Saturday, June 26, 2010


A few days ago, one buyer asks me whether I am bothered by another lampworker who has made a bead with a butterfly motif and, whether I think about copyright issues. Well, you know, this is an ongoing issue not just with lampworking but in all sectors of business. We complain constantly about how the Mainland Chinese copies the branded goods including automobiles; well...hello, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Look around in our little world of lampworking, making similar designs (please note, I do not use the 'c' word and I wish to clearly point out that I'll give benefit of doubt as to whether this particular lampworker's actions and intentions are deliberate or not) is always an ongoing sore point. So, before we point our fingers at others and criticize, let us look at ourselves first. Oh, by the way, the butterfly bead is nothing; I know of another lampworker who not just has similar designs but even uses the same exact name for the bead series as my 'Taj' series from last year - now, that is really hitting hard below the belt. That is one main reason why I stop making my 'Taj' beads.

Back to the subject, am I bothered by the similarities in the beads? Yes, sure I am - but the only way I can avoid this from happening would be never to show or sell my beads. Once your work is publicized, there will be people who become tickled by it and chances are, one or the other is tempted to 'give it a shot'. Sometimes I prefer to think that it is not the motif they are after, it is 'cracking that technique' that is intriguing. I make beads ('Magnolia' beads) which entail a certain technique; the beads will not be what they are if that technique is not used and does that mean I am copying? Sensitive issue, isn't it? Hey, we live in a democratic society and each of us is entitled to do as she/he pleases. If someone does not feel that she/he is infringing on others' rights by making something similar (be it a bead or otherwise), then so be it.

As for copyrights? Well, I can't afford paying copyright fees. Sure it crosses my mind now and then, but you know what? There is nothing really new in the world, we are constantly recycling designs; give it a tweak and there, you have a 'new' design. Besides, I do not wish to stay with one style or technique eternally, I like to move on. Moving on means I am advancing myself. I admit, I do not google about my lampworking colleagues' work. Why? Well, I feel less anxious and do not face any stress this way. Yes, you may wish to label me ignorant by not keeping up with what's out in the lampworking sector. I prefer to source for my inspirations elsewhere, e.g. textile industry, master paintings, the nature around us, the marine world...I can go on and on, but I think you get my drift.

Let me share with you some new beads I have -

set of round beads

I do not usually take custom-orders anymore. This is a 'special' request which I obviously bent my own rules - these beads are specially made after a rendering - the beads and the drawing will be exhibited together. I am not sure how much I am allowed to reveal at this stage, so I am not saying anymore.

lentil-shaped focal made with purple enamels

lentil-shaped focal bead, in purple and orange enamels

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Returning from any business trip is a pure joy for me; clearly you see what my family and home mean to me. Ok, I admit, I take about two weeks to settle down before I can begin to work in my studio. Yes, I come home feeling very inspired and definitely very gung-ho; on the other hand, the biggest quest is like climbing Mount Everest - which of the many inspirations should I work on first? I hit this all-time high and then, it changes into an all-time low and I feel like cowboys lost in space. Knowing this, ie my two-week hungover, I take part in a handful of events each year, spread out to meet my pace. So, am I psyching myself into thinking I need taking about two weeks to settle in? Probably. Some of us take longer to get out of any jams, others don't even have this issue. Ah well, it takes all kinds to make this world - thank goodness for that, otherwise it is a major constipated nightmare meeting your own clones wherever you go!

I have a custom request order from a Japanese buyer - an order from the Bead and Button Show. It is for six beads in abstract designs with enamels and no, it's not a set but individual small focals. The Japanese prefer small focal beads. I have not made this design for two years now. Beads came out this morning from the kiln looking mighty pleasant and I am pleased with them. They will leave for Japan over the next days. You may ask, is this what I am planning to make now? Perhaps. Let's see what my brain has in store for my hands.

Our Sandy - I captured his photo this morning - is now 13. He has his birthday on May 22; he is noticeably slower during his walks and is taking longer getting up from the floor. His naps are much longer and deeper too. A 30-minute walk with Sandy now takes about 50 to 60 minutes to complete. I cut down the length of our walks though every couple of days, we take his usual long rounds - you can tell when he's up to taking a longer walk. I struggle inwardly to see how he is slowing down. My husband and I agree to change our summer travel plans this year, I am reluctant to leave him in any kennel's care or anyone's care - that means, no flying for us and we will restrict our traveling with the car so he can come with us. He has no ailments, hears and sees very well; he is just old. But when it comes to his meal times, oh my, you see how he skips to his bowl like a joyful 3-month old pup! Our dog is definitely our best friend.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I left for Germany on Monday and touched down on Tuesday, having lost one day since I was traveling west. I spent most of the day sleeping and needless to say, I was the only one awake till 3am at home. I used that time to get my accounts done from the Bead & Button Show and sorted out this & that. By Thursday, my jet-lag was more or less gone and I was 'back to the future'. After all, in the US, my day was 7 hours behind the German clock - I guess, that made me 7 hours younger there, hahaha!!

So, how did the show go? Well, it was sluggish for me; if I may dare say so for the other vendors, it was pretty sluggish altogether. Still, it was pretty nifty to be there - get the creative juices rolling... This year, I moved to another booth, my 3rd move so far in the event and let me tell you, it is not a good idea to move from your spot. Your clients think you are not there and when they do find you on the third day, well, that's when you know you're lucky they even found you! Most visitors at the show clutch a show program and I have pretty much noticed they do not read the program till perhaps when they are back in their hotel rooms or their homes. I had several visitors ask me where they could find so-and-so and when I ask them for their show program and flip to the right page for them, you know that they have not even glanced at the show directory! I guess in their excitement to be at the show, they forgot about using the show directory!

Still, I had a great time during the show; with Bronwen Heilman as my booth neighbor, let me tell you, it's definitely fun, fun, fun!!!

Being alone at my booth leaves me no time to even go around the show at all, let alone take any photos. Sorry if I am disappointing anyone with no photos. Here is however a most interesting subject at the hotel...I was very tempted to tell the fellow that his fly was undone but I thought that he just might fall off the ladder in his panic. Yes, he is a real human (and a man...)