Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

I've got a lot going on right now. The most exciting is of course, welcoming my new nephew, Edward (named in honour of our grandfather), who was born April 15th, at 9 lbs. 5 ounces (4.2 kg). Baby and parents are doing well. I had planned to tackle wedding planning and preparations this weekend, but my brother pretty well summoned us to come admire the baby. This is funny if you know him, because it's rather out of character, but who could say no? He also seemed to want RJH to stand there and tell him, "yes, that sounds like a good idea" for all his bathroom renovation ideas. So I got to sit with Edward, who seems like a very good-natured baby, while they worked upstairs. Plus my father asked RJH to come and photograph his house for the listing. He's found a place to rent downtown. Someone convinced my baby-mad father not to find a house in the country, in order to have a large garden, when his first grandchild was imminent. Poor RJH has been pretty sick for over a week, so I've been trying to help him too.

Also, we've been working on organizing a team art/craft/vintage sale for the first week in June. Cause, why not throw a huge marketplace the weekend before you get married? That's not crazy at all. But this promises to be a great event, complete with free workshops, post-show cocktail party and we're hoping to hire a live DJ (we've been talking to none other than Synap). The upside for me a seller/organizer is that I have displays and stock ready to go. Also, as one of the organizers, I'm lucky to be working with such great collaborators.

Also on the team front, yesterday, we met with local Etsy staff to talk about how we managed to become such a successful team (apparently, ours is one of the largest and most active in the country). While at the meeting, it seemed every single person I know tried to call me, twice. (Sorry Reynardin... could you email instead.?.. would love a reply to my last message). Murphy's Law. And, we're also looking into running some pop-up shops for the team, so I've got another meeting tomorrow.

Plus the city wants to upgrade our water supply to include automatic, digital metering. Sadly, the company they've hired to do this seems to be completely lacking in administrative skills. Hopefully on their third visit, they'll have the tools they need. I happen to be working from home, so it hasn't been a huge burden to be here to let them in... but even for me this is inconvenient. I would think anyone who took time off work to facilitate ill-planned visits, after multiple phone calls and letters to provide the company with the needed information would be more than a little miffed. We're hoping to redo the basement floor, so we can have a proper guest room and to some degree, we're waiting on these people to get their act together because it might put some limits on what we can do.


I haven't posted any original prints recently, because the prints I've been making have rather custom uses. I have, of course, been carving blocks for our wedding invitations. I also got commissioned by a fellow Etsy seller - the lovely Steph of handmade and vintage jewellery shop Arrow And Era to make two custom linocut logos for her. I haven't previously done any branding work, except for myself. I really enjoyed working with her. Her concepts were interesting and clearly conceived, and it was a pleasure to bounce ideas back and forth and converge on a design and carve the blocks. You can see how she's using the logos in her shop. As soon as I finished that, another possible customer proposed another custom logo for me to work on. I'll let you know how that goes. I've also licensed the image of my Aries linocut to a tee shirt manufacturer in Southern California. I'll post an image when they begin making the tees. They were great to work with too! Too often artists get messages like, "hey, I thought I'd steal your artwork to put on clothing, but I'll send you a free sample," so it was great to be contacted by a company who were so straightforward, and used to dealing with artists as small business people.


This was a complete contrast to another small business. Yesterday, I got a message from someone I used to know, who mentioned how much she liked the art she found when she googled me. So, I did a google image search on my own name, to see what turns up these days. I was more than a little annoyed to find amongst the things I expected, that someone had taken my rabbit linocut, cut out the background and called it the logo for her company. She, strangely, even wrote that I (well, she misspelled my name) had made the original and that she had taken it from the Year of the Rabbit Exhibit site! I wrote her a note to explain that this does violate my copyright (though she could hire me to design her a logo), and that she does not have my permission to use my art. I've asked her to take it down. I have yet to hear back. I won't hesitate to assert my rights if I need to, but I do hope that considering that she attempted to credit me, she's just woefully ill-informed, and will be reasonable. Under US law, where she is based, I could contact her ISP and demand that all of the logos be removed. It amazes me that people think it's okay to download original art from the internet and use it to sell their companies! I make a point to only ever post artwork I can attribute to its originator, but more than that, when I use art other than my own, I do it to illustrate something or review the art. I get a number of email from people who would like to feature my art on their blogs - this is quite flattering and they are welcome to do so. In fact, I don't mind if people re-post my art (credited and linked to me) to admire it without asking my explicit permission. Heck, copyright regulations allow people to take excepts from works of art to make reviews, so should someone want to pan something I made, I wouldn't be thrilled, but it would be their perogative. But I would never dream of appropriating art to sell something! Imagine just claiming someone else's original work as your logo. Art is not free. Artists like being able to pay their bills and it isn't okay to just appropriate it. Had she contacted me, rather than appropriating my art, it's likely we could have worked out a very reasonable fee. As it is, I'm appalled.

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