Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fuck Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is something that I think about from time to time. It is such a manmade construct: thoughts as property. Mine vs. yours. Especially when you're talking about art and creativity. How on earth can you draw a line and say, this here is mine, I came up with it ALL by myself and I am going to sue anyone who "steals" my idea?

You can't. I mean really, you might as well try to draw a box around the section of the atmosphere that you and only you are breathing. Good luck with that. As much as our egos hate to admit it, we are all interconnected.

But our society functions on money, and if you can monetize something by slapping a trademark on it, then of course someone is going to do it. Last week I received an email from Etsy's legal team telling me that one of my listings had been deactivated because someone was claiming to hold the copyright for that item.

What the fuck?

It was immediately clear that I had not infringed on the trademark in question. My bracelet was, well, fucking different. I took a look at the website of the person claiming the infringement. (Etsy's email basically said: we know nothing. We want to know nothing. Go to the person who is making the claim and try to work it out with them.)

And it just struck me as sooooo sad. Here is this website with beautiful jewelry, inspirational jewelry at that. Empowerment and faith are big themes in this woman's jewelry line. (I'm purposely being vague because Etsy claims that that infringement notice is confidential - again, what the fuck. But I really don't need to go seeking legal problems.) Anyway, here is all this beautiful jewelry by an apparently successful artist, which pulls quotes and design inspiration from all kinds of well known literature and religious books.

Now imagine that all literature - all the history of art and religion from the past, oh, couple thousands of years, was trademarked, and that the only jewelry this woman could sell was the one eight-word phrase that she managed to stake a legal claim onto.


I was going to write her an email to ask about her claim, and perhaps gently point out that her legal strategy kind of contradicts her art, but then I received a second notice from Etsy: the infringement claim had been retracted. I was free to relist my bracelet.

So I did. And made a new charm for my own personal fucking charm bracelet.

This isn't to say that there aren't slimy people who really do just copy other people's work, and purposely come up with some loophole to avoid getting caught. Plagiarism sucks. Lazy people suck. But art and creativity require inspiration, evolution and room to breathe.  Trademarks - and the worry about trademarks - can really hinder that. I know artists who are so paranoid that they might accidentally copy someone's idea that they won't even allow themselves to view art in their field, lest their subconscious betray them and introduce an element that someone else has already used.

My opinion is: CALM THE FUCK DOWN. There are only so many colors to paint with, chords to play, or ways to string beads. As long as you aren't intentionally trying to mimic someone else, chances are, there are elements that you think are unique that many thousands of other people have also come up with. That's fine. It is your attempt that matters.

And Taylor Swift? Who famously sicced her legal team upon the makers of Etsy who dared quote her lyrics on their t-shirts and coffee mugs? Girl - those people are your FANS. They are the ones buying your albums and tickets to your concerts. Your performance is your art. Let the kids express their freaky fandom - it only benefits you.

These are just my opinions. Obviously nobody asked for them, and nobody is going to change any laws based on them. But as the writer Maria Papova, creator of Brainpickings.org, said in a podcast I listened to recently (how's that for a vague citation? sorry!), at some point we have to create the work we want to see exist in the world. In her case, it was creating a website rich in content without plastering it with advertising to pay the bills. She is an inspiration. If you're not already reading Brainpickings, you should start. And send her a few bucks in thanks when you can.

There's probably some lawyer who'd like to claim she's copying Gandhi, who famously said "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

I prefer the believe that great minds think alike - that's why great ideas resonate with like minded individuals. It is a cause to be celebrated, not sued over. So I made a new key chain.

Be the fucking change.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Compliments are fucking awesome

I hit a milestone today: one hundred 5-star reviews in my Etsy shop. I feel so happy and loved.

Which is what my shop is all about - sharing the fucking love. Yet I've struggled with promoting my shop, probably because it can feel like self promotion and narcissism. Advertising feels so ... empty. Even on social media. I never click on paid links - so why the fuck would I expect my customers to click on my ads? (Short answer: I don't.)

My goal in creating jewelry (and yes, fucking key chains) is personal connection. I value working with my hands, making tangible things. And I've totally fallen in love with getting to be a part of my customer's stories - their loves, their families, their friends. It is only people who you are really fucking close to that you can share FYeahJewelry with. I love that.

And let's be honest - getting compliments just feels fucking great. So with the twin goals of needing to promote my shop and wanting to help more people feel the awesomeness of a sincere fucking compliment, I'm starting a win-win-win program today on Facebook.

Every Wednesday, I'll post a picture of a key chain I'm giving away. To enter to win, tag a friend or loved one who you feel that way about.  They instantly win by seeing that you think they are fucking awesome, or that you fucking love them (or whatever that week's message is). I win by getting some exposure for my shop. And then one of the tagged people wins the key chain for real. I'll mail it anywhere (although that might change if suddenly my fan base moves overseas. But that would be a fun problem to have.)

The fine print:
A minimum of 20 people need to get tagged for the give away to occur.
You can tag as many people as you want, but they must be different people (don't just tag your BFF 20 times - it will only count as one entry).
The random winner will be picked on the following Monday.

What do you say? Are you in?

(The response I'm looking for is FUCK YEAH!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Serenity Prayer made concise in necklace form

Hola bloglandia! I've been trying and trying to reach out to the world from my main website, threenatures.com, but WordPress just isn't having it. So here I am on blogger. Someday I want to combine all my blogs and creations, but today is not that day.

Some days, you just have to say fuck it.
Fuck it silver necklace available at FYeahJewelry.etsy.com

At least I do. But it isn't just me. One of my first custom requests was for a charm bracelet that said 'i am enough' on one side and 'fuck it' on the other. You see, even if the woman you're dealing with doesn't seem like the cursing type, she probably is.
different words, same meaning. i am enough necklaces are
available in my gogoshebogo etsy shop.

Because we are all. Whether we admit it or not, whether we use actual curse words or not. We're all just people, doing our best in a crazy world where our best is sometimes not recognized. Sometimes it feels like no matter what, the world is going to just keep being crazy.

(We're the crazy ones when we just keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.)

The Serenity Prayer, made popular in 12-step recovery programs, goes like this:

God [Goddess/Lord/Sweet Baby Jesus/Whoever Might Be Listening], grant me
The serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

A wonderful sentiment. But so wordy. I like my version better.

Fuck it.

Fuck beating your head against the brick wall of other people's perceptions and expectations. Be brave, do what you can to make the world a better place, but don't waste your energy on situations that aren't workable. It doesn't mean you have to disown everybody and move to your own private island - it just means that you know your best is good enough for you (God if you prefer) and that's the only opinion that matters.

Fuck it.

Now available in sterling silver (on my favorite satellite chain in either 16" or 20", with extra sparkles or alone) as well as copper.

Why? Because wearing my fuck it necklace makes me happy, and I think you should be happy too!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hola Mars! Let's Run with it, Fucker!

Hola, Mars! (aka March - we received a Swedish calendar for Christmas, and March is Mars. I'm running with it, because I think the planets have been fucking with me lately - Mercury Retrograde! - and because by saying "I'm running with it," I'm creating a very long but eventually on point segue into my topic for March - RUNNING!)
A few weeks ago, I received a custom request through my Etsy shop for a key chain that said simply RUN FUCKER! As you can imagine, this totally made by day. I laughed as I made it, as I polished it, as I packaged it and finally mailed it.
run fucker key chain marathon motivational gift
Run Fucker! key chain. Motivational gift for marathon runners.

But the joy would continue, for a couple of weeks after THAT, the recipient of this key chain posted a comment on my FYeahJewelry Facebook page:
"Received it yesterday in the mail!! LOVE IT!!  My friend yelled this too me as i was running the Shamrock Marathon. It became our catch phrase!!"

Isn't that awesome? Friends who scream RUN FUCKER as you are RUNNING A FUCKING MARATHON are the type of friends I love. 

Of course, I don't run marathons. I fucking hate running. Although I gave it a shot for awhile. I even joined a running club (the Flying Irish in Spokane, WA) - mostly because they met at an Irish bar. And because I had a friend who was willing to walk alongside me when my side cramped up. I've run a few 5Ks and I totally love the feeling *after* I run. The post-run glow is fucking awesome. But I've found less painful ways to get that runner's high. So I leave the running to the true running fanatics. 

But - speaking of the Flying Irish - St. Patrick's Day is almost here. I don't think the standard "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" is good enough anymore. I think the Irish should own their reputation for intensity and say either "Fuck off, I'm Irish" or "Fuck me, I'm Irish."
fuck irish gifts fucking irish key chains
Decisions, decisions.
For the past couple of months, Southern California has been really green, and the past week especially rainy. It is a huge relief to this Pacific Northwest girl - rain is natural! It makes things grow! Green is good! But the people here really don't know how to cope with a little "bad" weather. 

gary fisher sugar mountain bike in green grass
Wild green grass - highly exotic around here!
Meanwhile, much of the country is still covered in snow and ice. I feel for you, I really do. So, I'll end this rambling post with my version of an Irish blessing:

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May you be blessed with tons of that famous Irish luck
And if not then at least learn not to give a fuck.

Yep, that's my motto this month. Be a Giver of No Fucks.

I love that this giver of no fucks is obviously a generous friend! And I'm donating $5 from each sale of this design to the Downtown Women's Center to benefit the homeless in Los Angeles.
Admittedly, I have quite a ways to go, but I aspire to be a Giver of No Fucks. Not in a mean way - just in the not letting others throw you off your game way. Looks like I'm not the only one. And for that I am glad, despite Mars/March being the month of mad. ;)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fuck Love ... Love Fuck? Two sides to every holiday

Hola bloglandia!

Somehow January flew by without a word from me. And here it is, a week into February already, and Valentine's Day is only a week away. 

First off, a test. I'm curious if anyone who reads this blog ends up shopping in my store, so here is an exclusive Etsy coupon code! Ready?? It is GEEFCUK15. Enter this code to save 15% off anything in my shop. No minimum purchase. Expires 3/14/15.

Ok, back to Valentine's Day. For many, it is the time to say I fucking love you! to our significant others.
i fucking love you key chain handmade etsy
I fucking love you! key chain - a perfect Valentine for guys and girls alike.
And lots of us also celebrate Galentine's Day (thank you Amy Poehler/Leslie Knope) on February 13.

Galentine's is the perfect time to say I fucking love you, bitch! to our besties.
i fucking love you bitch best friend gift
I fucking love you, bitch! key chain. From FYeahJewelry on Etsy.

I love the love aspect of Valentine's Day. Everyone should get some love, in some form.

But the focus our culture puts on romantic love is really quite fucked up. A conversation with a friend the other night really drove that point home to me. She was describing how once a year, she meets up with a long time friend. And no matter what new and exciting developments have occurred in her life - vacations, pets, promotions, events - the friend only cares about one thing. "ARE YOU DATING ANYONE????"
fuck love necklace handwritten copper and pink crystal
Fuck Love necklace with crystal heart - copper handwriting jewelry on Etsy.

We are more than our relationships. You don't have to have a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a spouse, a partner or whatever else you'd like to call it in order to be a worthwhile human being. And even if you think you are just showing that you care about your friend's happiness by asking - you're not. You're implying that they are missing something. But look back on your own life - weren't there times when NOT being in a relationship was the perfect thing? And times when your main relationship was the most important thing? Or even if you were miserable when single, realize other people are not like you! And that's ok!  

equal opposite reaction love
Gogoshebogo is my other Etsy shop. Threenatures.com is my main website.

Eleanor Roosevelt's quote that "no one can make you feel bad without your permission" is true. It is likely that this friend has no idea that she is being hurtful, and that she speaks from her own insecurities, not any real knowledge of the other person. But at the same time, I think she - and the rest of us - should try a little harder to be supportive of our friends instead of so damn critical. Try listening. Then ask questions about the topics your friend actually is excited about. 

Valentine's Day should be about sharing the love, not flaunting relationship status or pitying people who are in a different place (which was probably a quite happy place until the fucking comparisons set in).

So, love fuck. Or fuck love. It is your fucking choice. 

Fuck yeah! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Fucking New Year!

A few weeks ago, with no real planning on my part, I made "Merry Fucking Christmas" ornaments for my FYeahJewelry Etsy shop. Almost immediately, a custom requested this set:
Fuck all the days.
Actually, she requested the first four. I added the happy fucking birthday because, well, wouldn't you? 

I really cannot overstate how much I love my customers. They are the fucking BEST. Although, even with their help in looking towards future holidays, I still find myself here on Dec. 26th just now remembering to list the Happy Fucking New Year! key chain on Etsy. Fuck.
happy fucking new year key chain
I tried using a balloon to edit the text, per Etsy's rules, thinking
that it would look festive. It looked like sperm. :/

I've written before about how, if I was in charge, I'd command everyone to just:
Just try it. You'll like it.

But as we head into 2015, I'm going to update my advice to this:
show a little fucking compassion

Let's be nicer to each other. Not fake nice: I'm talking REAL FUCKING COMPASSION. Just a little. For yourself as much as anyone else.

Happy fucking new year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Merry Fucking Christmas!

Merry Fucking Christmas.

As with most everything, I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas.

I love giving and receiving gifts. I love time with family and friends. I love winter. I love making things that end up as gifts.

I hate mass, crass consumerism. I hate waste.
My "environmental outrage" charm bracelet. 

And I HATE shopping malls that blast "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" throughout the entire parking lot when it is 70 degrees and sunny! Southern California, you have many wonderful things, but winter is not one of them!!

Ah, ok now. So. Gifts. Great. Love 'em. But this?

First, there are 15 days till Christmas. Hardly "last minute" by my definition. And then ... the ENTIRE STORE is on sale. So basically, any time you have ever bought something that wasn't on sale, you overpaid. And lastly, the fine print. "Up to" 60% off. So the degree of discount varies widely.

I love a deal as much as the next person, but I hate being tricked and having prices marked up just so they can be artificially marked down again.

Selling is a struggle for me. Even my own damn creations, which I fucking love. Because I really believe:
  • You should not buy more than you need.
  • You should only buy what you really love.
  • Retail craziness is destroying the world.

Yes, you could argue that by making and selling anything, I'm a hypocrite/human. But gifts really are wonderful. Art really is wonderful. You can shop and give and celebrate without being destructive. Which I feel like people who shop from us little guys are making an effort at doing. So thank you. 

And as a side note - if you're buying from an individual artist/crafter/maker - chances are their prices are already too low. I understand the urge to discount everything, but oh my FUCK I wish people would stop racing to the bottom. 

I do offer discounts for repeat customers and large orders. I truly appreciate everyone who uses their hard earned dollars to purchase some of my handmade work. 

But 60% off the entire store? It ain't fucking going to happen. Although I did price my "Merry Fucking Christmas" ornament at about half my normal price. And put a discount code in my shop heading for orders over $75.

Happy fuckin' holidays!!