Well, here I am, writing about something I've never written about before and told myself I wouldn't write about. So much has been said about copyright and every time it pops up on a blog it causes quite a kerfluffle. That's not my intention here (although, I do like that word a lot...kerfluffle, kerfluffle) but I felt it was time to weigh in. Actually, I had read an Editor's letter by Hazel Wheaton, Editor of Art Jewelry Magazine, back in August and wanted to re-print it here (with permission, of course!) I hope you find it as helpful as I did.
Art Jewelry Newsletter
|August 24, 2010|
My personal take on the issue is basically the same. I love to be generous with what I know...I love to teach. I love my students. I teach my classes, knowing full well that my students will want to repeat what they learn. And, I'm ok with that. Having said that, my desire for my students is to inspire them to take what they learn from me and make it their own. I believe that artists do themselves a disservice by not expressing their own talents, in their own voices.
Good teachers inspire students to greater heights. They pour their hearts and souls into furthering their art by sharing. Developing fresh classes and material is hard work...blood, sweat and tears! Most instructors, me included, hold our teaching concepts near and dear to our hearts. For me, sending my ideas or designs out into the world is like sending my children out...I hope people will love and respect them. What I'm getting at is this: class concepts and material are the artistic property of the instructor. It's not ok to teach another instructor's material. Unique and original designs and class concepts are protected by copyright; some common techniques are not. Let me show you what I mean. In the jewelry making world, jump ring making is a very common technique, as Hazel said in her letter, not really subject to copyright:
However, a unique design like the following, is certainly subject to copyright and off limits:
I rarely watch television, but one of my favorite shows is "What Not to Wear." It may seem frivolous at first...clothes, make-up, fashion...but in reality, it's all about realizing one's full potential...expressing the inner soul…the inner "you." The transformations and expressions of inner creativity are truly amazing. It reminds me a little of our journey as artists; we may start out looking like the rest of the pack but then, through learning, practice and self-awareness, our uniquely beautiful, artistic personality emerges and is, unmistakably, our own.
Along the way, as artists, here is...
What Not To Do:
- Don't sell yourself short...By relying on someone else's designs. Whether it's in art-making or designing a class to teach, use your own talents, designs and ideas. Honor yourself and your talent by being original. Realize your full potential by offering your customers and students...you.
- Risk your artistic reputation...The art community can be very tight-knit. Other artists, including students and customers, will notice if your work is not your own.
- Stifle your creative voice...As an artist, you have something to say! Say it in loudly and clearly in your own voice. Express the inner "you." When you put your soul and voice into your work, it shows.
- Limit yourself...Allow yourself to practice and express your own, original ideas. Simply mimicking the work of others limits you and your skills. Use tried and true techniques in new ways. Be inventive!
- Allow others to mistake your work for someone else's...The last thing any artist wants is for someone to mistake their work for that of another artist. Show everyone who you are by letting your unique style shine.
- Forget the golden rule...Think about how you would feel if the tables were turned. If you wouldn't like it done to you, don't do it!
Do: Allow that transformation to take place and release the original artistic voice within...you won't regret it!