On the lampwork boards, there has been a growing concern with the issue of copying, both by SRAs (Self Representing Artists) and also by Chinese companies. This is further aggravated by the plethora of tutorials that are currently on the market.
This is my blog/set of facebook notes, so let me just say that I think its within my rights to get on the soap box here. If you don’t want to read this, just close this window and step away from the beadweaver.
As a writer and seller of tutorials and patterns, I have always assumed that the items I teach will be copied and even sold by my students. I only ask my students to not outright say that the piece is designed by them (although c’mon – how many people buy a handmade piece of jewelry and assume it is designed by someone other than the person selling it)?
However, imagine my shock to find that something really super similar to one of my larger pieces was recently entered into a national contest.
Now, granted that its a big piece, but probably not one of my most creative pieces. Its made of a set of cabochons which are cut to fit together, so it seems sort of obvious that they would be set together in the finished collarpiece. Likewise, once you set them, there is a space in the center which just “begs” for a round section to be added and then the whole thing rather does look like a bug. But, I promoted this piece for the Etsy Beadweaver’s July challenge (information below) and I really believe that just because a piece is straighforward, there’s no real reason to go out of your way to copy it. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that the challenges are well enough promoted that in this particular case there was not a “whoops, I came up with the same design” sort of thing.
That said, below is the blurb I took off the Bead & Button site regarding beader’s ethics, and below that is a little more information on my piece, which was made and entered in the July Etsy Beadweavers’ Challenge.
Mindy Brooks Editor, Bead&Button
When, if ever, is it acceptable to sell or teach another person’s designs? That’s a question we hear frequently at Bead&Button, and it tells us that many of our readers care about the ethical and legal issues involved when it comes to the money-making aspects of beading. Unfortunately, we also have firsthand experience with beading’s darker side – the dishonest few who cause heartache and financial harm by cashing in on another person’s original work. And when unethical people profit from ideas that don’t belong to them, it hurts us all.
Maybe it was inevitable that as beading became more popular, people would look for shortcuts to exploit the growing number of lucrative opportunities, and maybe there is nothing one editor or one editorial can do to change that. So, it’s gratifying to know that my concerns about the ethics of beading are shared by the editors of other beading magazines, including Cathy Jakicic of BeadStyle, Marlene Blessing of Beadwork, Pamela Hawkins of BeadUnique, and Leslie Rogalski of Step by Step Beads. They will also be covering this topic in upcoming issues of their publications. To address the question presented at the start of this editorial, Bead&Button’s position on copying designs is as follows:
1. It is unethical to copy an artist’s work to sell without the artist’s permission.
2. It is unethical to copy any work that has appeared in a magazine, book, or website and represent it in any venue as an original design.
3. It is unethical to teach a beading project that has appeared in a magazine, book, or website without the artist’s permission.
4. It is unethical to teach a beading project learned in another teacher’s class without the teacher’s permission. If you agree, please help disseminate this message by including a copy of these statements with your class materials, your kits, and the pieces you sell.
Asian Moss and rock gardens always give me the feeling that I’ve stumbled into my own private little world. They have the tiniest little details, the most wonderful textures, the softest greens and browns. This necklace, although enormous, is my version of these secret gardens. It also sort of looks like a butterfly to me.
Pendant section is 5.5″ x 4″ NOT including the fringe. The fringe is 3″ long at the longest point. Chain is 16″ long, but hangs like a 20″ necklace because of the width of the pendant. Serpentine Jade, Czech & Japanese Glass, Moukite and an unidentified set of green semiprecious cabochons. I think they might be dyed howlite, but I absolutely adore them. Antique Chinese coins with a green patina surface.
This necklace was created for the July Etsy Beadweaver’s Challenge. Ileana picked our July theme. She writes:
I am obsessing with beautiful flowers, magical gardens, sunny landscapes. Every artist has a secret garden, real or imaginary. I am inviting you to stir up your imagination and to introduce your own secret garden to us.
- Auntie’s Beads $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway (beadinggem.com)
- Give Credit ReDux (Haute Ice Beadworks)