Copyright - oh it's a story beat to death but a very real issue all artists face. The better your work the more likely you are to face it.
We all learn by imitating what we see.
We all learn by imitating that which we find to be to our liking.
I keep an inspiration folder, filled with jewelry pieces of designs I love, artists I admire, some with intricacies I hope to master myself and some in mediums I have no intention of ever mastering but the work just awes me. I find inspiration in the graceful lines, the clean designs, the color combinations used, layering of techniques and just the sheer mastery of technique.
I aspire to be as good, to surpass. While these pieces inspire me to constantly do better, to master my craft, the thought never occurred to me to outright copy them. It is in my nature to create my own, to have my personality stamped upon it.
It is because of this that I struggle with the idea of selling a creation I have made after using a tutorial to learn a technique from some one else. If I follow the directions I learn the technique and make their design. If I don't follow the directions I haven't learned the technique I was after. It normally takes a couple attempts to really get the technique down. I recently bought a tutorial from my friend Bobbi of My Wired Imagination. http://www.mywiredimagination.etsy.com My oldest daughter fell in love with the design and so I made that ring for her birthday. It took a couple attempts to consistently produce not just the pattern but the correct size - but who needs five of the same ring? Not me!
So the rings have sat here for several months while I went back and forth as to whether I would allow myself to sell someone else's design. I looked at the descriptions of others work, those that I recognized as having come from tutorials, books and magazines, and some I recognized as copies of other artists work, some of those artists whose work is being copied are friends and acquaintances of mine. Surprisingly, not one of them, mentions the fact that it is someone else's design. My ring, my design, my this, my that. hmmm. Why? I suppose it's human nature to claim one's work as exclusive and you never see department store - manufactured jewelry - with an inspirational credit. Business is business right? Well, no, not really.
One of the best parts of buying hand made, hand crafted items, is the story behind it. The inspiration, the learning process, the person behind it, is what makes it unique - that story is what makes a hand crafted piece personal. Giving credit does not take away from the piece but instead adds value. I want my creations to have value, to have a story, a history. So if after hours of contemplating the beauty of one of Erin Patton's, Evra Och's or Iza Malczyk's pieces inspires me to create I'll say so. If I've made a piece using a tutorial I'll give credit to the designer. It will after all still have my personality stamped on it, hand crafted by me, and it will have a history, a story to tell.
'Til next time!