Monday, November 30, 2009

Let's talk about Plagiarism

It's a contentious issue for many people - plagiarism and copyright. I've been thinking about it for a few days now... and probably not in the way you might expect. I haven't had anyone plagiarise me, but I have found myself in the position of being the plagiarist (sort of!)... You see, I designed this 50s-inspired pattern with the idea of screen printing it onto fabric. I didn't copy anything, I just sat down one day and started doodling. I guess it was a million vague ideas of what 50s patterning was like that informed the choices I made when drawing it....

And then.... the other day I found these original 1950s fabric designs. I solemnly swear I had never seen them before that. As you can imagine, my heart went into my throat! I really loved my 50s design; was so proud of it and looking forward to screen printing it, but now it just feels like copied work...

(top) Marion Mahler, furnishing fabric, 1952.
(bottom) Lucienne Day, Perpetua, furnishing fabric, 1953.

... but it isn't.

And then, as if the heavens were prodding me to think more on this issue I came across this amazing quote by Jim Jarmusch (below), Nothing is Original. Now there was a provocative idea! I could see the sense in it. Yeah! It's not where you take it from, it's where you take it to!... then I heard a little voice in my mind "But I didn't take it!"... Hmm, yes well.... and I do think it matters that you take something in the first place, that is if you take it mindfully.

So, there's one issue - you may not consciously take an idea. Is it that some things are just in the collective ether? I guess it's more understandable with something vintage like the 50s fabric. Surely, it's been circulating and re-interpreted for a while now, and things do have a way of resurfacing unconsciously perhaps...? I think this is a very different issue to be inspired by something and reinterpreting it yourself, as along as you acknowledge your inspiration.

However, the heavens weren't finished with me... I then bought the latest issue of Textile magazine, and reading through found an article by Stacey Apeitos entitled Protecting Your Artwork Online. Here was a different take on a parallel issue about fears of one's work being copied. What Apeitos was saying was basically that ideas cannot be copyrighted but your artwork is your own until you sign away the copyright. She then goes on to give a lot of fabulous advice on how to better protect your copyright. You can download the PDF of the first part of the article here and/or visit the Textile magazine website here to arrange a subscription.

Anyway, I found it interesting that Apeitos decided to end her article with some quotes, one of which by Paul Gauguin was "Art is either plagiarism or revolution." So, once again I found myself back to the 'nothing is original' idea... it appears not even Jarmusch's idea is either! ;)

So, where does all of this leave me...? I think the exchange of ideas is what feeds a lot of the creative process and that we all do it whether we realise it or not. I think being inspired by someone else's work and having a go at your own piece is absolutely okay, as long as you acknowledge your inspiration. But as for my spooky channeling of the ghosts of designers past... I have absolutely no idea...! ;)

Anyway, I'd really love to know if this has ever happened to you too. Have you designed something and then later seen it's already been done? Do you think it's true that there is no such thing as an original idea? I'm really interested to hear your stories or thoughts about this. Thanks :)

p.s. If you're curious about those mentioned above, you can find Stacey Apeitos' website here and she has a Felting blog here and a Web Savvy Artists blog here. Jim Jarmusch is a director and this quote came from an interview he did with Moviemaker magazine in 2004, which you can find here. You can find out more about him here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Inspiration: Vintage Smalls

I've just been web-gliding and have come across the most fabulous children's clothes collections. Made in Antwerp (of course! just about everything I love these days comes from there!) by Atelier Assemblé from original fabrics and accessories from the 1950s to the 1980s. They are purchased from stocks in old fabric stores and so all the collections consist of limited editions. The bad news (for someone like me with older kids!) is these collections are only for children aged 2 to 10 years. What a wonderful idea though, and such fresh sumptuous photograph by Anoek Luyten :) View their collections here, or if you're lucky enough to live on that side of the world there's a list of stockists here.

Okay, I can't resist... here are some more! I just love these photos.

Found via here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Creative Space - Completing PiFs

I'm playing along with Kirsty's My Creative Space today. To join in or to have a peek at other creative spaces pop over to Kootoyoo.

Earlier in the year I signed up for a Pay It Forward (PiF) and received some gorgeous crochet goodies from Crafty Rie. The deal was that I had to then Pay it Forward to others and some brave souls signed up, not realising that it would be nearly xmas before they received their goodies... sorry guys. But I can tell you now that 5 out of my 7 PiF* goodies are in the post! Hand-printed and hand-stitched felt brooches.... PiF completed :)

*Two of my PiF people have not responded to emails or messages left on their blogs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy 3 Giveaway!

I'm joining in Pip's 3rd blog birthday celebrations with a 3 Sheets giveaway. Three different crafty goodies all for you if you leave a comment below to go into the random draw :) Firstly, crochet goodness - my lovely friend Sarah bought me one of these packs and I love it so much I've bought another one to share the love. It has (as it says) 101 different stitches, flower patterns and granny squares to crochet. Secondly, there is the fabulous Victoria & Albert Museum's 50s patterns book - full of many inspirational fabric designs from the 1950s. And thirdly, 3 meters of Michael Miller fabric stash - 2 m of "Carnival Bloom" and 1 m of "Lovely Lighting". Just leave a comment below, and if you haven't already, don't forget to pop over to Meet Me at Mike's to wish Pip a happy blog-birthday :)

Winner drawn 3rd December. Don't forget to leave your email address!

Art Exchange

Do you remember the collage I made for the Art Exchange a week or so ago? Well, I sent off my piece, happy to do so but not really expecting the promised pieces to come back in return... not in a mean way - I was happy to give it a go, but these things have a way of getting derailed, don't they? So, I think I must have just put it out of my mind... Sooo, when some packages arrived in the post yesterday I was wracking my brain thinking... I didn't buy anything off this person; I've never heard of them! ;) Now, before I lead you too far astray... only the last two images are from the art exchange... the last one is of some cards sent by Stephanie from Olive and Ruby on Etsy, and the one above it is an artwork by Jennifer from Field and Sea on Etsy. Aren't they just gorgeous? We're supposed to get 36 artworks back in this exchange (not entirely sure how that maths works but anyway...) I'm just so chuffed that two have found their way here! So, big thanks to Stephanie and Jennifer :)
Now, the images at the top of this post are actually something I bought (and forgot about!) So many things happening around here I'm surprised I remember anything. ;) These are the fabulous work of Brooklyn-based artist Jackie Bos. Aren't they fabulous? Visit her Etsy haven here :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inspiration: Aprile Elcich

I love the work of Toronto-based artist Aprile Elcich - it's just spectacularly original, fresh and thought-provoking. Her latest collage pieces are actually for an assignment on art and psychology, where Elcich has explored the vulnerability of mental illness. Visit Elcich's post about this work "When Skies are Gray" on her blog here. She also has a shop here and here. The photography used in the collages is the work of Bill Durgin.

Vote for Rebecca!

If you don't already know the lovely Rebecca from Edward & Lilly blog, I hope you'll pop over there and say hi to one of the most wonderful bloggers there is. Also, have a peek at her fabulous Christmas decoration doves. But most importantly, I hope you'll join me in voting for her on the Etsy Christmas Decoration Vote. I think she deserves to win. Help her along? Vote here!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fashion Forward: Calvin

I'm playing along with Clair's meme "Fashion Forward" this week. To join in visit Obstinate Pursuit here.

Yes, it's Calvin Klein... The stuff of dreams, but oh what lovely dreams! When I first saw the top dress I felt as if I'd never again find a frock so divine. I've been busily daydreaming about how to make myself a similar one in navy or black... that's allowed for personal use isn't it? I hope so because I think it is perfection. The other frocks are gorgeous too but more for the incredible fabric designer Francisco Costa has used. It's like a tie-dyed seersucker, don't you think? My fingers keeping moving whenever I look at it, just itching to touch and feel that texture. I do so love a frock dream :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Everyday beauty

Making dance concert costumes... trimming fringing on the step ladder.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Creative Space: 24 Hour Party People

Oh my, it's been a very BIG 24 hours here! Yesterday morning, a most wonderful present arrived from the wonderful Mitsy of Art Mind. I was undoing the layers of divine packaging with exclamations of delight and disbelief at how incredibly generous she is. Suddenly, I remembered that I should be taking photos of these goodies before I devoured all the chocolate etc ;) Mitsy had a giveaway (inspired by Lisa from The Red Thread) where she decided to send a thank you gift to the 3 people who commented most on her blog... and I was lucky enough to be one of them. I certainly wasn't expecting so many goodies - isn't she just so lovely?

Look at these divine ceramic pieces with Mitsy's trademark Matryoshka dolls - all with a gorgeous crackle glaze on them. Another flower piece she has put in one of her handmade boxes - did you catch her tutorial on how to make these? Have a peek here.

There were many yummy chocolates... sadly all gone now!

Totally amazing craft supplies, including some crochet cotton... *in love*... felt that Mitsy had dyed herself and some handmade felted coasters with instructions about how to do it myself... *bliss*

And two surprise packages for my girls who got to open them yesterday afternoon and they just love them, Mitsy - thank you so much! Thank you so much for everything Mitsy - I am just blown away by how very lovely you are :)

But wait! There's more... I was just about to blog about this gorgeous girl when another amazing thing happened... My friend from Chicago was suddenly at my doorstep! Surprise! Oh my, it's been 24 hours of partying around here people! Sarah has left now but it's been a big day and a big night, meticulously planned by Sarah and my hubby to my total ignorance, but oh we've had some fun! To say I'm a tad delicate this morning would be an understatement! ;)

So, my creative space? Well, that happened before yesterday obviously! I made my embroidered doily into a brooch.

Find more creative spaces (hopefully smaller ones!) at Kirsty's at Kootoyoo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Thread Text

...a design studio in Singapore who also have a little cafe where they decided to embroider the menus...

...hand embroidered canvas books as a record of co-incidence...

...Brooklyn textile designer and visual artist who runs 30 miles a week...

...Etsian with an idea so fabulous she's closed till 2010 so she can actually complete all the orders she has...

...multi-uber-artist of many mediums who decided to embroider 20 random love messages...

It's funny how sometimes when you're not even looking for more wonderment, it finds you anyway :)