How to Bead Like Nobody's Watching

My version of right-angle weave with Twin beads. Looks an awful lot like…
Kassie Inman's Patchwork pattern for Twin beads.

A few weeks ago, I came up with what I thought was a pretty unique version of right-angle weave using Twin two-holed seed beads. I posted a picture of it on my Facebook page, and a little while later, another very talented beader, Kassie Shaw Inman, commented that she had created something that looked strikingly similar, and showed me a photograph of it. We traded information with each other about how our designs were made, and we walked away with a better understanding of how our designs were constructed, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration for new designs.

I think it can be easy to feel intimidated when you're learning how to bead, and especially when you start designing your own seed bead patterns. Nobody wants to be accused of "stealing" somebody's original jewelry design, myself included. It's distressing to be on the receiving end of such an accusation, especially if the accusations are unwarranted. Because, yes, I have seen it happen where two beaders have come up with nearly identical designs from opposite corners of the country or even the planet. I have also seen relationships ruined because of misunderstandings between designers, and that just makes me sad.

How you interact with your fellow beaders should leave you feeling good and positive, in my humble opinion. I'd like to suggest three ways to save your own sanity and create a positive outcome when it comes to the highly charged issue of copyright and intellectual property:

Keep your cool. If you believe that someone has used one of your designs without your permission or knowledge, approach them kindly. It's better to be polite when making your initial inquiry, privately, then to go in with anger in any kind of public forum. Approaching the situation with a clear and level head may not be the easiest thing to do, but in the long run, everyone benefits from this.

Save your energy. Either the person who is using your design will do the right thing and remove it or acknowledge you, or they won't. Is it really worth a lot of your precious time, energy, and maybe even your hard-earned cash, to force this person to adhere to a code of ethics? Personally, I would rather save my time and energy for things like, well, beading. (And yoga, but that's for another blog!)

Bead like no one's watching. Keep calm and bead on, bead like no one's watching — however you want to phrase it, keep your head up, and keep your needles stitching. Someone who is going to copy your designs and pass them off as their own is really only going to hurt themselves in the long run. As long as you keep beading and learning how to bead using new techniques and materials, your designs will continue to evolve. Because your own designs come straight from the heart, there's no way to copy that!

Remember this, most of all: no one can make you feel bad without your permission. Put your beady light out there, let it shine bright, and bask in the good vibes you get from spending time with your beads and your friends carry your forward in bliss.

Need an excuse to just play with your beads? Check out Finishing Touches for Beadwork with Melinda Barta, and learn how to bead 35 different embellishment techniques for your beaded jewelry designs. Once you learn the basics of fringe, surface embellishment, and edgings, have fun exploring and experimenting to make each technique your own. Get your copy of Finishing Touches for Beadwork and re-discover your passion for beads! (Can't wait to get started? You can also get Finishing Touches for Beadwork as an instant download!)

What are your thoughts on handling a situation where a design may have been copied without the permission or knowledge of the originator? How would you handle it? We'd love you to share your thoughts here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,


P.S. You can find more of Kassie's fabulous beading patterns and designs on her website, The Beading Butterfly.

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