Monday, May 19, 2008

Never assume...

For those of you who have followed the creative saga of my porcelain rings I have a new chapter to add to the story that you might find interesting, or annoying, depending on whether your glass is half empty or half full at the moment.

As many of you know selling your work on Etsy can be a mixed bag. If you can establish your business and maintain regular sales your are doing something right. I have worked very hard to achieve this and will continue to work harder by creating new, unique work that will continue to interest and inspire others. It can be frustrating, to say the least, when others feel the need to take your ideas and present them as their own. Copying does happen, it has happened to me in the past and I am sure it will happen again in the future. Today, however, I found myself at the other end of that spectrum. I received a convo from a kind fellow Etsian who let me know of some recent discussions that have taken place in the Etsy forums, private forums and blogs. Apparently another Etsy seller feels that I have copied her ceramic rings. No, my name was not mentioned (publicly) but it is very easy to tell who she is talking about since, after a quick search, it appears that there are only three people making and selling ceramic bands on Etsy. I am sure you can imagine how shocked I was to learn of this and I quickly went to her shop to see what I was being accused of copying. Yes, she makes ceramic rings and they are very nice, but no, mine look nothing like hers. Our styles are completely different, our glazing technique is completely different - the only similarity lies in the medium of clay. So how did this person come to the conclusion that I am copying her? I have no idea.

The first ceramic band I made was over five years ago when I was fairly new to clay. At that time I lacked the skill to make it as refined as I would have liked so I put the idea on the back burner until a few months ago. The first time I saw ceramic bands and knew I wanted to make my own version was years ago as an Art History student studying early jewelry design of the ancient Egyptians and Chinese, both of whom made rings of clay. I have viewed making porcelain rings as a continuation of a long tradition in jewelry design, just as numerous other potters have and do today. I guess the point I am trying to make is before you accuse someone of copying you do your best to inform yourself. Don't simply assume you know the motivation and inspiration of another and don't assume that you hold the patent to a design that, most likely, has existed for centuries if not thousands of years. And most importantly, don't bring those accusations to a public forum where doubt is cast upon an innocent person's work.


9 comments:

BlossomingTree said...

I saw your rings for the first time one day last week and I love them. The colors and patterns are beautiful.

I do wonder (and chuckle) sometimes when someone feels as though he/she owns a technique. Very little is new these days. Only variations of old ideas.

Keep up the good work.:)

Rosebud Collection said...

Sorry this has happened to you..Beautiful rings and wonderful colors.

LaPellaPottery said...

I'm sorry you felt that way. It was, however, said more than once that they were similar only in technique and it is a technique unique to no one.

I believe the other seller said that they were frustrated that someone was doing what they did and doing it better, not that you were copying. At least, that was the discussion I read.

Helen said...

Well your work is so lovely I can see where a little jealousy may spark. Keep doing what you're doing. You have a unique style that can't be duplicated!

Fog and Thistle said...

Once I saw an irate poster on Etsy because she felt she was copy. She sold plain silver hoops, which you can get all over Etsy, or target, or anywhere now and decades ago. People are funny about this stuff.

Jessica Sharrah said...

Hi - it was my blog post - and it was meant to be a personal growth story. I researched (I am new to clay) and saw no rings on Etsy - so I went for it. I was sad to see the rabbit's beautiful rings. But only for a moment...as it has inspired me to try new things with my own work.

I was sure to mention that the rings I mentioned in my post were not copies....different styles, etc.

I won't defend my post. I will apologize that it was taken the wrong way.

Rabbit - your work is original and unique.

Best Regards.

Lorelei said...

Hey N-
Love your rings. I love this picture of them all together. The purple and green rings pop out for me! Nice job!
I agree with blossomingtree in that it's strange that people can call a technique their own. So many artisans doing variations on the same techniques. I think, if you are using different colors and glaze, it's not a copy.

Lynae said...

...and I'm the third person who makes ceramic rings on Etsy! (panopoly.etsy.com)

When I first started prototyping my rings, nobody else sold such a thing on Etsy, it's true, but when I started listing the rings and saw that other people were now making ceramic rings as well, I was actually excited! None of our aethetics, glazes (or, I suspect, even firing techniques) are very similar, we each have a distinctive photo style, we generally tag our items differently, and I think we each appeal to different buyers. In all honesty I think we probably only help each other, by giving more exposure overall to ceramic band rings.

I think yours are lovely :)

Round Rabbit said...

Well said, Lynae! Thanks for your comments. I think your rings are lovely too!