#Artists Creating Custom Handmade Jewelry in the South of England

 

Husband and wife team, Jana Reinhardt and Ross Cutting are janareinhardt.com creating handmade jewelry in the South of England. They specialize in bespoke, or commissioned pieces, and fine jewelry.
Jana and Ross have over 40 years experience in jewelry design and micro manufacture between them, long regarding jewelry making as an art form, eschewing CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) in favor of the old methods of fabrication and wax carving.

18 ct  white oak wedding rings

 

While customers are largely concerned with the materials that constitute the finished article of jewelry they want to buy, Jana and Ross know the making process involves a much wider host of materials than you would first think.

A green wax carving.

Every item of Jana Reinhardt jewelry begins its journey when Jana carves the master pattern in hard green casting wax – this can take hours depending on how intricate the piece is. “Our brand is famed for its stylized animal pieces, which means Jana needs to use a wax that gives excellent strength, even when carved into extremely fine shapes. It is very crisp and clean to work with,” according to Ross Cutting.

Swallow Rings, 18 ct enamel

 

“She uses soft pink wax for sprues (the channels that the metal will later pour down during casting), or if she wants a softer, more organic, putty-like feel to the surface of the piece she is creating. The wax is carved with dentist tools and joined with a heat pen. To clean the waxes, she normally uses a soft make up brush and paraffin on cotton wool. This removes any filings, or fine dust and leaves the carving with a smooth, even, polished surface.”

yellow and white gold emerald bamboo rings

 

Once Jana is totally happy with the carving, it is sent off to an external company to be cast.

 

Occasionally, if something needs to be made in a hurry, Jana will carve into Fine Milliput – an air drying clay. It is super fine and trickier to work with, because you only have limited time before it starts to harden. It has the advantage of setting very hard, making it strong enough to use as a master pattern that can be cast from in the studio, using casting sand. This is a quicker process, as it can all be done in house – rather than being sent off for lost wax casting.
Once the pattern is finished and depending on whether we are making a bespoke ring, paperweight or a simple silver design, it is cast into gold, silver, platinum, palladium, bronze or brass.

The casting comes back and is processed to a fine finish, before being combined with different materials, such as semi-precious or precious gemstones, glass enamel, wood, or fabric. We sometimes use chemical patinas or plating solutions to change the color of the metal, if this is what the design requires.

 

A very complex piece might combine several of these materials, and would require a whole range of different processes to be applied to it to create the finished item. The metals and precious stones you see in a piece of jewelry are not the full story, many other materials must be used to create every item we make.

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Urban Outfitters Takes Artist’s Artwork Found Online, Prints On Mini Skirt–Without Artist’s Consent!

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Artist James Soares aka Spires, sells his art prints and art designs printed on 3-D items in his store on the e-commerce site Society 6. Spires created the above side-by-side comparison of his artwork obviously used on the Urban Outfitters mini skirt.  On his Tumblr blog the artist is asking others to reblog his story and share. The Huffington Post wrote this article about the design printed on the mini skirt without the artist’s knowledge, permission, any licensing contract, or payment. The Village Voice published an article on the mini skirt design yesterday. In the comments from readers of the Huffington Post article, one artist wrote, “It’s happened to me. I had my painting “Arizona Sunset” turned into a print for a dress . . . flattering and maddening at the same time.”

According to other artists, and other news stories, Urban Outfitters has copied more than one jewelry design. A necklace in the shape of New York State with a heart cut out, that was designed by Etsy artist Stevie Koerner and available in his e-commerce Etsy store as part of his United States of Love line, appeared in a new Urban Outfitters line of the same name. Steve Koerner wrote, in part, “The World/United States of Love line that I created is one of the reasons that I was able to quit my full-time job.  They even stole the item name as well as some of my copy.”  The story of this design theft appeared, with photos, in the Huffington Post article Urban Outfitters Steal and on the artist’s Tumblr page as Not Cool Urban Outfitters.

Some non-artist commenters on the recent Huff mini skirt article bring up questions of originality. Are these original designs– a map of New York state, the heart shape, a landscape of an Arizona sunset in a painting, or the geometric triangle pattern in the artist’s print (the one obviously copied and used on the mini skirt)? Haven’t we seen these things before and aren’t they part of our collective consciousness owned by all?  Another question, does Urban Outfitters work with another company, BamBam, and are they responsible for the ripped off artist’s design on the mini skirt? Yet, it’s also reported  by The Brooklyn Paper, and in an article in The Village Voice that an Indie jewelry designer selling at a Brooklyn flea market found her designs sold as very similar items by Urban Outfitters. Are such artworks and designs deliberately searched for, copied and used by large companies for the very reason that they doubt small business owners have the resources to fight back? Can these artists prove loss-of-income or originality of design?

It is time-consuming for artist-owners of small businesses to pursue matters legally,  yet one artist that we featured in our blog last year did just that. She received a check in payment, compensating her for the unauthorized use of her artwork on three album covers. The lawyer she worked with was available free of charge via Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

I’ve always found the Huffington Post to be artist friendly–publishing artist news  and featuring quality art news columns by several writers. Is Huffington Post the largest news source to cover these matters for artists? The Village Voice supports artists with reports on these artist rip-offs as well.

I can’t help but wonder how many times they get away with it? That is, how many times do such infringements go unnoticed in relation to the few instances companies are caught in outright copyright infringement?