Yesterday was fun. I was again excited by my work appearing on Polymer Clay Daily, which is like jet fuel to feed the ideas going through my head! Thank you to all of you who became new followers on my blog and most importantly, thank you for your positive and thoroughly encouraging comments - to Cynthia most of all. I have been sifting through the possibility of doing a tutorial and this seems like a great technique (for the metallic mosaics) as it opens up the possibility of many variants and so, scope for great personalization. It will be a while, and I have to sort out the best way to present it (will seek advice here..).
And this brings up a topic I should have posted about ages ago (there is no excuse, except it required me to organize my thoughts). If you follow Christine Damm's blog, Stories They Tell, you will have read her thoughts on plagiarism. ( Oh, that word, you are always saying that word....thinking it anyway!) It exists, for sure. We ALL are influenced, lift elements to some degree, want to make work like that master craftsman...or do we? Personally, I do want to learn techniques to enhance the ideas that are in my own head. I know from my many years in glass that the forms made by a master can never be fully imitated, and imitations always have something lacking. Isn't this why we value these people?
But we can learn from them. I also don't believe in re-inventing the wheel every time.
I think when we read a book or take a course, we have to make a conscious decision to say 'I've learned a technique or an approach that I couldn't have imagined before - now, how does that change the physical expression of the ideas that are in my head?' You have to ask yourself this, because, perhaps it cannot work with your work, even though you admire their results wholeheartedly. Then, you will have learned something that may be useful to you over time as it gets filtered through your experience. If you take this view, then I think it would be impossible to simply make other peoples work and sell it as yours.
To illustrate this Christine asked Rebecca Watkins (blog, artybecca on Etsy ) and me to participate in a collaboration to make jewelry. We will be using each other's components, and making elements to integrate these in the final piece ourselves as there are many aspects of our work that share a similar approach. And yet, we do have distinct styles...For me, it will be a big challenge! Not because I will be using someone else's beads, but for the reason that resolving a jewelry design is the hardest thing there is. But, like everything, it gets easier with practice. 1000 hours, I hear you saying....too true.
Here is the first piece which Christine made in October. She used some carved beads (black and white and grey) from me and a beautiful focal bead made by Rebecca. I love this piece because I don't look at it and see disparate elements, but a whole story that only Christine could construct. Not sure I can be so successful, but time will tell.
Rebecca is up next and I'm looking forward to her piece. In my Flickr set there is an extra piece on its way to her. Psst - don't tell...