Sunday, January 29

plagiarism, part 2.

I'd like to say everything is fine and I am comfortable enough with the quality of my work and my ideas that someone copying them--often exactly--doesn't bother me. But it does. And it bothers me that this person goes beyond copying just my work.

It makes me feel I can't be honest here. Can't post photos of work in progress. Can't tell you what I'm working on, excited about--because there's precedent for my projects being swiped right out from under me.

So I'm going to reconsider for a couple of days. In the end, there's nothing I can do about this: my ideas are out there, and so in some ways they're fair game. In the end, it comes down to craftsmanship and material quality.

In an essay ("The Work of Art in the Age of Manual Reproduction"--can't recall the author) I read for printmaking last semester, there was a bit about how all artists copy; that is how we learn. But the true 'art' or work comes after the artist leaves off copying and develops an authentic response to stimuli. I think a lot about the idea of the authentic response. How to incorporate all the things I see & like--how to make those things authentic to my vision, my aesthetic, and not just make them to make them. I'm especially wary of making things "because they'll sell," rather than because they are a fitting expression of the feeling I'm trying to create through my work as a whole.

The photo is what I see when I sit at my drawing/work table.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It saddens me to read yet again about copying of other people's work. But I think it is one of the negatives about the internet and the "need" to come up with something that the person can sell. People seem desparate these days to make money on the internet and perhaps they feel that by copying they can increase their sales because they don't have to think.

I'm one of the "older" readers who grew up with no web and few books that "told" us how to do things. Most of the time we came up with our own way to make something.

I was just reading about Cezanne this weekend (a huge exhibit opening in DC) and even he started out by copying the masters. It was how you learned but you were expected to develop your own style. And I think many people today copy but never grow beyond that stage.

You have a very interesting sense of design and color and I love to read your blog. The other thing might be to design so that it costs more for the copier to copy.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Strikkelise said...

I'm sorry, I'm getting *so* curious, about what you're actually referring to, although I get that it's hard to point your finger directly at the "perpetrator". I too am a huge fan of your blog and your designs, and I wish you the best of luck. Please don't stop showing your work. I suppose there's no fool proof way of avoiding plagiarism as an artist, how else would you approach your audience?

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Argh!!!! Please don't stop posting the beautiful things you've been making & creating, I've been thinking all weekend how I want one of your little wool pouches to put my knitting tools in & always your photos make me so happy, they are always so beautiful & professional & whoever this girl is, it makes me sick to think that our ideas aren't sacred anymore. I do understand what you mean though, for the longest time I wouldn't post art for the sheer fact that I was scared. I guess what I'm trying to say is, post what you feel comfortable with, this girl will NEVER top the quality & beauty of your work & if you feel comfortable only posting little small blurry thumbnails, then do (just send me the real ones to oogle over). Keep your head up, hopefully someone else will enthrall her & she'll copy them & then get into major trouble.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its such a shame that the creative weblogging community can't be just about support and inspiration, admiring each person's own individual style and finding your own. I hope whoever is thinking its ok to steal your ideas is reading all of this. I truly enjoy your blog, our blogging friendship, and think are so talented. Would be sad to see you stop blogging over this.

4:36 PM  
Blogger lisa solomon said...

oh dear. i hate this. i had a pang in my gut the other day when reading something someone wrote that sounded strikingly similar to something i had said about the backside of embroidery.

have faith that people will know the difference?? hard, but hopeful?

was it walter benjamin - art in the age of mechanical reproduction? or a newer re-take on his article??

7:01 PM  
Blogger eireann said...

Hey all,

Thanks for your words & thoughts.

Lisa: A newer take. Grr, wish I could remember--google turns up no results. Excellent essay.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

I'm so sorry...I can imagine that this is quite frustrating to say the least. I would be sorry not to see your lovely creations, but so understand. I have not posted pictures of my sons photography on my blog, although I have wanted to many times. I don't know how to keep them from being stolen. Watermark them I guess. But that's something I don't get around to, so I don't share them! I really hope this will end soon!!

1:51 AM  
Blogger Sandrine (alias Didine ♥ ) said...

Hello my dear ! I'm so sorry to read your post but I know it's hard to feel how you feel. If you see my english try to mean :o) I think only jealous people can make plagiarism, and they "copy" so baddly that they will never be an artist like you are. Just tell them they are nothing but a little dust. They tought they're creating, NO they're only making what dust can make : rubbish. I'm sorry to use these words but in french it's easier for me to explain !!! Don't stop to showing your "chefs d'oeuvre", no one can steal your talent ! Big smooches !! PS: Please tell me when you'll receive your package, I'm worried about the long time it takes !!!

2:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Eireann, the essay you're refering to is from Walter Benjamin (and mostly concerned with what the movie industry made to traditionnal arts like painting or sculpture). Nevertheless, I think that being copied is the proof that one is a real artist... and there's one thing they will never copy: your imagination and creativity. I hope all your worries will pass soon!

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ack. being copied feels so nasty. esp. when someone profits off of it. perhaps a mpls art vigilante group?


12:47 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

so sorry to hear that this is happening to you. I can only try to imagine how awful you must be feeling.

For what it's worth have you tried contacting the person who is copying you?

It will be a real loss if feelk you aren't able to share your photographs etc.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Green Kitchen said...

I wonder when it is that inspiration becomes straight up copying--It's something I've been thinking about with some of my own creations. I've been inspired by some of the talented crafty bloggers and have made things that they make, but with my own twist. One of the things I've done is make a few miniature quilts, like Angry Chicken's--with my own design, but based on her style, which I love so much. I know that she isn't the first person in the world to make a small quilt, but in this online commuity it does seem to be one of her signature works, so I haven't posted mine. I'm not selling my pieces, but, still, I don't want to take away from her moment. On the other hand I wonder if she would be flattered to see that her work inspires others to create.

2:55 PM  
Blogger eireann said...

Thanks again for your comments.

Samantha: I haven't contacted the person. There are some complications to do with the fact that we actually share some circles and it would mean a real-life confrontation. I was kind of hoping she would realize that I am bothered AND aware via this post, but I'm not sure.

Green Kitchen: I wonder about that, too, and for me it always comes back to the idea of authentic response--the feeling that what I've made is truly mine/me. I know it isn't when I feel almost ashamed (weird, I know, but there it is) to show it, maybe for fear I'd be "caught"? I think you should post your quilts! You can always note that you were inspired by Amy's. I don't think that is a problem. Especially when credit is given--then the originator of the idea still has a link to what is presented.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Green Kitchen said...

eireann, thanks for your encouragement to post my quilts. i had emailed amy asking her permission, but never got a response, which left me in a bit of limbo. also, i forgot to mention that i, too, have been copied (also by someone in a close circle) and have fear of "idea-stealers." it was something that kept me from blogging for a bit, but I figured I wasn't doing much else with my creations and might as well share them--the online community's generosity inspired me. still, i do wonder when we'll see our ideas in martha stewart living or elsewhere. thanks for sharing your work and thoughts. --michelle

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm following this too, out of curiosity (oh, the wonders of internet gossip), and it sounds like real-life confrontation is needed. i know i, for one, am getting paranoid that somehow you mean me, even though i can't figure out how that would be. reminds me of the boygirlparty debate, sorta.


4:38 PM  
Blogger eireann said... far as MSL/etc. goes, I figure that is a sort of clearinghouse for make-it stuff. I wouldn't like it, of course, if something of mine (or anyone's really) were knocked off there without credit. But I think too that it comes down to the fact that sometimes there are only so many things you can make: everything derives from a few things. So--identity, aesthetic, authentic response, how/whatever you want to say becomes the mark. I mean, people make quilts. People make small things. Eventually, people are going to make small quilts independent of one another. I don't think that is copying. I do think that it's a fine line if someone is, for example, copying a composition, a style, or a prominent element and using it the same way as in the original. Again, I think that crediting a source can make all the difference.

I'm trying to stay away from direct pointing (what, when, where) so that it doesn't become bgp-scandal-esque. I did feel, though, that I needed to put this out there because I really am feeling it right now-that I have to censor my 'output,' and it's something I think about a lot.

6:18 PM  
Blogger emily said...

Hi, I was directed to your site by a link at Yarnstorm and am very much enjoying your thoughts pictures and creations.

I was very sorry to hear that you are having a plagiarism problem, and hope things sort themselves out :)

My partner is an accountant and has his own website which he wrote himself. (For an accountant he is wonderfully wordy :) He was helping out one particular individual in the accounts field who was also quite new to having their own business. Then one morning he had a quick look at their website and discovered that they had plagiarized his site. After a friendly phone call he felt it necessary to then send them a formal letter to outline his concerns, as they didn't really seem to under stand the fact that you can't just use other people’s creations as if they were your own.

I think that people just don't think sometimes, which is probably why they are pinching other peoples ideas rather than creating wonderful new ideas and thoughts of their own, which they then want to hold aloft and share.

Best wishes


6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. For me there is hardly a worse feeling, so much so that it makes me incredibly angry even when I see it done to people I don't know. I do not understand how these people live with themselves.

To green kitchen, I would absolutely post what you've made, if you like it and would like to share it. It never bothers me -- to the contrary, it's very satisfying -- when people copy me, use my words, or whatever, as long as they give credit to me as the source.

(Btw, this is actually "fourlittlebirds" -- I've finally gotten around to making myself a space for my creative stuff. :))

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the girl in the pink dress...upper left..i love that pic too and just last night glued her onto the top of an old dented metal box...soon to be further adorned. :)

2:55 PM  
Blogger eireann said...

jennifer--did you go to villa america at the MIA? or did you know that painting from elsewhere?

3:48 PM  

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