Friday, March 12, 2010

Three pages

Several years ago when I was going through a rather difficult time in my life I began the practice of waking up each morning and writing. Writing by hand my thoughts, my lack of thoughts, the first thing that came into my mind, anything at all - sometimes it made sense and other times it was complete gibberish. I filled three pages each day. I would write before I did anything else, emptying my brain of all the clutter that had accumulated during the unconscious hours. For me, that is a lot of clutter. My mind is more active at goes into hyperdrive working out problems, solving math equations, staging reunions with old friends, dreaming up the next big idea... It's not uncommon for me to wake up feeling exhausted yet glad to be out of my own head.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my over-active mind. It makes me crazy that it rarely turns off. But I love that it rarely turns off. It's been my saving grace, the one thing that has been consistent throughout my life. Like an old annoying, nagging friend that only has my best interests at heart. It keeps my secrets but never lets me forget my mistakes. It dreams big and helps me to follow through. It's cocky because it's confident (and has therefore earned its right to be cocky). Its connection to my heart is a strong one and it will defend its honor like no one else. Yes, I am talking about my mind as though it were a separate entity. Sometimes I think it is.

Lately, my mind doesn't know where to go or how to empty out. It's so full of clutter, both good and bad. The good: creative thoughts, fresh ideas, a constant flow of newness. The bad: other people's lack of those things. I walked into a large chain crafts store the other day and came face to face with jewelry components that look just like some that I make. No, they are not made of clay, they are metal, and there are slight changes, but I know my ideas when I see them. And I know the manufacturer friended me on Facebook several months ago, out of the blue. They know who I am and now I know what they are all about. And it's disappointing to say the least.

It's hard to say what is more disheartening - being ripped off by a large corporation or by an individual person. The next day I logged into Etsy and came face to face with a copy of one of my oldest and best-selling designs being made by someone else. This is a person who has done this in the past so it comes as no surprise. Her lack of imagination is well documented. This is something I really can't get my mind around. I mean, why would someone want to make something the same as someone else? Do they want the whole world to know that they are not capable of coming up with their own ideas? I realize the temptation is there. I make molds from all types of things from buttons to stampings... anything that has a design that is in the public domain. Public domain means that no one owns the rights to them so any artist can come along and do what they want with it. HOWEVER (!), what they do with it then becomes THEIRS. That is where original thought comes into play. If you did not think of doing it, then don't do it.

But I've said all this before. It's nothing new. Copying isn't new and it will continue. And I will continue to bring attention to it because my original ideas are worth defending. And my mind won't give me any peace if I don't say something. Until the day comes when people develop a sense of respect for the work and ideas of others and acquire some dignity of their own, I will keep writing my three pages. Which means I'll be writing three pages for the rest of my life.


Five Peas in Our Pod said...

awesome post Nancy..

Round Rabbit said...

Thanks Annie. :)

Pretty Things said...

You have to email me and let me know who so I know never to ever buy by accident.

I've been plagued with similar (not copying, but racing mind) issues and I feel for you. Contact me any time -- limamike at goeaston dot net since my regular email is NOT working still -- sigh. One of the trials I'm dealing with right now.

Lorelei said...

grrr. i am boycotting said large craft chain. yea, i said it.
enough is enough.

SueBeads said...

I think you should let everyone know, Nancy, like Cynthia did, so we know not to buy from her or them!!! Please feel better!

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Nancy, I hope your racing mind goes on turning but also grants you peace sometimes, so you have the benefit of the ideas you generate without exhausting yourself. As far as copying, it just seems to go on and on, only if good people say NO MORE will there be no reason for people to take advantage of others' ideas. I hope it has not harmed you. It will inevitably harm the other, at some point.

TesoriTrovati said...

I agree.
Shout it from the roof tops.
And know that we are all behind you.
And said, craft store? I suppose they are not the enemy but rather said manufacturer...and like Gaea and Cynthia did, call them on it too. If we raise enough voices in protest there could be some change, or at least an awareness that we aren't going to take it anymore.
Enjoy the day.

TesoriTrovati said...

Oh, and I thought you and Petey might like this...Etsy Stalker has an exhibit on felted bunnies... too cute and made me think of you!
Enjoy the day!

bellajoya said...

I know exactly what you're referring to, I walked into said craft store yesterday and thought...hmmm...that's Nancy's. The frustrating part is that b/c they are a corporation, people who have not followed you for a while are going to assume that YOU copied them, and I agree with Erin, it's not the store, it's the manufacturer. It's a shame.

sasha and max said...

Deep breathe and try to slow your thoughts down - I suffer the same problem ,and calm my thoughts by thinking of my cats - I'm sure Petey and Laurel can help.
Hard to believe how blatant people can be in terms of outright copying - my heart goes out to you, Cynthia, Gaea and Lorelei, and others who may not have posted, who spend time and love creating stunning unique pieces, only to get some pirate come along and try rip you off. I agree with Erin - shout it out if you can - I know its hard when you are up against the big guys. They may be copying, but there work will never be as wonderful as yours. Enough said ! ..Vicki

Jenny J-V said...

Racing minds are more common than you think. I have one, too. :)

Here's something you might find at least a little funny...I was in a big chain store the other day looking around and I always like to provide assistance to folks who look like they're floundering in the jewelry aisle. Someone was asking me about the pendants and which ones I use. I probably sounded like such a snob because I said that I prefer handmade artisan pieces and would never buy any of those things. haaaaaaa She laughed as though I was joking, but I gave her my card and told her to get some links from my blog.

I'm so proud that I can support art at its source. :)


T @ Poppy Place said...

Wow awesome post.

It just plain sucks that so much stuff is stolen, it is really hard with photography, even with digital watermarks, people still copy and scan. :)

I am glad you got to vent, wishing you continued good sales :) T.

Kella said...

Great post, My racing mind is day related and thankfully sleep comes like waves at the beach and leave me at the most well rested but I also love to dream and feel quite cheated to wake and find that I felt that haven't dreamt.

My mind races along but when I come to write it down words elude me, so unlike you I don't always get to cleanse myself of thoughts good or bad, blogging has helped me a little more with this thankfully.

I agree with others name and shame its the only way others new to your work would know that they are the copiers and not the other way around.

Dani said...

I'm so sorry Nancy!!!

It stinks!!!

Rosanne said...

People suck that's all there is to it.

Riki Schumacher said...

Hi Nancy, so sorry to hear about this. But very glad you found me. Love your pieces in the BAJ and was just looking at them two days ago. Beautfiul. It keeps us on our toes continuing to come up with new ideas, doesn't it? Best of luck. Riki

lisa b. said...

This is an awesome post but the situation your in really sucks!!
My kids always get so mad when other kids at school start copying their style of some type of clothing they started wearing. Our moto is dare to be different. And when this happens I always tell them that the copying is a form of flattery.
Well sometimes flattery SUCKS!! Especially when we have put so much work and our heart into our creations. And when our creativity is our livelyhood, our bread and butter.
I encourage everyone I meet to buy local and to try to know who they are supporting.
Much Luck Nancy

Alice said...

So frustrating to have someone copy your art that you work hard to create. Unfortunately they are not creative enough to do their own designs, and will most likely continue to copy other artists' work.

My mind races when I lay down, and like you, many days I just can't wait to get up just so I can make it stop. Unfortunatly I rarely think up a jewelry design--but I do a lot of event organizing during this whirlwind.

I hope you will be able to rest easy soon.

mairedodd said...

nancy, if you give the specifics out, you know we would all take the time to make the calls, write the letters, whatever...

Gaea said...

That is a fantastic way to clear the mental clutter! I have a "racing" mind as well and if you are anything like me you probably loose sleep over these things. I'm guessing your mind is protecting you and keeping you racing ahead of the pack, copiers or not. Keep the ink flowing....

cre8ivecrafter said...

WOW. You are the 3rd artist's blog I have read this week about this exact same thing. I just can't fathom why some people think it is ok! Honestly... how can you claim something you didn't do? Where is the satisfaction in that? I mean hard is it to give credit where credit is due -

I am not *even* going to talk about making money off of someone else's hard work and education... you'll never me get off *that* soap box. I better just stop talking now... and let you know I am sorry that someone else just doesn't GET IT!

Anonymous said...

I hope you have the courage to let this post remain.

I have made things from molds and seen them later on ETSY. In fact, I made a gazillion butterflies only to see them in YOUR shop. I realize that this IS public domain and that it IS possible to think up the same idea. I bet you'd have a cow if I listed them. We have a lot of the same molds and cutters. DANG! Does that mean I can't sell mine?

I think you are so defensive because you borrow from the public domain instead of making your own designs. You frequently whine on your blog about others stealing your ideas but you too are using another's ideas, even if they are public domain.

I'd like to see how long you can go without the "she's copying me" thing. I bet you can't make it more than a month.

Round Rabbit said...

Of course I have the courage to leave your post, Donna. More courage than someone who can't sign their name to such an "insightful" comment.

Anyone who is familiar with my work will know how incredibly ignorant and uneducated your comments are, so there is no need to remove them.

sandi m said...

Where does it end? Unfortunately, I don't have any answers.

I do know that I made a vow when I started in this business that I would never buy any jewelry stuff from a Michaels, Hobby Lobby, et. al. In my opinion what they sell is not the quality I get from my local bead shops, artisans, and those vendors devoted to our community, nor what I want to sell to my customers.
Ha - I did the same thing Jen did one day telling a lady in Hobby Lobby to go to the local bead shop for classes and materials.

It's enough to keep track of copycats within our own community. To that end, we need to know who those people are - yes, Shout it from the roof tops!

As far as the wondering mind - oh how I understand your pain.

Blaine M. Avery said...

Loved the description of your "mind". I can so relate to your insightful thoughts.

Question, How can you tell someone is cyber stalking you?..... When they get offended by your blog post because, they know your talking about them but you don't mention their name!!!

Round Rabbit said...

Ha! So very true, Blaine!!