“What would you do with a piece of glass like this?”

•1 April, 2010 • 12 Comments

 

Once in a while something catches your eye in a shop or suppliers that you simply can’t leave behind. Well this piece of glass is a fine example of that. A one of a kind , expensive and utterly unique sheet. I had no idea why at the time but found myself packing it into the car and bringing it home. 

A year later and I still had no project for it,  that I felt paid it the credit it deserved. It has so much going on in the pattern that just left as it was, would have been enough to pay credit to its beauty. If I’m honest, I was probably more worried about ruining a beautiful piece of glass and that’s why it sat there, occasionally muttering to me to be used for something….

I am a member of the IndieJunction community.  An online bunch of fantastic and very creative people from all over the world. As I was not finding any answers for a use of the glass I put it on the forum, to see what feedback or ideas they may come up with. (Maybe I was looking for the backing of others to give me the confidence to tackle it)

Here are some of the comments….

“You know it’s a sunrise over the ocean – you know that right? 🙂 A bright blazing sun………..”

“Im not sure what it is but those colours are bloody gorgeous, It looks like a vase to me. But then also maybe an avant garde lamp, circa 1959”

“Oh wow the colors are beautiful. I agree,  this would be a gorgeous vase.”

“Pardon me, but it’s a Gothic window you can hang in your big Bay window. It’s classic Gothic shaped with the high arch at the top. Steve it’s so awesome,  cut it into intricate pieces, but keep the brilliant Bright Orange yellow for the top of the arch, as the sun streams through it, one feels an overwhelming feeling of positive energy and warmth.”

I have to say I was tempted with the Gothic Window idea as they really do drive a passion in me but The Vase thoughts seemed to be a good track to follow. I knew whatever I did had to be about the glass and not something with too much intricacy in the design, so cutting it up too much was a bad route.

This is how I reached the flat pannel idea – It is the best way to present the glass in large sections and how I felt would best show off what was going on within the glass. But this then threw up another question – “Which side of the glass to use?”

One side was bright and vibrant, as in the picture above, but when i turned the piece over I got a totally different image. One that was more uniform and with a finer pattern and lots of texture. On top of this I dont think ive ever been so worried about cutting a piece of glass – One mistake with the cutter or too much pressure and I could have easily broken the whole sheet.

Luckily, this didnt happen and I managed to find four sections from the overall sheet. Those with the best patterns rather than just cutting from four areas next to each other. Still undecided about which side to use, “Ok”, I thought, ” Back to IndieJunction and see what they think”, so I posted the two pics below to the site and asked for votes on it…

Original View

Second View

It didn’t take long to get a decision and the resounding result was for the second view, as it had more of a flowing image in the pattern, and one that would work well around a vase.  So I went with that. Switched on the soldering Iron and got to work on it. I wanted the solderwork to follow the rippled effects in the glass rather than trying to get a smooth line and added the solder in drips, so that I got this effect. Then, rather than leaving the solder shiny, which did look great, I decided to use a copper patina to finish it off. Its not too dark and still allows for a little shine to come through from the metal, highlighting the ripples.

Well here it is – The finished piece ..,

Oh and to finish it off,,,Just add flowers!!

And a last note: “A huge thank you to my friends on IndieJunction, who gave me their time and helped so much with this project!”

“PIECE NOW SOLD    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Commission Piece – Tiffany Repro “Antique Handel” lamp

•17 March, 2010 • 2 Comments

Completed 17th March 2010 – Techincally one of the simpler designs but none the less just as gorgouse as other patterns. I went for a simple base as anything too intricate would have overpowerd the shade design.

A New piece from The Stand-Alone Range from Cherished Stained Glass ©

•14 March, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This piece is Titled “Kaleidoscope of Bubbles” and has been created entirely by hand in my studio in Kent. Designed totally for its colourful effects in abstract. A Unique standing system designed by Cherished Stained Glass

Awarded The Sunshine Award!!

•13 March, 2010 • Leave a Comment

History of Stained Glass

•4 March, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If you fancy a brief bash of history have a look at this piece on my main website
Click on the window…

Intellectual Copyright – Protecting your work

•3 March, 2010 • 13 Comments

 

Introduction……..

This piece is  for those Designers, Artists, Artisans, Crafts Men and Women who work hard each day producing their work and who are concerned that others may, or may already have decided to copy their work. I am not a  lawyer or from any legal background but I am a designer/Artist who has switched on the computer and saw exact copies of my designs displayed, as if the work of another. I know as well as being creative, we are also often working for the commercial gains, no matter how large or small they may be, but to see your pride and commitment, flashed up on the screen with the claims that another person did it, is not a nice feeling at all. I had it described to me by another designer a while back saying that she saw them as the sort of person who would lean over and copy anothers homework at school. A good example but when its your passion and your career being swiped from you, then the pain is a real one. You feel like there is little you can do about it and wonder why you should put in the effort in the future.

Well, it happened to me, i felt that way, had the same feelings of upset and anger, and I decided that I was not going to allow this to happen and had to deal with it as best I could. I am proud of my work, dedicated to it and wasnt going to let a copier steal it from me. As I said I am not a lawyer or a legal professional but I can run you through my experiences and give pointers of how to approach the problem. It worked for me and apart from putting aside a bit of mental time and effort, a positive result is achievable.

Even if you havent already had work copied, I am adding some good practise ideas here that I adhere to now so that I am ready for when it happens again in the future. These are now by ‘firewall’ against it.

What is Intellectual Copyright?

Surprisingly, Copyright is automatic. You do not need to apply for it. Just be able to prove that what you claim copyright for , is in fact totally your own work. This can be anything from writing a song, taking a photograph, designing a piece of art or sculpture, or even writing your own blog. Your intellect designed the idea and therefore you own the rights to it and its uses.

An example that we are all aware of is Music. Not a day goes by without hearing it somewhere. On the radio, in the car, whilst out shopping,  the list is endless. We take it for granted and forget that someone at some point sat down and used their intellect to develop the piece that we have just listened to and yet how much credit do we give to that person?

The Copyright laws protect  ANY medium. This is why you do not have to apply for copyright but need proof that it is yours. It does not protect the ‘ideas process’, for a work. It is only when the work itself is actually created in design, or the finished piece, that copyright automatically protects it.

Your work can also have more that one Copyright held in the finished design,  product or piece. ie. A car is a car, but the parts, design, instruments, name etc, can all hold individual copyrights, or intellectual property rights (IP)

You may even choose to have the name of your work, theme, company, logo registered as a trademark ™ Again this is your work and so your rights cover it under copyright.

Here is a link to the information from UK Gov regarding designers Copyrights, in pdf form.

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/cdpact1988.pdf

Why we need to protect our work……..

You wouldn’t buy a house, decorate and furnish it and then just give it away to the first person who walked past it. Would you? It’s the same with our designs and artworks. They are our own creations and not to be handed over lightly. This is why protecting our work is so important. Without an understanding of protection or actively taking steps to do so, your popular ideas will be swiped from you and may even be claimed as the intellectual work of another. Then they could claim it from you and stop you producing your own work!

Don’t forget the benefits of holding the copyright! If a copier or organisation, no matter how large or small swipes your work you have legal argument to claim against them including damages, costs etc. In addition you are also the licence holder for the work, so if another wished to use your idea/design then you can for a fee, give them rights to use it but you will still hold control of the copyright. For example: you could licence another to make 100 copies but no more or allow them 1 years use of the designs etc, all for a lovely fee! I would recommend legal support from the likes of a lawyer or solicitor if you are going down this avenue, just for peace of mind and incase you require it in the future.

How can we protect our work?

There are various methods of protecting your work. Some are very simple and based on providing the proof that the work is your own. Others, if you so choose, involve more legal avenues but as I found these were not at that time required. My proof of ownership was enough to have the copier dealt with. Often these rights offer global protection and are getting stronger and stronger with some countries treating them as criminal activity with a prison sentence as punishment.

I would advise adding a copyright symbol to your work ©. It is simple to do. Just follow this instruction.

Hold down the ALT button on your PC (Not sure about Mac). and then while it is held type in the numbers 0169 and then release. This may take a couple of attempts but you’ll figure it out. It basically adds a © to where the cursor was. Very handy and although it proves nothing it does state that there is a copyright and shows you have done all you can to announce this fact. Handy when someone plays the naive act – “Oh I didn’t realise there was a copyright” 

Get a business stamp made up – I used an online firm called Vistaprint – It basically has my company name with the website on it and everything i do gets stamped now. Shows really well when I do the photographs for my copyright files for my designs.

Write the copyright line onto all pages you have designs on and add it to any advertising you do. I even use a watermark software for my online photos. For this I used www.alamoon.com/watermark-editor.html . It’s free and you can pretty much design your own watercolour mark and place it where you want it and as prominent as you require.

A standard copyright line would say:

All designs, work and photographs on this website are protected under international copyright laws / All rights reserved.

For a Watermark, you could  just say, using my business as an example:  Copyright Cherished Stained Glass

Various wordings can be used as what you’re trying to do is imply make people verbally aware of the copyright.

Based on UK/European Law (Still very similar to those in USA/ASIA/AUSTRALASIA), here are some methods of protection.

The Automatic method……

There is no official registration system for copyright in the United Kingdom (UK) and most other parts of the world. There are no forms to fill in and no fees to pay to get copyright protection.

So long as you have created and fixed, for example in writing, an original work that qualifies for copyright protection, that is it falls into one of the categories of material protected by copyright, you will have copyright protection without having to do anything to establish this. It is a requirement of various international conventions on copyright that copyright should be automatic with no need to register. To help protect your copyright work, it is advisable to mark it with the © symbol, the name of the copyright owner and the year in which the work was created.  Although this is not essential, it will let others know when the term of protection started and it should then be possible to calculate whether it has ended or not. (See time scales at bottom of blog) It will also indicate who the owner was at that time in case it is then necessary to approach them should you need to ask permission to use the work.

The initial method I use for date stamping by work personally, involves date stamped photography of the original design, sketches, marketing material and any website advertising. You can also for a nominal fee, have the design file for that piece date stamped by a solicitor but this was not required when I won my case for copyright fraud, against a copier. The dated photographs and other records were enough. (Keep everything! Photograph everything!). You can also have a self-addressed envelope sent recorded delivery to yourself but there is some arguments as to whether this proves the contents of the envelope by date etc. The trick here is NOT to open the envelope – This way the date stamped work is intact inside and can then be opened by a court of law, proving you are the owner of its contents, which is something I am now doing.

Using Copyright registers…….

Basically there are no official copyright registers as such, as your  work is covered automatically. You can however seek out certain companies who with officially log your designs but be aware that there are fees involved and in my case were not a requirement.  You may find you are just duplicating everything and paying out for something when you don’t need to.

What we can do when others have copied our work?

Take a good look at what they have done and how you feel your copyrights have been infringed. Remember that the copyright is for the finished design but that they cannot use your design even as part of their finished piece. When looking for infringement you are looking at the 3 dimensional overall design and not the colour or decoration. (How you colour something is not a copyrighted area). If you feel that they have definitely copied you then you should list the points of where and why you are certain. It is then up to you to make sure that you have your own records to back up what you say and initially write to the copier. This can be done personally although often the support and guidance of a solicitor would be a great benefit and for the initial approach, relitavly low in costs. At the end of the day if a copier knows that they are in the wrong, they are unlikely to have their own lives ruined financially by loosing a case with all its costs, let alone their own commercial image, however faked it is.

If you see your work being marketed online then most Internet Service Providers have obligations in their own codes of conduct to suppress illegal activity. If the copier is using an online auction site or similar then send copies of your proof to the website managers (Ebay etc) through their contact us links. Often websites have specific departments who deal with these enquiries. Don’t expect an immediate response but once the cogs start turning the results can be quite swift.

My main experience last year was through using eBay auction to auction some of the Christmas Decorations that I had designed. I had sold them many times and a copier had seen them somewhere on the web. They decided to copy them and sell them as their own. As I had proof of design, Ebay dealt with them and they no longer sell on there. I also had them logged with trading standards as non reputable traders. I was lucky – I spotted it early and it was stopped quite quickly but only because I had spent days finding out what I needed and total luck that I had photographed my designs with date records etc.

The power of the online community.

A recent case of copying made the TV News and Press internationally,  and proved how much power the online design community has when working as a huge team. The company involved was a group of online jewellery producers. They ran websites with pictures of pieces that they produced. It was only when a member of a USA based community spotted some of their own work on this site that the fraud came to light. The copier had basically gone to other sites, copied the images of various handcrafted arts, such as jewellery and added them to their own site, They would then make the pieces to order using a team of copiers.

Once the community most hit by this started blogging to each other about it, hundreds of designers were found to be involved and the battle began. Within a day hundreds had hit the site with blogging attacks, put warnings up all over the internet and even managed to get offers of legal support and interest from the national TV news stations. It was truly amazing to see what can happen when the modern online design community works together and something I have never experienced before.

Needless to say, within days all of the copied photographs (Which in themselves had copyright protection held by their owners) were removed and the websites involved had more negative publicity in one week that any company could survive. I understand that the business is folding and under full investigation by the USA authorities.

The same goes for the UK & Europe. Some of us have been around online for years and whenever we spot a copy we pretty much know, in our own fields, who the originator is and get a message to them warning them of it. I was personally invited to join Ebays Vero programme which fights copyright fraud on their sites but there are many other organisations who actively seek out the copiers. This just shows that although it can feel like a minefield sometimes, if you are prepared to take them on you can, in your own way, often stop them. I managed it online and I did it alone. In the USA hundreds got involved and pretty much put a huge organisation out of business!.

Learn from the experiences of others……….

Everyones experience is different to the next, but a single snippet of information can sometimes be the solution that solves the next persons problem. This is so true with Copyrighting. If its happened to you, or you want to shout from the roof about a fight you are having, then please do add it in comments. It might not seem that interesting or particularly relevant, or even much of a case but it’s all useful to someone. blog away friends!

Stand-Alone Sun Catchers©

•2 March, 2010 • 4 Comments

A Unique standing system designed by Cherished Stained Glass

I always strive to offer my customers something different and unique, where it is possible to do this. This is why I feel I really have hit the mark this time with my Stand-Alone range of Sun Catchers, for which I hold the intellectual Copyright. 

Ever since I started to design my own range of Sun Catchers, I had a niggling problem that continuously ran through my mind regarding how I could make them easy to place anywhere, around the home or office. Solutions to this ranged from supports made from metals, stands made from wood but it was an idea that I started to develop last year, where the support is actually all part of the overall design. This I feel is the best way for showing the piece at the same time as giving the customer the option of placing the piece absolutely anywhere. It also means that the design & pattern can flow into the base and the overall theme, is seen as one. 

One of the key issues was stability, as nobody wants their lovely Sun Catcher falling over and smashing on the floor. I managed to solve this too and carried out some tests on various ideas, until I came up with this one. It really does work and holds quite a weight in its base, giving it little, if any chance, of falling over. 

The design allows me to use the full range of geometric shapes, making the link between the panels theme and its support very versatile. ie A circular Sun design can sit on a circular base, whereas a square framed panel, can sit on its relevant base. 

It might sound simple but this really has taken a lot of time to get right and it is only now that I am introducing it to my customers. 

"The Sunrise Stand-Alone Sun Catcher ©"

Something unique from Cherished Stained Glass

 This piece shows clearly, using my popular theme of a glorious sunrise, how I can involve the base in the design it holds. The lower glass of the fields in green is carried over onto the glass of the base, making the piece look visually stunning – with a wood or metal support this would be lost and the two parts would visually have no relationship to each other. 

Stand-Alone Suncatcher "Sailboat" ©

Look at how I have matched the colours in this piece with the base glass. It’s very effective and visually looks great. 

Because of the way the design works in the base, the only reason I am making smaller versions for the commercial market initially is simply one of shipping. It’s so safe and stable that I can use this for quite large panels. 

My email has already received some lovely feedback and also some great ideas for panels, so if you have a thought to help me with the creative side, or might even like a commissioned piece, just let me know.Tell me what you think.