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.