Friday, September 12, 2014

Copy, schmopy. Quit your whining!

Seems to me that the crying about "copying" comes in cycles and apparently that time is here again. I don't expect this post will be popular with everyone, but then again I don't care. I've never been an ass-kisser. If you don't like it, don't call attention to it. And, above all, don't copy it!

Whiners: have you spent your life in a cave? Bereft of television, printed publications and internet access? Well, okay then, maybe you've created something "original." It's likely the best the rest of us can say is that our work is derivative.

Getting very basic here, YOU have not created the wheel! Who first wrapped a wire loop? Soldered? Forged, textured and patinaed metal? Set a stone in a bezel? Take a trip to the Louvre and survey the thousands-of-years old jewelry and you'll see that even David Yurman's famous bracelets aren't original.

So you say your originality is in the WAY you bent that prong. The extra dimple you put in YOUR piece of copper. The technique YOU have developed. Next, you're selling a tutorial of your technique. Or charging hundreds of dollars to teach it in a class or online. This is my favorite scenario: eager learners, anxious to acquire your special technique, drive or fly hundreds of miles, at their expense, and pay you hundreds of dollars for the privilege of basking in your specialness and getting your tips and tricks. And you expect them not to try to get some return on that investment. Are you stupid? "Make it your own," you say. And then you bitch when you see something at all similar to what you taught.

Hmmmm . . . let me see . . . I really admire the work of Doctor Oz, the world-famous cardiac surgeon. I'm going to fork over tens of thousands of dollars, going into debt for much of my adult life, to go to school for a minimum of seven years or so. BUT -- I will not perform heart surgery after that unless I can change it up so as to make it unrecognizable because God forbid I should COPY Dr. Oz! And don't you think for one minute the Oz-man doesn't think what he does is art.

Often when someone is boo-hooing online about their jewelry being copied, some encouraging soul will post a comment like "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Individuals, even groups of individuals sympathizing over the alleged crime, don't like that comment. Get a clue, people: if your pieces were UGLY, if no one LIKED them, there'd be no COPYING!

There's a solution for those of you especially sensitive to this situation. Never, under any circumstances, exhibit your jewelry at any venue. Do not post photos ANYWHERE on the internet. Don't submit photos to any publication. Stay in your vault like the golem guarding the ring. Of course this means you cannot sell.

It's happened and it's going to continue to happen whether by chance, shared consciousness or outright replication. Get over yourself and stop wasting what you will eventually see has been a very short life on histrionics. Be grateful you have the inclination, the skills and the materials to work with and go do something productive.

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