Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On my mind....

I feel the need to share something with you that I feel very strongly about.
I've been wanting to post on my blog about "so-called" copy cat art.
I've covered this topic softly on my blog before
but it needs to be addressed strongly now.

When you produce a tutorial,
share instructions or teach a class
and you give or sell these instructions
to your blog readers....
you are RELEASING that knowledge to others.

When you do that, you are LETTING IT GO.
Your students will now produce these art projects
with their spin on them or their own version.
Also when you release this information
you must be prepared to TRULY release it.

Do I sell my tutorials then follow with,
"Oh, by-the-way, you can't make these, sell these
or even mail them in to be published because THEY ARE MY IDEAS??"
No...I move on and create something new as a true artist would.

Have you ever copied anyone else's idea or artwork ??
Or even taken simple elements of another artist's artwork
and incorporated them into your own?
I have a hard time believing any of us haven't.
That's really the wonderful thing about blogging...
sharing ideas and techniques with each other.

Plus, if I share projects on my blog to thousands of readers,
I fully expect, and even hope, to see other art pieces similar to mine.
Do I own cramming a nest in an old box??? NO way.
What I DO own is my style...how I can make the piece look ~
you can try as you may, but it will NEVER look exactly like mine.
That is what I own.
My style.

It is sad when artists are insecure
and believe they own a certain way of making art
or a certain type of art piece, for example, like altering bottles.
So many folks are altering bottles now
it's quite common around the blog world.
What about luggage pockets?
Do I own the right to use a luggage pocket in artwork
just because I used them a few years ago?
Others can use this wonderful element
and create their own work of art....
No one person OWNS the right to alter a bottle....
use a baby shoe
or even a luggage pocket.
but you do own your STYLE.

Yes, I sell tutorials.
If you choose to teach a few friends
or even hold a class on one of them to share,
I would love it!
To spread creativity and nurture that spirit in others
has to be one of the best things about being an artist.

What I love is sharing, inspiring and encouraging others to create...
teaching then hoping it's information you would love to pass on as well!

Edited to add:
This post is my opinion and truly how I feel about this subject.
I had first considered hiding these comments but
your opinion is as valuable as mine.

It's not how much we have or how important we think we are...what truly matters is how we treat one another in this journey we call life.

hugs and love,


Anonymous said...

I have online workshops. I have policies. I give my blessings to go ahead and make anything from my workshops and sell away. That is in writing. If you were in there, you would know this. It is another thing to teach someone Else's workshop after taking the workshop. I have this in my policies and it is stated that this is wrong and not permitted. Sorry, but this is illegal, as I have already contacted my attorney and they are advising me. People with ethics would agree. People who have been ripped off will agree. I prefer to hang with those who have the same code of ethics.

Funny, I have tried to ignore much of this for many weeks as people care and sent emails about her publication and now I'm getting them about her teaching them. I did not search this out on my own. Trust me, her name will be tattered and tarnished by her own doings. Yes, she will have her own cheer leaders with folk her share her values. They will not know the whole story, just like you did not.

I have worked many hours preparing and teaching my videos, along with my husband doing all the tech work. A true artist would come up with her own designs and techniques and teach. This is honorable. This is what I do. I wonder how you would feel if someone takes your tutorials and resold them. Would you find that right? Be truthful and ask yourself that.

I did not mention her name but someone else did who I don't even know. Read her comment left on my blog. Lisa has a reputation already, one I did not know about.

I say prayers for those who call evil good, and good evil. The bible speaks and warns of ones who do this. Breaking the law is what it is, period.

If you feel you want to blog about this, I feel sorry for you because you are not seeing or speaking the truth. Do what you "think" is right. God is the one who I stand in front of and am truly accountable to. He knows my heart and how I live my life.

Debra Howard said...

I agree completely Dawn. I am an artist and I have been copied many many times. I have taught many others how to paint. In all m y 30 plus years of painting, I have found no one who has my exact style. Even painting the very same thing with my help and instruction it will turn out different than mine.

Diane and Kelly said...

So glad you posted about this. I am so tired of hearing people complain that someone has "stolen their idea". There is no such thing as a completely original idea. Everyone gets their inspiration from seeing the creations of others.

Second Hand Chicks

April but some call me Prilyy said...

i think you are wonderful! well put!!!! i feel like i have nooooo creativity but yet when i get "inspired" like by you for instance i try to change it up a bit so its not "the same". i appreciate people like you!!!!!!! thanks for all that you do and not jumping on that whole hate wagon that some people get on! i lush you!!

jocelyn said...

Hi, I just discovered your beautiful blog and other support sites. I love that you listed your favourite blogs, but decided to comment first on how visually appealing your artistry is, and how inviting the idea of learning more about the photographic approach you use. I'm in the middle of a move , so it may not be good timing for me, but I'll check back often.

Nancy said...

I agree with you! To think we are each & everyone of us 100% totally individually original ... oh, please ... To create, then release it to the Universe, if you will, is inspiring to others, at the least.
That said, I wish when someone takes inspiration from another - be it a class, from a blog, whatever - they should give credit to their sources. If I share something that's not original by me, then it's only right that I say that, up front.

deb @ homewardFOUND said...

Dawn, you know I've also posted about this on my own blog. I have to say that it is a VERY different situation when your idea/product has been published in major craft/decor magazines and credited to you - so that those who copy you and sell at shows or online are not attempting to claim credit for the design. Everyone knows that baby shoe pincushions are Dawn Edmondson's original creation, as proven by multiple magazine credits. No matter who makes & sells them, Dawn is the well-known originator of the idea in several industries.

We don't all have that luxury.
For those of us who send photos of our own original products in to magazines and are NOT selected to be published (for whatever reason), we have to fight the battles of seeing our ideas/products copied by others who claim original design rights. And when we sell our own artwork at shows, people who've seen those items on someone else's blog call US copycats. It's very hard to deal with on a repeated basis.

As the first commenter above pointed out, 'reputations' are formed by things OTHERS say about you. If your ideas/products are copied and sold by others claiming that they are originals, casting you in a bad light, that hurts your reputation, business and income. How are artists/designers who do this for a living supposed to 'let that go' and not stand up for ourselves?

This issue *truly* has more to do with respect than rights.

kluless said...

I will be watching with much interest to see where this conversation leads. I, for one, am nearly paralyzed from making anything for fear someone will accuse me of copying them. I spend a lot of time feeling discouraged over my apparent lack of ability to have an original idea. For the most part I only sell supplies in my Etsy because I just can't figure out what is OKAY to make and sell. Argh!

June said...

Dawn you are such a sweetheart. The other day I was looking through one of the new Somerset Workshop and found a project I want to try and I thought if I got it done and I wanted to share my finished project on my blog, I didn't know if it would be proper, but then I thought...I paid for the issue and the instructions were there, so evidently they meant for us to use this new knowledge. Your post makes me feel so much better! Thank you so much for writing this. I wish all artists felt this way. I understand how artists would like to protect themselves against competition when it is their livelihood, but I'm doing it solely for my own family to enjoy.
love to you,

Sandi said...

How can any thing be original? If you really look hard, it has all been done before in some way or another.

Sonya Badgley said...

Hi Dawn,
Well, we can fight over who has created what all we want to but are we forgeting Who gave us these gifts in the first place? God is the One who should be getting all the glory in the first place! Like it says in the Bible, "There is NOTHING new under the sun." We are supposed to share our gifts. They need to take it as a compliment instead of evil.
I have copied your work several times through your tutorials and believe me they didn't look like yours!LOL! No, I haven't tried to sell them but if I could, I would!
Thank you for your inspiration and courage.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, hope you are feeling gratified by your comments from the housewives of blogland. Truly, empty souls who don't get that it is not about copying, but re-teaching what one worked very hard to do, even with a very sick husband. Where is the compassion? Only for the mighty buck I suppose and the glorification of self. It's all about self these days. So so sad and so empty.

sjmcdowell said...

Hi Dawn,

I like this post very much and I am glad that you have addressed this subject.

This is my view point.

If someone does a post on something that they have made and shows it to thousands of people and shares it with those thousands of people then it becomes a shared creation and anyone can and should be able to make a similar item.
If someone has made something and license's it
saying that this is their own creation such as a pattern then that item can be bought and then reproduced but never sold as if it was their own thought, because it never was. They may sell the item they made from the pattern because it is then something that they made with their own hands.

You cannot say this is a "Monet" and that you have painted it because "Monet" painted it not you. If you painted a picture that looked like
a Monet and said that this was your rendition of it, then you could sell it!!

We all learn fron oneanother but stealing from oneanother will never be right for it is wrong and should be dealt with accordingly!

When in doubt ASK!! Just be respectful enough to ask the person...and you know what 9 times out of 10 that person will be very happy to
accomodate you I am sure...because you showed
them respect.

Well these are my feelings and I hope that it helps in some way!

Love and Hugs,


Elderberry Dreams said...

I just would like to say that because of artists like you Dawn, JoAnnA Pierotti, and several others who offer online classes and tutorials which I have purchased, my creatve world has opened up and I am happier and more inspired than I have ever been. I feel like all of you opened up a world to me that did not exist before the cyber age, except through local classes. I thank all the artists that share their knowledge and tips to us who want to learn and grow. And only in our heart of hearts, do we as indivisuals know how we represent that to others if profit is to be made. Glory really belongs to God, not man. It is easy to forget that because we are human. Especially when people love and admire what "we" do.

The Feathered Nest said...

I am deeply saddened by your comment JoAnnA...First, that you would insult my readers and secondly, that you would bring up the "almighty buck" when you just added a post on your blog that you will be having a "24 hour Sale" capitalizing on your increased blog traffic from these mean comments. Apparently we must agree to disagree.

Karen said...

All art is inspired by the art that already exist.It is when you apply your hand to it and imprint it with the spirit of your creativity that it becomes your expression. The question of who did it first can never really be answered. Creativity is a wonderful gift that can never be stolen only expanded.

Missy said...

So sad to see what has progressed from your post, Dawn. First I will say I am in agreeance with everything you said, and you said it well. The world of web has brought forth and opened a new age of inspiration. A price that comes with that is the USE of the inspiration itself. When an artist publishes work, or a tutorial on the web it does in many ways, become fair game. No different than magazines of the past before the web was available. People "copy" Pottery Barn, but I see alot of things in Pottery Barn anymore that have been copied from blogland. Tit for tat, I guess.

"Aspiring" artists will look for starting points and inspiration in these places. They turn into a "true" artist when they make it their own by putting their own thoughts and twists into the initial inspiration and make it their own. A "genuine" artist will give credit where credit is due by showing respect to the inspiration source.

I don't know the story here, but it's a sad day when we can't all grow from the wonderful ideas out there. And to the party that feels stepped on...use this as your PUSH to do it bigger and better, stay ahead of the aspiring artist who needs your ideas (or copycat as you call them). I can guarantee the poor name you get from making the stink about it will bury you faster than having your ideas stolen. I hope things work out for all involved.

Rose Garden Romantic said...

I totally agree, Dawn! Well said. :)

oldepearprimitives said...

JoAnna....I take offense to your "housewife" comment. What is that supposed to mean? That being a housewife makes you a simpleton? Wow. you point out the fact that you can stand before God because you are rightous in your actions. Well, your choice of words are not very God like. And I would also like to point out that you feel "It's all about self these days. So so sad and so empty." I bet you are checking the comments every few minutes to see if anyone commented about you. I know this subject on copyright can lead to hot and heavy discussions. But there is no need to be hateful. We can all agree to disagree like Dawn had suggested. But I will send prayers your way.

pixiegypsy said...

Hi Dawn,
I understand what you are saying, and I'm sure Lisa is a very dear friend to you. From what I've read she sounds like a real sweetheart. We are all inspired by others works and create from inspiration. I think the point is take as many classes as you wish, sell your wares...enjoy....but it's just not ethical to sell classes that you've taken from another artist. They put in alot of time and energy putting together THEIR workshop. Especially when the class is still ongoing. Maybe it was just an error in judgement but yes it should be addressed.
I also wanted to mention that little online tutorals and 120.00 to 150.00 nation wide event classes just don't compare to eachother.(meant with no disrespect love the little shoes) Meaning we are talking about an artist who has traveled the country selling these well thought out classes and to just borrow the class and put it out there is a bit of a no no in book. I also am a dear friend to JoAnna and know she was not out to offend you or your readers. She just feels very hurt. She is a very good woman and gives all her heart , soul, and techniques freely to others. Hopefully this can all be resolved. And we can all learn from this.
Concerned Friend (like yourself)

Peggy said...

A true artist at heart gets joy from the creating not the owning of their art.
I think imitation is the highest complement an artist can get...like you said your style is what is yours.
I have things I made years ago that I made from a magazine (no blogs then) that I still love and bring out for different holidays.
I also see things I made years ago and sometimes don't recognize them at first as mine!
I've moved on to other creative projects.

Nancy Hood said...

Oh Dawn, I have a reader of yours for years now and have purchased some of your artwork. JoAnnA is a sad soul that obviously spends more time trying to make a name for herself than wanting to spread the joy and beauty of craftsmanship. Sad. I have always been amazed when you bring an old photo or a vintage postcard and say "copy away" and show me how you used it! You are, you have always been, and you will always be the light He speaks of when He says to shine your light in His name into the nations.

Nena said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I read this and fell in love with you! Your artwork is beautiful, and I completely 100% whole heartedly agree with you. I have been copied and I will admit, I have used another's idea in my own work many times before. It is the culture and the very fabric of art. You are a beautiful soul I can tell, and I wish you all the best!

Barbara Jean said...

I so agree with what you said, and you said it so well.

I believe we are made in God's image, and He is the great creator. We are made to create, and to share what we have learned, whether it be a craft, or life's lessons.
Since all we do and have is a gift from God, and we do not own any of it, how can we expect to keep it. It is made to give away.

All that said, I do art to sell, and I teach small classes. All I do I do for moderate prices so all can afford to both buy, or learn, and enjoy it. Creating is to be enjoyed.'If we lose that, we may as well stop creating.

Blessings dear friend.
Thanks for who you are and all you have shared and taught us.

barbara jean

Wendy & Megan Chamberlain said...

This is a contentious issue and I am sad to see some of the adverse reactions to your comments. I totally agree with what you have said. Having made artist teddy bears for many years and shared techniques in workshops, I have always felt that if a pupil has paid to take part in a workshop she is entitled to share what she has learned. Why outlay precious funds to further your knowledge just to make one item and not use the abilities you have acquired. If you have a problem with people 'copying' ideas or techniques then the obvious answer is not to sell tutorials/patterns. One final point, I can teach people how to make a bear but not how to be an artist, that is up to the individual.

Linda Drynan said...

To love what you do and feel that it matters- How can anything be more fun! Lucky for us you love to share too! Thanks for all the inspiration! You obviously love what you do because you share on the web. After all, don't we publish things to inspire and share?
Keep up the great work! Love it!

Lee Weber said...

Wow. I love the affordability of your tutorials. They make art accessible to many people. I would agree that putting the info. out there pretty much makes it fair game. People will copy, as a way to learn. But, art always has the creator's stamp on it. We can take a class together, and our pieces will be as individual as we are. I do draw the line at copying someone else's tutorial and selling it as mine. I do think that is copyright infringement. That being said, it's a very gray area, because the product must be obviously new and original. That's pretty hard to come by. Bottles, dolls, pincusions, charms... all these are everyday items that have been altered for years.

I have been following JoAnna for a year or so, and I love her art. Her dolls definitely have her stamp on them. But I felt her comments to be disrespectful. I'm an artist, I've been published. I'm a wife and mother and killer ICU nurse. But I don't count? Somehow the term "housewives of blogland" is very dismissive. It's OK to be hurt, but if you feel there is copyright infringement, you must legally go after the person. That's what the laws are for.

Thank you Dawn, for weighing in. Thank you for making art affordable for all of us. I can't tell you how many classes I see that are priced out of my range. Can't wait to see more of your house. We need another Getaway!

Dorthe said...

Dearest Dawn,
This is a very sad story, and I so hope it will end, without too many friendships being "burried".
I have myself come a long way, from -mad and sad, but for the last years, reached to your opinion-of letting it go- and it made my life much more piecefull.
Hugs, and love, dear friend.

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

Well said, buddy! I'm flattered when I see someone's creations from something I shared. And I know that I've used techniques, tricks and inspiration from many other artists in my own work, as all of us have. Hopefully, we take what we learn and put our own spin and artistic touch on it to make it ours.

There is no joy in copying directly, but there is great happiness in learning and sharing with others.

Artists who are too sensitive or insecure to see their ideas in use should not do tutorials.

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

Oh my, I hadn't read the comments before I left mine. I have to say now, that you are one CLASSY lady Dawn. You didn't make it personal, name names, slam anyone, or talk about the exact situation. You simply talked about a touchy subject in honest terms.

Good for you, I'm proud to have you as a friend.

Karen Larko said...

Hi Dawn,
I have to say, I agree with you. It's all about sharing. I gather inspiration from the art of others and share my ideas so that others may benefit also. As a matter of fact, I just made 6 little snowmen ornaments like the one's you shared here on your blog and will be selling them at a local craft show on Saturday. My jewelry, which was featured in "Belle Armoire Jewelry" this past summer, includes my tutorial and I expect people who buy it to recreate those pieces in their own way as well.

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs said...

You, my friend, truly show how the Lord wants us to be ~

I received an angry letter yesterday
from a lady who thought she was helping
out by being an advocate. Wow all I can
say is that being ugly and hateful
completely IS NOT an advocate but
a HUGE detriment.

What a joy to know that sharing knowledge and ideas spur on others to
create. That is the place I want to be.

Sandi said...

Could not have said it better myself Dawn!! Thank you! Blessings coming your way!!

Nancy Wethington said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Very well said. (Can you tell I totally agree?!)

chicroses said...

Oh my gosh! What a sweet gal you are Dawn.I to have mulled over copying someones art...Yes how can someone say you cant make a babyshoe and put your own fabric on it.. I am making these little ornaments with glitter stars and old family photos in the stars...and wondering if someone has come up with this idea..I want to put them up on my blog but scared someone will say I stole it. But it all started with K.C. willis stars. And I truely came up with it..hahah I really did...Dawn you are one lovely person. I read you blog everyday..sally

Unknown said...

well said dear dawn. simply...truthfully...and honestly. have no regrets about speaking from your heart. we are listening.

Vee said...

Dawn, I've often said that you are one of the most generous spirits in Blogdom. I would hope that you'd receive some credit for sparking the imagination of another, however. I do like your attitude as you are unlikely to ever be hurt or offended. Many blessings to you today and I know that as a child of the Living God your creativity is only as limited as His.♥

Unknown said...

Dearest Dawn -

I am so happy that you have written and posted your kindness and generosity of spirit.

And I agree with your sentiment - I have always been amazed that I can take the identical 'ingredients' and follow the instructions to the letter - but it never has the same 'vibe' of the original artist. The only way I can create something that is alluring and appealing is to take the ingredients, take the instructions - and then create from my own style, my own vibration, my own creativity. That's when I have something that others may respond to. I loooooove your style and in my core - your style isn't entirely me - I have to express myself through the inspiration and kick start of my teachers.

I am not a big fan of what what is happening in the world of creativity these days. I am unhappy with Joanna's post and I find myself entirely uninterested in what she might have to offer. I have been registered for a well-known multi-day art workshop and now there are teacher cancellations and talk of dishonored contracts. This isn't the world of creation that I want to live in.

You are a gem and I offer my support as you endeavor to stand up for generosity and encouragement of others. The world of the internet often brings out the worst in us - I love when it also brings out the best in us.

May you have a beautiful, beautiful day -

I am interested in a world of creativity, sharing, and teachers who encourage me.

Brenda Evans said...

Well said and bravo for you Dawn - I do visit many blogs and sites for inspiration and I think it is a compliment to anyone to have their work copies - having said that - I also believe in giving credit where credit is due. I would never even attempt to submit anything that I did not give credit for the inspiration. I can look at a piece of work and copy it - it never ever looks the same but a mere resemblence. It's because I value that art and want a piece for myself. However, I do appreciate artists who give you every name, color, and where they purchased the pieces to make their art. That tells me that they don't mind if you want to make the same. I personally only use my creations for myself or to give as a gift. I would never try to sell a class - designed by someone else - I would not feel right in doing so. I would feel like I'm cheating but taking inspiration from others and making it your own by changing it up is not. Who is to say where something originated. I truly appreciate all artist work and am just so grateful that we have people like you who don't mind sharing.

Joy Lett said...

Dawn as usual you handled a sticky situation with grace. This is my thought- If you put it out there on a blog or in a magazine then it is free game. How do you control when inspiration hits? I do think it is nice to give credit where credit is due- but there is no "rule" that says you have to- it's a courtesy. Now copying a tutorial or class that's a stickier subject- but again if you put it out there- there is no guarantee it won't happen. The true artist (that's why I'm not one) continues to come up with creative items and also stays true to their style. The world has been here a long time- it's hard to imagine there is any true original art anymore- it all started somewhere.

Peridots Garden Blog said...

Dear Sweet Dawn!

Good for you Girl! I am so proud of you for stating your opinion and I know it is shared by fellow artists who take the initiative and time to create tutorials for other to learn from y'all!

I deplore outright copying! It's an insult to artistic integrity! It limits the horizon for creativity and when someone outright copies your art well...it's just plain, "NOT PLAYING FAIR!".

I've thought of creating tutorials...for various projects but gosh...it would break my heart to have happen to me....what has happened to you and other artists!

I have a feeling...that those of us who follow you and your artistic talents...know...we just know when it is a piece of "Dawn's work". Just like I can walk through GW and touch fabric, look at the glaze on a piece of pottery or look at a piece of furniture from a distance and I KNOW...I REALLY KNOW if it's a real piece or a copykat!

You go girl! We all are inspired by you! Your kindness is a special light that shines through the darkest of hallways...you teach...you inspire...you create...and your my dear "MENTOR" help all of us in more, many more ways than you probably can even begin to imagine!



At Home in English Valley said...

Dear Dawn, I can't imagine how uncomfortable this makes you. There is no place as welcoming, comforting and generous as your blog. I admire your honesty, and agree whole heartedly with you. We are not children, but women, who should be supportive of each other. Life is too short to do otherwise. Love, Penny

Lisa said...

Well, this is a tough comment to leave. I'm not accustom to being the center of a controversy. I really hate to make a 'he said, she said' deal out of this. Anyone who reads my blog & knows me knows I use my blog as a place for inspiration & friendship, not negativity. Those people would also know I give credit to those who inspire me on just about every post I do. Including Joanna on more than one occasion. I also credited her tutorial (along with KC Willis & Ruth Rae) in my Stampington story. It was edited out without my knowledge. Never mind, the point is 1. I would never EVER take a class or tutorial that said I could not make my own version of the project & submit it for publication or sell or anything. When you teach you are sharing your experience & knowledge & letting go. We are artists, would we just invest in an expensive workshop & supplies to make something pretty for our window sill? 2. I feel that my style is my own. Our society is plummeted with visual candy, we take it all in & turn it over in our minds & it comes out of us in our own way. Yes, I did teach 6 of my friends & previous students how to alter bottles, in MY way. I did NOT reproduce any ones tutorial. I do strongly agree with copyright law & think that needs to be respected. What I really think is sad about this whole subject is that so many people are fearful about showing their art, or even making it because of this subject. It's ridiculous. We should be sharing and supporting each other to try new things, take a change, follow our dreams. I have to tell anyone that 99% of the artists I've met & been invovlved with are mentors, not like this. Today I read the new Somerset Sew & saw Lovey's beautiful article. She took KC's workshop & made it her own & guess what. KC supports that & is proud for her. That is the way it should be. In the end all I really want to say is that I am proud of the work I do, I think everything I make has my style all over it. Thanks to everyone for taking time out to comment on this subject.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, thank you so much for posting on this very delicate and thin lined subject.

As an altered art and mixed media instructor I know the work that goes into putting together a workshop, planning the details and working up the samples. I also know that as I work at this that I am being influenced by every teacher that I have ever taken classes from and by every student that has taken classes from me. I know too that once I teach that class that each student will take what they learned and they will make it their own, they will put their stamp on it, they may sell it or show it or give it as gifts and all of this pleases me because I was able to pass along knowledge that in some way shape or form had been passed along to me.

I have had a class or two that I have seen taught somewhere else...maybe not my class but one that strongly resembled it...and I have had to determine that in the grand scheme of things is it really right to consider it "MY" class? Everything, to some point, has been done before so can I truly call it MINE? Perhaps some of the techniques, the steps, the processes yes. But if I agree to teach then I am agreeing to pass along that knowledge. Now please don't understand....I do not think it is right to copy verbatim a class and put it out there as your own idea/concept/invention when it is not. What I do know is that I don't know who did the first altered book, tin or bottle but I'm glad someone figured it out enough to pass along the knowledge to the rest of us.

As far as the publication aspect of the issue goes I believe wholeheartedly that full credit should be given to the person that taught you the process and that none of that process should be published. With that being said I also know that I can't control what the magazine edits out which is what happened in this case. There were three people credited for various techniques and those names were edited from the article that ended up being published.

In the end we have our reputations and we are in control of the way we handle ourselves. I know that God has been mentioned here several times and I will mention Him once more as well....God wants His children to turn to Him in prayer concerning all things that weigh heavy on their hearts. He is a God of love and He does not like discourse. I believe in standing up for yourself and what you feel is right and proper but I believe that if you do it the way that God would wish you to that those things could be settled much more amicably.

Just an opinion from another artist, blogger and housewife trying to do it the best way I know how.

Hugs to you all,

Claudia said...

I've been reading all the comments and have to say I didn't know about all this controversy. I am an admirer of everyone's work who is named in these comments. Hence I will not take sides.

I will say this: I was an actress for years. My husband is an actor. We put ourselves and our performances out there for others to see. Someone could and did watch my interpretation of a role and proceed to 'copy' it. That might have put my nose out of joint, but it was also flattery.

What is not being addressed here is that this form of 'copying' will never be exactly the same because we all bring our individual stamp to our work. If someone tried to copy my performance, it would still be done with that person's voice, that person's look and walk and gestures. Which would be different than mine. So...it's not really a copy, is it?

You teach, someone learns from you, and then the pupil takes the lesson, adds their individual touch and flies with it. As it should be.

And I'm a teacher. I've taught students for years who are now getting paid for teaching what I taught them. I don't get any money from it. I shouldn't. I'm flattered and honored that they respected the material I used and have gone on to honor my teaching in their own way.

Claudia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diva Kreszl said...

Sweet Dawn, I couldn't have said it any better myself, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they say! Even the great masters in art copied others to learn...I'm not talking about recreating a piece exactly and selling it at one's own but sharing our ideas and methods is how we help others grow as artists and he we ourselves grow. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this often touchy subject.

Sandy said...

Dawn... I commend you for saying what you felt in your heart. Blessings to you! Your friend...XOSO Sandy

Joy Lett said...

Wow. Let's look at this in true perspective. If you Google altered bottle you get 1,170,000 hits. Seriously.

Gail said...

Looking at this thorny issue from a legal standpoint (dh's an attorney, I am not!), it will be up to the offended party to ~prove~ that the second party actually stole her intellectual property and is using it verbatim (word for word).
It sounds like that's what she's accusing her of so I do hope she has some concrete evidence that proves this case, otherwise she may end up with egg on her face....what an unfortunate turn of events for both these artists.
And speaking of artists, I think we're all artists the moment we create something, whether it's for our home and personal use or to sell...the amount of compensation you receive doesn't make you "better" than someone else, and shame on those who have implied this.

Beth Leintz said...

Dawn, You've taken a tough subject and handled it with finesse. The blog world I've been a part of has been about sharing, inspiring and celebrating the successes of friends.

If I make or show something on my blog and it inspires someone else to create something, I'm thrilled and flattered. I'm even more flattered if they give me credit- but if they don't, that's ok- there are so many ideas, inspirations and techniques that it's not possible to remember the source of every idea.

What is important and exciting is that we're able to take all of this inspiration and input and put our own spin on it. My own art work owes so much to what's been shared with me through blogs and classes, and I'm grateful to all those who have been generous enough to graciously pass along their knowledge.

I think your statement "To spread creativity and nurture that spirit in others
has to be one of the best things about being an artist" sums up how I feel about having a blog and sharing what I make.

The Tin Rabbit said...

I, so agree with what Beth said above....we take inspiration from everywhere and put our own spin on it! And I am flattered when someone creates something like me.. after all, each person is unique and their art will be too...Thanks for sharing Dawn! XO, Ann

Anne Lorys said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thespoena McLaughlin said...

I agree with most of what you have said Dawn, I also enjoy sharing my ideas and artwork and being inspired by other artists as well. I don't think there is any problem with making your own artwork with things you learned from someone elses tutorial or even selling the artwork you made after learning those new techniques, but I also feel that taking an online tutorial and learning all these things and then turning around and basically "re-making" that same online tutorial to sell against the person you learned from is somehow a bit wrong. Shouldn't you appreciate your teacher and respect them enough not to take food out of their mouths? Case in point, quite a few years ago I used to make Halloween props and sell them on Ebay, it was the only way I had of making money at the time, a friend of mine asked me how I made them cause she wanted to make some to put in her yard, after she learned how she started selling them on ebay too, which made the price of those go down. I eventually couldn't sell any more. Wasn't that wrong? This is the same thing.
There has to be some even ground. Couldn't a person learn a technique and maybe improve upon it or alter it into their own "style" and turn it into something else, i.e. does it have to be a bottle tutorial, couldn't it be something completely different with their own techniques taught and yet still be influenced by the things learned?
I don't know. This is a very hard topic to talk about and everyone has their own opinions. Maybe someday we'll all find some common ground. Hugs girl!

Anne Lorys said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thespoena McLaughlin said...

Having read Lisa's reply I do agree very much with things she has said too and I don't think it is wrong to share what you have learned with close friends. My comment was geared more towards selling a "re-make" tutorial online in the hypothetical.

patty said...

When I was in college part of the learning process was to sit and copy the "old masters", part of that was to learn the flow, the movement of creating. In movement we learn to create and then our own personal style evolves.
I have been following JoAnnA blog for a long time and her victim/drama seems to work good to generate business for her. She is talented and I am sad for her that she persists in playing "the victim". A good example to think twice about putting out comments and blog posts with harsh critical words.

Thanks for addressing this matter in a dignified manner.

Nothing is realy ever new

Janel said...

What everyone here fails to see is that the part of copying that is not comfortable for JoAnna is this, the person (Lisa) took JoAnnA's style of tutorial and online class and is now using it as her own tutorial for teaching purposes. It has nothing to with using Joanna's technique or her bottles. It's cloning her everything and passing it off as her own. For that this Lisa person is wrong, and Somerset/Stampington should know they are publishing a copy cat artist.

Charlene said...

WOW!!! This is a hot issue. I agree with so many of the comments above. From #1 the give credit where credit is due (but, please if you got an image a year ago it's probably not the only image & you probably don't remember where you got it or I've seen more than one person share the same image so let's NOT be silly about expecting a huge round of applause after a period of time of sharing). #2 To the if you put it out there on the world wide web it is NO LONGER JUST YOURS (the over a thousand hits for a bottle comment). #3 If you got paid money for it you sold the idea. If you made it & sold it... YOU SOLD IT! Take your money & move on.

We each teach/take classes, buy/sell, & so on where we choose to do so. I hate all this controversy. When it comes to an idea I don't think any of us OWN 100% of all the rights to anything.

But, I do have to say Dawn, you have always been a most generous & sharing person which I think has been a blessing to all of us. You have always said here is what I have take it & create. It has always been given in a very loving way & I applaud you & thank you for that generous spirit. Ownership carries a HEAVY PRICE! Have a blessed day & I hope we all agree or disagree & MOVE ON from all this negative. But, again I applaud you having the guts to open this forum. HUGS!

The Star Gal said...

All of this just makes me sad. I'm not an "artist", and I've never been published. I've always enjoyed the spirit of sharing and caring and support that I've received from other like-minded souls, be they artists or crafters. Again, this is all sad to me. So me,me,me. Apparently "artists" don't realize how blessed they already are.

maggiegracecreates said...

All I can say is WOW what a stir. I have used your inspiration and many others in my works.

Look at the silver bella posts from this years classes - even people in the same class at the same time come out with very different end results. I LOVE THAT.

I am sorry that there is so much negative press around a what should have been a smaller issue. I read all these blogs. I respect all of these people as artists and as individuals.

I am just so glad that GOD doesn't give grace for just those he wanted to share it with. I am also glad that He doesn't ATTACK those who fall short. I try so hard to live by that example and that includes not publicly attacking the people who hurt me.

This specific situation is so very sad and disheartening. Not the copying issue, but the way the fallout has been handled.

Erica said...

1. I am not a housewife, but respect their work as much as I would want someone to respect my own.
2. I have taken classes from Lisa and am in awe of her style and techniques.
3. I am sorry I missed out on the "controversial" altered bottle class.
4. I am a firm believer that part of being an artist is being a mentor to others.

Life is too short to have so much negativity in your life.

Dawn, thank you for addressing this subject and allowing everyone's ideas to come forth, both knowledgable and "crabby"!

Lana said...

Just because someone has published work in a magazine, doesn't mean that they are a "professional artist". Just the same as if someone walks around with a camera, doesn't make them a professional photographer.

To DEMAND recognition, in my opinion, makes one look like a fool.

To hide behind a sick husband and play a victim is even worse. To quote scripture and profess to be a christian is mockery.

I see now that her blog has gone 'private'. I think I know why.

Dawn's blog has always been a warm place to land, a wonderful blog, that has brought me a lot of comfort. Some days, her blog was the only beauty that I had. Her FREE downloads, FREE tutorials, just the way she shares bits and pieces of her life, is what keeps me coming back to this blog, over and over again. It's like visiting with an old friend, I always feel welcomed.

I've told many people about this blog, only to have them tell me, "I know, I already follow it" Dawn has never once tooted her own horn and demanded to be called an "ARTIST" and she certainly could, as she is more than talented AND published enough to do so.

I wouldn't spend a PENNY on any of the "Professional art work" from Joanna. her blog is cold and uninviting and her demand for recognition takes away from any beauty that her "professional art work" may hold.

As for Lisa or anyone else, you can teach a class on anything you want to. NO ONE has the right to dictate what you teach/show/share. I'm just curious, how many millions of dollars Lisa has made off of this prized tutorial. I guess she'll need those millions when the lawyers come knocking!

All of this is just my opinion, but then again, I'm just a lowly housewife, not a professional published artist.

The Cinnamon Stick said...

One day I found The Feathered Nest's blog...I don't know how. I saw a baby shoe pincushion...fell in love with it and wrote to Dawn and asked if she would sell me the "how to's" to make it. I also wanted to give a class "in my brick and mortar store" - immedicately Dawn responded...exact words I forget but in the mail came full instructions - no fee charged..and without ANY hesitation on her part. This prompted a discussion between us about "tutorials" and (Dawn can I claim to be the one that gave you this direction??)!!! the rest is history. I sell "altered bottles" made by two of the artists who make for our store - I don't know JoAnnA or Lisa but I am sure my bottles don't look anything like theirs...maybe the inspiration came from the same place but certainly not the items themselves. Geesch - I also sell candles....most are made with the same ingredients and the same scents....wonder who claims to be the first there?
I remember - when I was young and immature - I went to a craft show and saw a "wooden horse cutout" that I had drawn myself that we sold in our store - I was, first angry, then pissy and then smug that someone thought of it so well that they wanted to copy it. I am old and grown-up...I still get pissy (for a minute or two) and then very smug that someone wanted to copy ME !!
Now I am going to "google" altered bottles and see if I can get some "inspiration". Love you Dawn - please don't fret - I am taking the "high road" with the others - I found this post so interesting - it is nice to read how different artists feel.

Jann said...

Dearest Dawn--I have read many of the comments here--I agree with everything you said--if something is copyrighted, that's different--and most people won't copy it exactly and tell people it's their own original idea. However, if bloggers and artists are sharing images, techniques, ideas, etc., and they encourage others to create, using those images, techniques, and ideas, then obviously other artists are going to try to create from, and expand on, those things. You are right; no one piece of handmade art will ever be EXACTLY the same, and if it hadn't been for you and others like you, I wouldn't make much of anything because I don't have a lot of original thoughts in my head. It's sort of like following a pattern I buy at the fabric store. I can't invent a pattern of my own, and just start sewing a dress from scratch. So I buy the pattern and sew according to the pattern and directions. Maybe I'll end up with a similar dress compared with the woman down the street, but each of us might use a different fabric, or ribbon or piece of lace to make the garment our own. Don't let the few negative comments here discourage you. My dad always said, "Let's agree to disagree on this." And that's okay! Just keep doing what you do--you have inspired so many of us with your beautiful art and your generous soul!

Bettyann said...

Dear Dawn...what a "hot" topic...all I can say is that I enjoy your blog, love your style..we are all artists and please let's have some kindeness and respect here...

Shari Valicenti said...

Dawn, Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for airing this. I agree with kluless and am also paralized by all the beautiful, wonderful ideas that causes me to imagine my own version and then dismiss it because it may not be my own so I go no where. I finally did do some vintage bottles because I have been so drawn to them. My version was designed around a quote. I had many reservations about displaying them on my Etsy. I am so grateful that you aired this. For me it was freeing, it was such a complete RELEASE....I AM creative and we all gain inspiration from many people. When I studied art in college a painting prof had us do our own painting in the manor of our favorite artists. I chose Modigliani. It was such a learning experience. While I realize this can be a slippery slope I feel so much better about the fact that it is ok to pursue inspiration. I expect to reread this post often so I maintain my wings. Thank-you and bless you. BRAVO

Deb Plapp said...

WOW!, and OW! Yikes, touchy subject. I actually agree with both you and JoAnnA. It seems to me she was referring to people actually teaching a class online or whatever verbatim that she had taught, and calling it their own. Or am I mistaken about that? I would think it's pretty hard these days to be entirely unique and original. I too have thought about making things and selling them on Etsy, but kind of hesitate doing so due to someone saying I stole their idea. So, hope you gals work it out. Deb

Theory said...

it is a dog eat dog world out there unfortunately, learned that 30 years ago, and i vowed to never treat a young artist like i was treated. of course i have been copied, and i am flattered. my talent came from God and belongs to him, what i do with it is to please him. i won a national painting contest a few years ago and if the artist who has taught millions to paint had not shared her talent, millions would not have business's of their own today. how can you own what God has given you, it is not yours to own. the Bible says he will give wisdom to all who ask so let us seek it and love one another. agree to disagree and leave it there. when we are on our death bed will it matter then, i think not. MERRY CHRISTMAS DAWN YOU ARE THE WHAT A TRUE CHRISTAIN SHOULD BE, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR KINDNESS AND INSPIRATION. Theory, just a country gal in iowa. hugs and love

Nita Jo said...

Dawn, I love your generous spirit. I took the time to read every comment. As an unpublished writer, I am protective of my stories... but in stories, as well as art, there really is nothing new under the sun. The only thing that defines my stories and makes them unique is how I handled my life situations... my stamp on a story. It's the same with art...

If I draw a leaf, do I always remember to credit the original artist... our Creator? Do I thank Him for the colors, the lines, the collage of nature and beauty.

I will not judge either of the parties... I pray all will be resolved in a good way. I have enjoyed both blogs in the past.

Thank you for freeing me to try my hand at some projects. I worried so much about my work looking too much like yours (fairy in a jar tutorial), that I put it on the "back shelf"... I am going to pick it up again, and when it is complete I'll be sure to send you a photo!

I can't thank you enough for providing a haven of love, creativity, and generosity in this blog world we are a part of. Yours is the first one I go to when I sign in!

Bless you!
Nita Jo

Recycled Rita said...

Wow! This is a sticky situation! Both women are wonderful artists....I would feel better had your followers not been put down as just being "housewives" I am a wife, mom and I work but I work harder when I have a chance to be at home and really run my home the way it should be.... Maybe those wonderful commentors are teachers, janitors, business women or fellow artists also!!!
It is evident by the comment on googling that many people design and create those beautiful bottles. As a matter of fact I had a store owner tell me she wouldn't purchase anymore decorated bottles from artists that she supports because there is such a fight over who designed these bottles originally between different artists and she didn't want to be caught in the middle of the fight. Now who is benefitting from all this nonsense? Nobody...
We all take ideas from many different sources and fly with it... If you don't want people to learn your technique..don't teach it!
Thanks for bringing this subject up in such a refined way...And thank you for sharing your images and designs with us Dawn, you are very generous! karen....

kecia deveney said...

I'm sorry, but i just have to weigh in here regardless of who is being discussed. This topic is what i like to refer to "as the dark side of art" and although i could write pages and pages on the topic, this is all i have to say about it: in the grand scheme of life, there are much more important things to be worrying about than this sort of stuff.

Heather said...

WOW...I just entered this tangled web and have been reading the comments...I say WOW again! First off, I would like to THANK any artist who has shared their talents and taught others how to "possibly" create a similar product. I have had "ideas" used by someone else for their financial gain (even using a picture of my daughter at one point...) But..as many before me have said, everyone has looked at an idea and tried to recreate it...Art is always inspirational!!

I have personally deleted the rest of my comment because what is important here is that you, Dawn are incredibly CLASSY...that is all I have to say about this! I did have a LOT to say, but deleted for all of our sake.... ;) Let's just say, I didn't appreciate being called an "empty soul" or a "housewife"...

Rose Brier Studio said...

Dawn, I want to thank you for this post. It has inspired a lot of passion on a subject that is important. I'm really grateful to you for creating a space to discuss the whole issue of "copying" and for allowing all those who wish to comment to do so.

My own experience is that no matter how hard I try to copy exactly, whatever I make just ends up looking like mine. Years ago I saw a beautiful wreath in a friend's shop. I loved it and wanted to make it and add it to the line of handcrafted items I sold at local gift shops. I used the same material, colors, even the same fancy french ribbon. I liked the result and was able to add it to my items for sale. However, the friend who's wreath I had tried to copy commented on how fun it was to see her idea done so differently! Since then I have never worried about being a "copy-cat," I find I just can't do it. If, as artists, we carefully listen to our own muse or sensibility, it will be all our own product, no matter what the inspiration!

I've taken lots of art & craft classes over the years, also taught some. I guess I would be miffed if someone taught a class exactly like I had designed, but with so much individuality in the art world, I find that hardly ever happens. And there really are not a limited number of creative ideas.

Diane @ Haute Flashion said...

The fashion industry settled these debates years ago and the industry has profited immmensely from the decision. Watch this video to learn how a lack of copyright protection actually has caused the industry to soar! The type of protectionism that some have advocated on this subject in blogland would ultimately lead to creative stagnation.

This is an incredible lesson....



Wow. Sounds like someone forgot...

"What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun."

And lest I be accused of plagiarism, do let me credit this to Ecclesiastes 1:9. Sheesh!

Thanks Dawn for the graceful way you handled a tough topic and thanks for always sharing your knowledge with an open heart. I love your art and I'm sure some of your inspiration will show up in something I do someday, but rest assured, it will be with my spin on it.


Leanne said...

Dawn, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Since venturing into the art world from the writing world, I know I have to create my own style. In the way that I can recognize Suzi Blu, Karla Nathan, yourself, etc.

But I won't discover my own style unless I learn techniques and discovers what sings to me. My style hasn't settled yet, but I'll be grateful to a bunch of artists alive and dead when it does make an appearance.

The other thing is that I don't do this for publication or starting a business (remind me that I said this if either of these things happen!) but for me. I need to be creative and thinking creatively...

Kathy said...

I would be in sorry shape if none of you creative artists would share what you know with me a crafter, never going to mass produce or teach or sell -Just place in my own home or give as a gift to a friend . One example I could use is Tim Holtz -Christmas tags he is doing this week -I could try to copy him step by step and I could NEVER even get a fraction close to his style. I think you have the right idea it is a compliment that others want to "copy" your ideas but we will never even get close to your inner spirit being transformed into visual art.
Blessings to you in this season of reflection ,

just me... jan said...

Excuse me but I have to say it...am I the only one to notice that there were just SEVEN people present in the workshop everyone is so worked up about?? You women hurling accusations so loudly about "stealing ideas", "selling another's work", "teaching workshops verbatim" etc....Were you there?? Can you truthfully say you know what happened in that workshop?? Of course not. Well, I WAS there. I DO know what transpired on that Sunday afternoon. I seriously doubt an idea was "stolen" that day...one can argue 24/7 and I'll never be convinced that Pierotti is the FIRST person to have painted wax on the sides of a bottle (I did this as a girl scout 50 years ago) or put solder on the top. Please! I was surprised when I saw something similar while walking through a furniture store two days ago...should Pierotti attempt to track down the manufacturer of THAT bottle for stealing "her" idea? As for teaching a workshop "verbatim"...this point is simply laughable. Anyone who has taken a class with McIlvain knows "verbatim" is a term foreign to her vocabularly...she's a creative who teaches on the fly...pushing her students to bring out the best in themselves. Until this hubbub began I'd only heard Pierotti's name once...uttered by McIlvain at the workshop in question as a source of inspiration. I checked out her blog and discovered a small cache of photographs of HER altered bottles...ummmm...has anyone compared the six bottles those of us in McIlvain's class created to those pictured on Pierotti's blog? The differing workmanship is staggering. The attention to detail and advanced technique amazed me. The materials and workmanship she applied to her bottles were far more advanced than anything we addressed or created in our three hour span. Just looking at those photographs tells me that McIlvain took what appealed to her and developed her own stylized product...a "McIlvain bottle"...she urged us to do the same for ourselves...none of us created anything that looked similar to the other bottles. Both women have created their own easily identifiable styles and are to be commended for it. And so I ask myself...why the hubbub? Pierotti "sold" information, McIlvain "purchased" it, sifted out what struck a chord to her and adapted it to suit her taste. Should McIlvain be chastised because she simply chose to impart her knowledge, in her style, to others? Of course not. Without the open exchange of information none of us would be able to express and/or advance our creativity. It's time to stop finger pointing, believe in one's abilities, and let the art do the talking...if worthy, the work will prove out and forge one's reputation.

the gypsy chick said...

wow, very well said dawn!
what is the saying: imitation is the sincerest of flattery.
if you are a teacher & teaching someone how to do something, then you shouldn't scold the student for becoming successful, but take pride in the hand that lead someone to that success.

The Food Monkey said...


I just want to say that I can understand the work you have put into your classes, and that it's very important to you. To have someone else take your class then use your literature to teach classes in turn, well, I don't agree with that, specifically. There are gray areas there, though, too.

Now, I have to say that I don't know the specific background on this subject. I don't know what this person did, exactly, only what I glean from the other comments and Dawn's post.

That said, that I understand where you're coming from, I STILL don't think you have any right to insult those that state their own opinion. I read Dawn's entire post and didn't see your name listed. I thought the entire point of a blog was to state your opinion or your view of the world around you. So let her do just that.

As for your comments about housewives, well, that was just downright mean. I myself am not religious, quite the opposite, and even *I* know that's not a nice thing to say to someone, anyone, especially if they did nothing to you personally. Not that you care about my opinion, but I say shame on you, from a fellow human. I'd even go so far as to bet you that at least ONE of the people who have taken one of your classes was one of those very "housewives from blogland" that you belittle so. Maybe you'll remember that while teaching your next class. These people pay for your classes, toots. You'd do well to be NICE to them.

Because I am not a Christian, I have soo many more things I could say to you, but I will refrain, because I know it's not my place to judge you, beyond what I view of your comments here. I understand you're hurting, or offended, or inconvenienced, so I hope as a fellow artist and blogger that Dawn and the other wonderful readers here can forgive any trespasses you make against them. Good luck to you in the future.

Lily's Lace said...

Dear Dawn, I just learned of this HUGE controversy and, after reading all the comments and I agree with you.

My question is, when a person calls themselves a "teacher" of a class, workshop or whatever, does that not mean to share knowledge in order to enhance or increase the students ability?

I guess having a mother who was a public school teacher for 25 years, I have a problem with the notion of the "ownership of knowledge". I understand that by teaching a class you are providing an income for yourself. But once your student walks out of your classroom, that knowledge or skill has been shared and for that matter paid for, to do what they wish. Do our teachers or college professors say to you or your children,"well I showed you how to make flow charts exciting, if you get a good job and make a good salary off of it, I should be paid." My mother would help new teachers with lesson plans, new ideas, and they even had workshops to share these ideas to help fellow teachers make a living by keeping their student's minds active and productive.

New ideas are what keep our minds and hearts filled with creativity. How many times have we all seen something new and gotten excited at the thought of creating it ourselves! I don't like the idea of someone policing what I create and what I share. Again, this is my opinion.

I hope this problem is resolved by the time I have posted this comment.

Dawn I wish you well and I applaud you for addressing this, "problem." I hope the year 2011 is a wonderful year for you and all of your readers. You are blessed with the "profit" of many friends who love you and your work, myself included. Many thanks-Cindy


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