I have been avoiding the subject of copying for a long time, but today I saw something that made me sad so I decided to write down my thoughts on the matter. First I want to clarify that I am a giving, positive nature and that I love to inspire. That is one of the reasons why I blog! When I first started sewing I always used a pattern and was very inspired by other people's work. Slowly I got more confident and discovered areas and materials that felt like my own. One big find was fusible webbing, another was that my naive drawings transformed into appliqué looked great and that using black thread and raw edges around the appliqué felt like me.
One of my first art quilts.
This was a process that took time, it takes time to find your own expression as an artist and I am still learning and developing every day. When I see work inspired by my own work I get very flattered, especially when people give me credit for it, that just prooves to me that I have come somewhere as an artist. If you have a style that can be copied it must mean that you actually have a distinctive style! That said I know that many of my designs are very simple and easy to make you own version of, which is very much allowed, of course. And like everyone else I am inspired by current trends. My most loved design among other crafters must be the stuffed house ornament, I made the first ones for Christmas 2007 and I think I do not brag very much if I said that I started a soft house trend :) I once looked at my stats on flickr and found that one visitor had come from a US blog where someone who had bought a set of soft houses at a local fair was asking for tips on how to display them in her home. They were the exact same design as mine, except that the fabric choice was nothing I would have thought of and the craftmanship, hm... Anyway someone suggested she would put them in a row like this, and linked to my picture, the one you see below. Well, that incident mostly made me laugh, but also shows how small the world have become with the Internet, when you see something nice on the Internet and you copy it to sell it in a local market, the world might still know :)
What makes me sad is when I see the same person coming back to mark my photos as favourites on flickr without ever living a comment and then finds that she is selling stuff very much inspired by my work in her own shop. What makes me mad is when someone contacts me to ask for crafty advice, then opens up a shop to sell craft inspired by my work and never gets back to me to say thanks! I would like these people to know that I have left my career at the university to work full-time as a crafter. I am working hard to get a fair income (not knowing if it's possible yet) and to support my family. In other words I am not a person I would feel comfortable stealing from myself ;)
Aah, that helped! Thanks for listening! Thank you blog readers for being encouraging, honest and wonderful!