweaving that I inhabit. I have no idea if anyone will actually want to dive into my thoughts on this odd and particular topic but the truth is I just need to express myself on the topic even if my ramblings go unnoticed in the void that is the internet.

If you are actually reading this than I would actually like to know what you are interested in seeing or reading about my beadwork and please understand that this blog will be an ongoing work in progress and like everything I do it is rather unplanned and spare of the moment. It might be a surprise for some of my current followers to learn that I take the same approach to my bead work.

Some times I will spend months if not years contemplating a project and other times I will have and idea and start right away even in the middle of another project. Most of my basic drawings and vague figuring outs are done after the project has already started. And to the frustration of many I still have not gotten around to producing patterns, though I have half heartedly made some attempts.

As haphazard as it all maybe I love beading and when I am not working I will spend most of my day at my desk beading and listening to audio books. To be completely honest I will also spend most of my time before or after work depending on my shift also beading. It seems that often my intensity freaks people out for some reason and it dose leave very little in the way of conversation to connect over. But that is just the price to pay for having an obsession.

Anyway I hope you enjoy studying the results of my obsessions and find some item in my beaded collection the inspires or amazes you.

Love Lou.