Recently I saw that a friend’s beautiful metal artistry had been copied and sold as an original. Her shop creates the most stunning designs of wall decor, standing art and business signs. She was devastated by this blatant act and contacted the individual. To her amazement, she was told that a few changes to the original design had been made and it was now their artwork and sellable. A similar situation was repeated a few weeks ago by a friend in one of my Facebook groups. Her original drawing and artwork was literally stolen off the net and claimed as their own. She was able to get this resolved quickly. In my opinion, these are desperate thieves who lack creativity of their own and stoop to robbing others of their livelihood.
These are just a few instances of artists’ hard work and imagination having been stolen. I have an Etsy shop and noticed many ideas being duplicated and sold without compunction. The term original is now interchangeable with enhancing, embellishing and reworking the piece to claim it as their own design. They steal the idea, make a few adjustments and then cheapen the cost to sell their replica to customers as an original. A recent Etsy policy now allows sellers to add adornments to retail items and call it handmade. Somehow I don’t see that as “original”. That’s a blog post for another day.
In the fiber community, it is true that there are basic knit and crochet stitches which become beautiful products. The originality comes from taking those few stitches and creating a one of a kind masterpiece. When I sit down and design a new headband pattern, I let my fingers work the yarn and write down each row in the event it’s a “keeper”. It’s automatically recorded in my pattern journal, date it and sometimes draw a picture of it even though I may not market it. But I know it’s my design for shopladylike.
A few years ago, I was contacted by a lady who wanted to buy one of my headband pattern designs pictured above and make it for all her friends. Since I don’t sell any written patterns in my shop, I declined her offer. Yes, I was happy that she loved it so much that she wanted to make some herself. She didn’t want to buy one of the headbands, just the pattern that took me many hours and mistakes to perfect. But I’m in the business of selling my finished products, not my designs.
I’m sure that we all have similar stories. There’s so much elation and excitement in being an original! Why would you want to be a copy? I hear that being copied can be considered a form of flattery, but is it really?