I received a few very nice emails about my Be Original post and one negative email. I just wanted to be clear about something.
When I said, “Think of the time and effort the artist dedicated to developing a new idea, the love put into the creative process, and the joy they felt when they created something entirely unique to their style. Then think of how it would feel for someone to come along and think “Hey-that’s a great idea, why didn’t I think of that!” then copy it to sell to their own market.” I was talking about art beads.
When I said, “Copying is the ultimate example of a lack of creativity, imagination and awareness of the time, energy and talent that went into the creation of the original. Copying is a massive issue in the handmade world and is dangerous for all of us. It creates an atmosphere of distrust and unhealthy competition.” I was talking about art beads.
When I said, “It is a shortcut to doing the actual work of taking an idea and making it your own. It is also highly unethical.” I was talking about art beads.
You make it your own by the art beads you buy, the beads you use with it and the care and execution that went into it. Not the design itself. There is nothing new in design or technique, but that’s not true for art beads. That’s a whole different thing. For me it is something that starts as an idea, goes down in my sketch book over and over again until is looks perfect. Then I have to figure out, “can I make this into an actual piece and how?” If you’re a bead-maker in any medium you know those steps are only the beginning of the thought process and a whole-lot-a trial and error.
But for some it seems easier to copy a style or idea that works than try something that might miss the mark or outright fail. I don’t know how people can do that and feel good about it. We are losing our creative personalities.
Creativity is not purely an inborn trait—we all have the potential to be more creative. The challenge is in knowing how to tap into it. Creativity is problem solving—showing ingenuity by looking at things in fresh ways.
This search for convenience and shortcuts often leads to searching for inspiration instead of fueling creativity through exploration and trial and error. The mentality that says “answers and solutions are just a few clicks away” cheapens the creative process as a whole. My creative process.
What is beautiful and unique to me when I see most jewelry with art beads is this. That person supported another bead artist with their hard earned money, took the time out to make something (we all have art beads that have been sitting around for years, not cool), took beautiful photo’s, loaded them up to their computer to edit them, wrote and published a blog post and posted on Facebook. That is what goes through my head and what I see. Not that the design has been done before.
I don’t give a crap about my jewelry being copied. I have many original designs and techniques (one will be published soon), but if you want to copy them, have at it. If you don’t credit me, I don’t care because I don’t have time to police it. But DON’T copy my art beads. As far as jewelry design goes everything is derivative, EVERYTHING and it’s all fair game and open to interpretation. Especially if it has been published, tutorial or class…and it’s all been published in one way or another. Where I draw the line is someone peddling the actual tutorial or class off as their own and profiting from it.Jeannie is a graduate of St. Paul Collage of Visual Arts, accomplished mixed media artist and published jewelry designer. She is the originator of the Echo Creative Team and of the Do Over Challenge. When she is not creating art, she helps people live happy, healthy lives.