Alright, I'm going to go off on a tangent here and talk about Jewelry Design and Copyright. A few days ago I was searching around on Craigslist in the Artists section when I saw an add for a Jewelry Designer who was looking for a place to show her work. I click on it to read more, and it has some pictures of her 'work'. One of these items was a necklace that I recognized from one of the popular bead magazines a while back (I can't remember if it was Beadwork or Bead&Button Magazine), so I look at the name of the 'designer', and it's definately not the name I remember going with this particular woven necklace. I file it into the back of my mind to look at my back issues of magazines and find which one this necklace came out of. A couple of days go by, and I'm showing for the weekend at a little gallery (this particular gallery has this wonderful idea to show a different jewelry artisan every week to get their names out and offer something new to their clientelle, which I think is a grand idea), and a couple of the future artisans come in to talk to the owner and cement their own weekends...nothing out of the ordinary....until the Necklace walks in! You guessed it! The necklace from Craigslist walks in to talk to the owner. The 'designer' takes out her 'work' and I say "Did you get this out of a magazine?" to which she replies "Oh, yeah! It's nice huh?". So I point out to her that it's illegal to re-create for profit any item from any of the bead magazines I know of without permission from the original designer, to which she replies "But some of these are a little different than the one in the magazine, and they're a different color". Let me get one thing straight people: It's the pattern that's copyrighted not the color! I cannot stress this enough. And as far as those of you who think that 'If I change it 30%, then it becomes mine'...Newsflash! If you have to actually sit down and think of how much to change something to make it yours, then you're not a DESIGNER, you're a thief! You can take the Wizard of Oz, make the TinMan Copper, turn Toto white, and call it The Long Yellow Road, but the story is still the same, and this is Copyright Infringement! These people that come up with the ORIGINAL ideas work so hard to come up with the designs. They spend hours perfecting the designs, and writing the instructions, and taking the photos (which is less than an easy task with Jewelry in particular...damn Swarovski Shine!) And if you, even for one second, think that it's okay to steal their genious to make a few bucks without even giving them the courtesy of a letter to ask permission, then you're not only immoral, you're cruel. Many of them do this for a living; they feed their children with it, pay their mortgage and car payments with it, and generally LIVE on it.
What kills me most is that in every one of these same bead magazines that people are stealing from there is a disclaimer a few pages in that clearly states that the items represented in the magazine are for your PERSONAL use only, and that teaching, or selling the items without express permission from the designers is against the law. Not to mention that these same magazines, from time to time, put out a whole issue dedicated to informing their general public about copyright infringement. The problem is that many people think that this rule doesn't apply to them...they're only selling a few, so what's the harm? Well, you're the people that they rule DOES apply to, so pay attention.
In closing, I would like to say that there's nothing wrong with being inspired by another Artisan. I have long followed the work of Sherry Serafini, Laura McCabe, and Met Innmon, and have been inspired by certain aspects of all of their work, but when you look at my work, you don't see them, you see me. To those of you out there who have, all along, been creating your own work, I ask you to keep doing what you're doing, and to keep an eye out for those persons blatantly stealing from your favorite designers. For those of you who have been doing what I've just written about, I ask you to please stop and think about the consequences of your actions. They say that immitation is the sincerest form of flattery , but when you're trying to pay your bills, people taking money for their immitation hurts worse than anything; especially in this economy...
Off my soap box.