Wednesday, April 3, 2013

93/365 and some thoughts on inspiration

I posted this yesterday on my InstaGram.  I discovered quite by accident someone who had copied a design of mine and are now selling it in their shop.  Of course there a subtle changes, it's a hand stamped design so it can't be completely duplicated because this person doesn't have the same stamps I do, but none the less the design is the same.

There is a "instajewelry" group on InstaGram.  From what I gather, they are all fairly new to metalsmithing and seem like a nice little group who supports eachother in their work.  A bunch of them started following me, and I followed back.  All these trails criss crossing all over the internet reaching all over the world.  This one gal in particular who copied my ring design also has another ring design in her shop that is exactly like a ring that another girl in the instajewelry group makes.  I recognized it right away. 

Again, a simple design that anyone could have come up with but this ring is exactly the same and I find it hard to believe that it isn't a copy. 

I do want to be very careful in calling anyone a copycat.  I've been accused once of "waltzing in and snapping up my expression" from someone.  It is virtually impossible to look into someone's heart and mind and know for a fact that they are copying you.  I've said before and I'll say again that the use of a technique, or tool, or commercial findings does not constitute copying.  It is in the way that you apply these things where the copying comes in. 

I am a lucky girl to be supported by colleagues.  These ladies all know what it's like.  They've all been down the road before.  Some more than others.  Jess of RosyRevolver has and continues to be an advocate for education on the subject.  I admire her for taking a stand.  I know it can't be easy knowing she's probably going to get some flack for it.  But the truth is I see people who I just feel are copying her work.  It's really quite obvious.  Take her new spinner rings.  They're really kick ass right?  She has taken the spinner ring to a new level.  And here come the copies..... Please don't fool yourself by thinking because the ring you made  doesn't spin that you're not copying her design.  If it's got a textured wide band flared, with an outer ring in a patterned wire with a stone it's the same design.  Maybe you couldn't figure out how to make it spin.  Maybe you thought if you didn't make it spin it wasn't a copy.  It's still a copy. 

Really Jess could continue on her merry way and not say another word about copying.  She is an amazing designer who will always continue to innovate and design way ahead of the pack.  She will always be successful because her work is authentic to herself.  And there will always be people who will copy her work.  It's sad.  I'm proud of her for taking a stand.  For letting makers know it's not okay to reach into her soul and take something from her. 

I will admit, and I'm pretty sure I've said here before that she is the only designer I had trouble not wanting to copy in my earliest days.  Her use of texture and design is amazing.  Do you know how I satisfied my urge to own a piece of it?  I started buying her work, and I wear it proudly.  Probably just as often if not more so than my own work.  And now whenever I feel that desire again from another maker's work.  I buy it.  Not to copy it.  But to wear the beauty that was created from the heart and soul of it's maker. 

Before this all came up, I've been thinking of tuning out for awhile.  Not following blogs, FB pages, Twitter, Flickr.....of other makers.  Not because I'm worried about copying, but because I have so  many ideas of things I want to make I can't get them out fast enough.  And more than once in the past month or so, someone has beat me to my idea.  Of course they wouldn't have been identical, but I'm talking in generalities.  I hate the feeling of thinking that I can't make that certain piece now because so and so already did and I'd look like a copycat.  I think it would be nice to say I had no idea that so and so had made a piece that was very similar to something I had just made. 

The world of jewelry makers on Etsy is really smaller than you think it is.  If you post a picture of your work on any social media site, you are of course hoping to draw in buyers.  It is far closer to the truth that your work is seen by one or two potential buyers and the other 20 or so views are from other makers.  It's a double edge sword that I'm afraid has to be accepted if I want to continue selling online. 

At any rate, go check out Jess's blog and read her words.  For me, they are words to live by.  
Excuse me if I'm quiet for awhile.  Right now I just want to get lost in my own work.


  1. Amy this post is brutally honest, and so wonderful! ( even though the situation is terrible) Im so sorry this happened to you, as you say this social media world is a double edged sword. That feeling of "now I can't make it because someone else did" is something happening to me right now. It feels so crazy to have an idea and maybe even start work on it, only to find someone else put it out there...It has a heart sinking effect. No copy can take away from the beauty you create with your hands...keep on keepin' on and try like heck to not let it get you down! YOU made something so wonderful, and nobody can duplicate YOUR vision! Sending mucho aloha from the other side of the ocean!

    1. Thank you Sierra! I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling like I've been beat to the finish line. :) I am going to keep making because it is what I love to do. I amaze even myself with how far I have come and luckily the sucky situations are few and far between. It seems this subject comes up once a year. I think a lot of it is just plain ignorance. People are trained by the craft movement to make things from tutorials or something they've seen in a magazine and not even thinking twice that someone designed it. Yes there is skill in making it, but there is also skill in the design itself! Let's keep fighting the good fight shall we? :)

  2. I had this come up a few weeks ago where I was approached by an artist saying someone had emailed her to say I was copying! I wasn't, I hadn't seen her shop, or her facebook page (if she even has one, but the idea came which I think anyone who has worked with metal or wire would and could (and I know from looking afterwards on Etsy I found at least another 6 sellers making this design) have worked this out. I backed down gracefully as the artist was so nice about it and haven't continued with the design (found out since it was featured a couple of years ago in one of the jewellery making magazines) But I hate that other artists think I did copy it ~ I work hard trying to keep my designs mine (so that people can look and know its came from me!) sometimes there is that overlap (we laugh on our team sometimes that all our muses are spending too much time drinking coffee together) and its like more that one artist has had a similar design thought, maybe its fashion, season colours or something else. The important thing is knowing it came from your heart and soul ;)x