Monday, July 12

On so many Levels

Update: You are all so amazing, I've left comments for each of your thoughtful posts!

Even if you've only known me a short time, you know I am enamoured by levels. In some way, they have become a metaphor for my life. I love the catchy phrases, "level the playing field" or "keep your life in balance". Have any more?
So when my husband brought home this vintage wooden level holder, with 3 glass levels inside I was so pleased. I have a small collection of vintage level oddities. I can only imagine the crafts person that used this in his/her work and what they made.
It was particularly appropriate since I had some bad level news on Friday. Ian, my level guy from Europe told me that the "overseas" factory that wanted to copy my level necklaces finally put in an order for 2500 levels. His boss said, "Sell them, business is business".
Sad as that makes me, I am thinking of the young people who will be working in a factory producing copies of my designs for endless hours a day. That enrages me.
When they hit the stores, I may buy a few, set them in the parking lot and run over them with my car. No, I'm not always nice.
But, I always kiss the ones I love. A lot.
ps Thanks for stopping by my blog today, it means a lot, always.


Kathy said...

That is such a shame Sherry, but it's one of those things that you can't control. Find something good to take the sting away. :)

I think we have a level very similar to that in the garage somewhere!

Sherry said...

You're right. I was upset when I wrote this post and I'm handling it better now. Thanks. My shoulders simply can't handle the weight of the world.

I thought about taking the post down, but it's good lesson to remember we can't control it all.


Mary said...

your story reminds me of several other craftspeople i know--a stained glass artist and a potter--who had their ideas copied by a big business and reproduced cheaply by the thousands overseas and then sold for a fraction of the original cost. in both instances it nearly put the artists out of business because every new design they came up with was copied and they couldn't afford to fight the huge corporation (who did eventually pay a pittance for the designs to settle...)

i think it is increasingly difficult to be creative and hold onto your own designs--the internet has made everything instantly available and stealable...i am feeling pretty discouraged these days as both an artist and a writer...everyone wants it for free and then they steal it if you don't sell it. nice.

i'll run over a few with you ;-)

Mary said...

sherry--this is a great post and will engender discussion so don't take it down. we're all human or at least most of us are ;-)

Waterrose said...

Oh wow Sherry. Hugs to you.

It reminds me of the time that the Smithsonian began offering quilts through their magazine. I was excited at first and then realized that the quilts were made by lowly paid labor in another country. While right here, in Appalachia women made beautiful quilts and were barely existing on their household income.

I immediately canceled my subscription, as did many other quilters. All of us writing letters, also getting the reply, "it's business." Makes me sad...

Sherry said...

Mary, I also know of a jewelry designer and potter in the same situation. A cease and desist letter registered on foreign soil costs $500.00 and carries little or no weight.

There was an article about someone who fought and won in the Storque not long ago, however, there are 1000's of artists who have stolen designs who will never reap justice.

Rose, my mom was one of those letter writers who also cancelled her subscription. I remember it vividly.

Rebecca said...

Leave the post up, Sherry. People need to see it; though many of us are already aware of this unfortunate practice, reminders are important, and who knows who might see it?

And yes, it is sad how businesses are run in certain foreign countries. Justice is a word many people don't know.

I do like your reaction to the knock-offs... go for it, girl! It'll make you feel better!

UnaOdd -Lynn said...

What a difficult situation...

It does say something about your supplier that they would discuss this with you, and at least give you the heads-up...not much condolence, but it shows some respect.

Your attitude says tons about your integrity and character.

I would pass on buying any of the pieces. You may get momentary satisfaction, but they don't need one penny of your money.

HUGS! Sherry! XO!

Catherine Ivins said...

This totally pisses me off (to quote my grandma!)

I am thinking these will be total junk with plastic end caps- you will not need a car to crush them- a toddler could do it with their fingers

and if the seller is Blue Moon Beads- I will give you my letter- we will white out my name and save you $500.00

I am thinking the only control we ever really have is our own reaction to something -

putting original work from your heart out into the world takes fearlessness and you have that Sherry! onward and upward - we love you!

xo- Cat :)

Sherry said...

@ Lynn, the guy I deal with is really shocked at the situation. When the company first came to him, they thought he could also make the end caps and actually lifted 3 photos right from my shop as examples.

@Cat, thanks, that means a lot. Looks like they are going to use pot metal for the caps, and from my research could contain up to 20% lead. Yikes!

Thanks for the offer of the letter, it's the big bucks we need to really fight it. It's quite stunning, 2500, isn't it?

Decorate the Diva said...

So sad... I didn't realize they could do that! ~Renee

Annette F Tait said...

Sherry this is a sad situation because you have seen it materialise and not able to do much, however your post has done everything - the internet has made everything accessible to nearly all, including important information like this, so I hope that the buyers of these fakes come to your blog in so many different ways and realise that their purchase has been in vain, and will know the true artisan behind this piece.
Your supplier is very a decent chap, his boss unfortunately is not.
My purchasing powers are always geared towards the small artisan, I think seriously about mass produced purchases, the labour and 'inspiration' behind them.

Sherry said...

@Renee, nothing surprises me anymore, but it is sad.

@Annette, thank you. I too gravitate to small stores, artisan made goods whenever possible. The internet truly is a powerful force and I so appreciate the support.

lisaroyhandbags said...

wow, nothing else to say except that really bites! big hugs to you. Wouldn't it be great if the world didn't revolve around money and everyone would just do the right thing? xx

BlackStar said...

Oh Sherry, that sux! It makes me sad and angry to read that news.
I'm sitting here trying to picture level-headed sherrytruitt driving over mass produced level jewelry.
hugs to you friend.

Victoria Webb said...

Yikes - I can't believe there is no way to sue those guys, Sherry. Maybe you should contact Ralph Nader. I've met him, he's accessible and may just be able to get you to a lawyer who specializes in foreign intellectual property. Or at least make a big stink about it to Public Citizen or another consumer advocate group. It could inhibit their sales.

It seems unlikely that so many US products would be blatantly stolen - do you have a patent on the design?

Maybe that's something to consider....
Thanks for posting.

Miss Val's Creations said...

This is really sad Sherry. It is depressing how many things are being made by cheap labor with overworked children and adults. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find things made in the USA these days.

On the other hand, I love your use of these little findings. Very creative! Customers will know that your creations are the quality ones.

Katie Gates said...

Hi Sherry,

First, this post made me wonder if you're a Libra... (the balance thing). Second, considering uses of the word "level" made me think of when someone says, "Now I'm going to level with you." I always find that suspect -- like when someone says, "to be perfectly honest." Honest is honest; there's no perfectly about it! And why do they need to say those things? Are they not "leveling" with me or being "perfectly honest" the rest of the time?

Kendra Zvonik said...

Oh man! Thanks for sharing this post, Sherry. I am so sorry that you have to deal with this injustice and the feelings of helplessness that accompany this outrage. At least you can be sure that you have friends who will stand by your side and defend you and your creations! I'm here for you. Keep the faith, girl!
xo kendra

Anonymous said...

Oh Sherry, that must be so frustrating that your mass produced copy cat is buying their supplies from the same vendor as you! :(

rise above this miss. ♥ it is quite an honor to be copied upon at such a level. ♥

Sherry said...

Thanks again, everyone. As soon as I wrote this post, I let it go. If you see them on etsy or in store in your town, will you please let me know?


Star of the East said...

That is so sad :(
There always will be copiers, but this is in a bigger level :(
I'm sure you'll come with even better models which they won't be able to make!

Pretty Things said...

I am literally sick to my stomach.

I'm so -- flummoxed. How can it be "business"? Is there no morality anymore?

But you being Sherry, I know you'll be ok. But that doesn't make it one darned bit better.

On another note, that antique level is very cool.

Thinking of you so very much.