Thursday, March 12, 2009

I’m going out on a limb…..

When I say that, as can be seen from the recent worldwide economic collapse, protectionism doesn’t serve us well.

I believe that sharing is much more sustaining within the artistic community than protectionism.

That’s why none of my photos have copyright stamps embedded in them and I share my ideas freely.

No I don’t believe that anyone should go out and make an exact replica of my work and then claim it as their own.  But if they change any element what so ever and by doing so make it their own….. bless them.  Should they give me credit for the idea…. maybe ……..but I’m not all worried about it.

I just received yet another letter in which someone shares with me their great idea for a felting project but asks me to “keep it a secret” because they don’t want others to steal their idea.

Usually these letters include some form of request for my help in sharing techniques or advice for bringing said project to fruition.

What hubris!

I always answer the technical questions – usually in a post – because if someone is asking there’s probably someone else out there who wants to know too.

But felters let us all please realize

There is nothing new under the sun.

Whenever this happens I am always reminded of the quilter whose course on tessellation I attended years ago.  The course began with a long stern lecture about the evils of stealing intellectual property. I even had to sign a waiver promising not to use her patterns for other than personal use and to give her credit for the design if I were to enter said quilt in any competitions. 

Then she passed out the choices of patterns…….all direct rip offs of the works of Escher.

I rest my case.

I’m off my soapbox.

Feel free to get on yours!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Julia (
I agree with you. And the interesting thing is, two people can do the exact same technique (or try to make the exact same project) and end up with completely different results! We're each the unique variable, and isn't that great!
March 12, 2009, 6:49:31 PM

Helen + ilana = Hi (
Thanks for the comment. I was a bit worried about this post -- been blasted for this opinion before but sometimes you just have to speak up don't you! I popped over to your studio to see what was behind the door by the way..... very nice!
March 15, 2009, 4:51:30 PM

Julia (
Thanks for stopping by the studio! I know that some people feel protective
about their ideas, and I can understand that, but really a community of
artists is so much more useful when people are open and supportive of each
other. Someone who learns from your idea might just turn around and give you
an inspiration when you need it most! I think you are absolutely right, so
just ignore the naysayers!
March 16, 2009, 9:49:27 AM

Guest (
Beautifully said and soooooooooooo right!
March 12, 2009, 8:02:34 PM

Helen + ilana = Hi (
Shalom Suzanne. Thanks for the support! I left an idea over on your blog. Looking forward to little lamb photos too.
March 15, 2009, 5:00:06 PM

Martine (
Just what I was thinking the other day: I was thinking about how labyrinth patterns would make excellent knitting designs, went looking for some pictures and found a website that had taken designs of Church labyrinths and wanted to charge people to use them. Everyone gets their inspiration from somewhere, we just should be more honest about it. I love looking at other people's work, and though I might think, I would love to make something so beautiful it doens't mean I want to make something the same. I think if someone copies you directly, in creative terms, it is their loss not yours.
March 18, 2009, 12:56:58 PM

Helen + ilana = Hi (
That website sounds pretty cheeky to me! I bet they are using the argument that the actual labyrinths are in the 'public domain' whilst their designs are 'intellectual property'. Mind you there is something in having worked out the actual stitches needed to reproduce the labyrinths in wool. I can see charging for the pattern on the basis that you, the customer, are paying for not having to do that bit yourself. I mean that's why I buy patterns for things like argyle sock or a complex sweater. The question can murky can't it!
March 18, 2009, 2:38:24 PM