Below are some examples of the work done by the Makers:
Below are some examples of the work done by the Makers:
Calling all makers, innovators, tinkerers, hackers and crafters.
Show Off What You Do During a “Demo Day” on March 8th
To coincide with National Craft Month, the Chicago Craft Mafia and Blue Buddha Boutique are presenting a day of crafty make-n-takes and demos. The event is free and open to the public.
We are looking for interesting people who do interesting things to help make this one heck of a day. Specifically, we’re looking to showcase artisan and handy projects — anything that is made by hand, or anything crafty that is made mechanically or using technology.
Some of the events we’ve lined up thus far:
Saturday March 8, 11 – 6 pm
Blue Buddha Boutique
1127 W Granville
Chicago IL 60660
If you’re interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know:
If you have any questions feel free to shoot us an email! We look forward to hearing from you.
The first Craft Racket of the year was January 21st at Blue Buddha Boutique. Our guest speaker, David Adler, Esq. – principal attorney, Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC, gave an overview of intellectual property law. Adler understands the unique needs of makers and gave great information on what makers need to know to protect themselves.
Adler stated that “Intellectual property rights are a bundle of exclusive rights over creative expressions, both artistic and commercial. Creative artistic expression is generally covered by copyright laws, which protect creative works such as books, movies, music, paintings, photographs, and software and gives the copyright holder exclusive right to control reproduction or adaptation of such works for a certain period of time.” So what does that mean and how do you get these rights?
The moment you create something and it is fixed in a tangible form (for example written, photographed or posted to the web) it is copyrighted. Ideas, facts, titles, names, short phrases and blank forms are not copyrightable. The length of time something is copyrighted depends on when an item was created. After the copyright lapses then items become part of the public domain, but that can sometimes be tricky as well, so it is best to verify that something is no longer copyrighted before using it.
While something is copyrighted the moment it is created and fixed in tangible form, it is necessary to have a registration certificate in order to enforce the copyright. You will need to file with the copyright office for every single instance of something you want to copyright. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is part of copyright law and gives you a way to enforce the usage of your copyrighted work online.
Adler also talked about Trade Marks and Service Marks. He mentioned that every state has a trade law act which is to help protect consumers from being confused by businesses. With federal trademark protection the law presumes you are the exclusive owner of the trademark. A trademark is “any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from others, and to indicate the source of the goods”. It is your brand name. A service mark is “any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services”. It is the visual identifying mark of your brand.
You will want to register your trademark and file an “Intent to Use”. This trademark is published and it allows other businesses the opportunity to object to the use of the trademark. In fact one of the Craft Mafia filed an ‘Intent to Use’ through Legal Zoom. Another business in China, which did not make the same thing, objected and said it was too close to their trademark. Many angry cease and desist letters, and consultations with lawyers later, she ultimately had to rebrand. The experience cost her $10,000.
There is a reason so many lawyers have english degrees because filing is an art and the language needs to be very clear. A service like Legal Zoom cannot provide the clarifying information and craft an intent to use the way that a lawyer can. Adler recommends seeing a lawyer first to provide you with the protection your business will need. He suggests that you: Identify your intangible assets early; Protect your intangible assets through registration and contract and Leverage your intangible assets strategically.
You can find David Adler at Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler and his blog, and on twitter. He also mentioned that Lawyers for the Creative Arts provide legal services for the arts pro bono or at a reduced fee.
Mafia members Michelle (myself) and Maia just got together to make a DIY lightbox for product photos. Maia had recently gotten some good press for her products and wanted a way to take better photos of her items. Normally she uses natural light in a window and snaps some shots of her stuff in front of a white piece of paper with a point-and-shoot camera, but was finding it more and more difficult to get time to take photos while the sun was still out.
As crafty makers, we’re all doing our best to DIY what we can for our online shops, which usually means DIY photography. Professional product photography can be expensive, and most of us want the freedom to be able to snap quick photos of our new stuff often and easily so we can keep creating new stuff for our online shops and get them listed faster. But we also want the photos to look good.
My full time gig is my photo studio, so I worked with Maia to make something she could use to photograph her products quickly and easily, and taught her some tricks to get the most out of her point-and-shoot camera.
First, we stabbed a box. Because this is the Chicago Craft Mafia, and nothing’s more mob-like than a good old fashioned stabbing.
Then we put some pieces of duct tape on the back wall of our new little diorama, so we can attach little fabric backdrops to it with tape, without ruining the cardboard with constant tape removing and reattaching.
Then we taped a small, smoothly ironed piece of fabric to the back, laid another one on the bottom, and placed a bamboo placemat over that for some interesting texture. We put two desk lamps on the sides and shone the light through the white panels, which diffused it into a soft light that filled the whole box.
So we added a third light to the top panel, and moved all 3 lights as far to the front of the box as possible, and the bottle a little further back. For the lights, we used 2 desk lamps and one clamp light from a hardware store. All of the lights had 60 watt CFL bulbs.
Moving the lights around and adding a top light helped to get more light on the front of the bottle.
To prep her camera to take photos in the lightbox, we started by setting the custom white balance on her camera to match the color temperature of the lights. This will tell her camera what color the light is and when it takes photos of the product, the color will be consistent for all photos, which will most closely match the actual colors of the product. To do this for your own camera, put something plain white like a sheet of paper into the box where the product will go. Hold the camera so the only thing in the frame is the white of the paper, and then depending on the camera’s particular settings, set the custom white balance. (Look up how to do it in your camera’s manual. Your camera’s manual is your friend.)
We did this same process for 3 different cameras: Maia’s Canon Powershot 115 ($80), my point-and-shoot- a Canon S95 ($450), and my professional camera- the Canon 5D Mark III ($3,000). Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the photos taken by each camera:
If the photos are going to be posted on Etsy or any other website where they’ll stay small and in web resolution, the results between the cameras are actually pretty comparable. Obviously, the $3,000 camera takes photos that are sharper, clearer, and the zoom lens can better change the shape of the bottle depending on the length of the lens. But the DIY lightbox really made for a setup in which the point-and-shoots can take great-looking photos.
The biggest hurdle with using a small point-and-shoot was tweaking the settings to get the kind of versatility of the big, expensive SLR. This photo is a perfect example of the limitations of the Powershot:
With a black background, the camera’s auto settings tried to average the metering between the light colors and dark colors, and the high amount of contrast threw it off a bit. The blacks aren’t deep black, there’s lots of digital noise/pixelation in the blacks, and the white label loses contrast and kind of… glows or something.
But our experiment with making a DIY lightbox was an overall success- especially since it can fold up nicely and slip behind the couch when we’re not using it.
Guest Speaker: David Adler, Esq. – principal attorney, Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC
Learn the basic differences between copyrights, trademarks and design patents. What do they protect, what don’t they protect, and how does an individual or business obtain them? What can we do, as small businesses, if someone steals a design and replicates it? What sorts of motifs and logos can or cannot be used on handcrafted items for sale? When should crafters create contracts, and what sorts of agreements should an attorney review?
If you’re curious about any of the above questions, or have other legal questions, c’mon over to the Racket! If you’ve got a particularly burning question, please send it to email@example.com by Wednesday, January 15 We’ll try to answer as many questions as we can during the racket, and attendee questions sent ahead of time will take priority.
CRAFT RACKET – Fall, 2013
Tuesday, January 21
6pm – 9pm
Blue Buddha Boutique
1127 W Granville, Chicago, IL (just west of the Granville stop on the Red Line) http://www.bluebuddhaboutique.com
Please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Blue Buddha at 773.478.3767
Keep on crafting!
The Chicago Craft Mafia