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Inspiration

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Jackie Beckman
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Inspiration

Postby Jackie Beckman » Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:52 pm

I’ve gotten so many e-mails on this subject the past two days that I figured it would be easier to post my thoughts here rather than repeat them over and over in email responses. Besides, everyone who emailed me is from the board, so it’s probably a good topic of interest here. To paraphrase the different inquiries, basically it came down to, “when does inspiration cross the line?â€

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:10 pm

Very nicely put Jackie.

Amy Schleif-Mohr
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Postby Amy Schleif-Mohr » Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:23 pm

It's always good to bring this subject up from time to time. Thanks Jackie.

I have reciently received several e-mails asking me how I do my work. I personally am not ready to teach the technique I use. But, the technique is not really the emphasis of my work either. I believe that my work is more about color combinations and the elements of 3D design and composition than anything else.

On that note I do believe there is a time and place for a student to "copy" a master or teacher. I strongly believe that the only time and place for this is in the classroom and only for the purposes of learning and NEVER to be sold (the student's piece).

As for the insparation line, I have had a similar experience as Jackie. I wanted to mount a piece on a piece of stone using metal rod to hold it up. I saw this first on a Cheers Bob piece. I e-mailed him about it just to make sure I wasn't stepping on his toes. This, I feel is the prudent thing to do in a case where you aren't sure if it's ok or not.

I'm not sure if I've muddied the waters or made any sense.

Amy

Barbara Silverberg
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Postby Barbara Silverberg » Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:53 pm

Thank you for addressing this important issue. The comments were thoughful and well presented.

Bob
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Postby Bob » Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:10 pm

Ah Jackie, you're opening that pandora's box again. We are all influenced somehow. My interest in texture and powder comes from seeing William Morris pieces on a visit to Seattle, and purchasing has "Artifacts" book. His use of colour, the subtlety and strength of his work left a huge impact on me. So I guess I am guilty of copying...just joking.

The line you wonder about crossing (by my definition) is defined by someon's answer to the question: What is your work about?

If the answer is "It's about $150" then I believe the person has been stongly influenced by technique and might be "copying".

If the answer is "It is about textures as records of events" (in my case) then it becomes a different matter. Evem if Mr Morris and I intend to express the same concepts with our art it doesn't really matter. I have my story. I just wish I could tell it as well as he does.

When our work expresses or evokes an emotional response, and we are able to communicate this in an articulate manner then technique doesn't really matter. For those interested in pursuing this line of thought try writing an answer (I think they are called artist statements) and tuck it away in a drawer. Then do it again six months from now.

So I don't mind if someone uses an existing technique if they have the emotional response to defend/justify/support the work. Even if they copy it.

And Amy... I am certain that I am not the first person to use steel rods in stone as a stand. Just can't remember who I ripped it off from.

Cheers,

Bob

Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:31 pm

I agree J & A. When people have asked me for info. I always give it freely but there is a bit of a lurch in my stomach wondering if I will see something that looks like my work start appearing somewhere (except of course my work is relatively schizophrenic). Recently when I showed my floating boxes Amy said something like, "Nonfunctional boxes, now that gives me ideas!" and for a second I was like "Ahhh--no wait, I have a whole series of these I have designed and I don't want someone else doing them too! Especially someone as good as Amy is..." but of course knowing Amy and her beliefs and individuality that feeling only last for a second, just a knee jerk reaction that anyone has that is trying to make it in this business. At the level we are talking about we all want to, and let's be honest HAVE to, make a name for ourselves, and have a style that sets us apart from others, or we are sunk. Bob I do agree with you in that its okay to use a technique but I don't think you should make something in someone else's style even if it expresses something for you. Technique yes, style no.
Amy

Jackie Beckman
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Postby Jackie Beckman » Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:49 pm

Bob wrote:Ah Jackie, you're opening that pandora's box again. We are all influenced somehow. My interest in texture and powder comes from seeing William Morris pieces on a visit to Seattle, and purchasing has "Artifacts" book. His use of colour, the subtlety and strength of his work left a huge impact on me. So I guess I am guilty of copying...just joking.

The line you wonder about crossing (by my definition) is defined by someon's answer to the question: What is your work about?

If the answer is "It's about $150" then I believe the person has been stongly influenced by technique and might be "copying".

If the answer is "It is about textures as records of events" (in my case) then it becomes a different matter. Evem if Mr Morris and I intend to express the same concepts with our art it doesn't really matter. I have my story. I just wish I could tell it as well as he does.

When our work expresses or evokes an emotional response, and we are able to communicate this in an articulate manner then technique doesn't really matter. For those interested in pursuing this line of thought try writing an answer (I think they are called artist statements) and tuck it away in a drawer. Then do it again six months from now.

So I don't mind if someone uses an existing technique if they have the emotional response to defend/justify/support the work. Even if they copy it.

Cheers,

Bob


Well Bob, I agree with some of your points, but lets face it - you are first of all admitting that you derive inspiration from William Morris. (Don't we all, but perhaps in different ways! :twisted: ) Second of all - your work doesn't look like his!

The absolute best definition I've ever seen about "crossing the line" just came to me in a "PM" but naturally I'll not disclose from whom, just the jest of a much longer message:

all i can say is when the "inspiration" is so astonishing as to make the viewer think of the name of the artist they associate the "look" with, there is something more than simple "inspiration" going on.

Bob
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Postby Bob » Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:51 pm

Hi Amy,

I agree with you that it is okay to use other people's technique ... the style should be your own. I guess I didn't express it very well.

I believe and hope that as people develop their "voice" that the technique that they borrowed starts to be modified to express their ideas. Besides, direct knock-offs of other artists' technique and style, although it is "OK",won't get people very far... even if they do have a common belief.

Cheers,

Bob

Jack Bowman
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Postby Jack Bowman » Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:08 pm

Funny that this thread should come up today. Two days ago I received a letter from a local artist accusing me of being unethical and violating copyright law.

The peice in question was made by breaking stringer pulled from a drip pot. The curly stringer was then randomly placed on a clear blank and then some frit and handmade confetti was also randomly placed to embellish. Now, we're not talking masterpiece here. I certainly didn't think I was doing anything new but was curious what the outcome would look like. The fired piece was then slumped on a 6" square wavy mold that I obtained either at Seattle Pottery or Capitol Ceramics. It is a very common mold and have seen it used by many fusers. In fact it was headed to my scrap bin until my wife talked me out of it.

The accuser implies the use of "squiggly lines and frit" violates copyright law because she has been making these for over two years. She went on to say that it "certainly was the same style as my work, even slumped in the same mold". Her use of the wavy mold is also protected?

It has been requested that I pull any such peices that I have in the Salt Lake market and refrain from creating any more.

The strange part of all of this is that the peice in question was made before I had ever seen this persons work and I had been slumping wavy trays long before that.

This brings me to two questions:

1. Can I get my money back for the molds?
2. What will I do with all of this stringer that I made in Patty Gray's class? :wink:

Jack

Jack Bowman
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Postby Jack Bowman » Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:09 pm

Funny that this thread should come up today. Two days ago I received a letter from a local artist accusing me of being unethical and violating copyright law.

The peice in question was made by breaking stringer pulled from a drip pot. The curly stringer was then randomly placed on a clear blank and then some frit and handmade confetti was also randomly placed to embellish. Now, we're not talking masterpiece here. I certainly didn't think I was doing anything new but was curious what the outcome would look like. The fired piece was then slumped on a 6" square wavy mold that I obtained either at Seattle Pottery or Capitol Ceramics. It is a very common mold and have seen it used by many fusers. In fact it was headed to my scrap bin until my wife talked me out of it.

The accuser implies the use of "squiggly lines and frit" violates copyright law because she has been making these for over two years. She went on to say that it "certainly was the same style as my work, even slumped in the same mold". Her use of the wavy mold is also protected?

It has been requested that I pull any such peices that I have in the Salt Lake market and refrain from creating any more.

The strange part of all of this is that the peice in question was made before I had ever seen this persons work and I had been slumping wavy trays long before that.

This brings me to two questions:

1. Can I get my money back for the molds?
2. What will I do with all of this stringer that I made in Patty Gray's class? :wink:

Jack

BTW, the person in question is not "our" Cynthia.

Jack Bowman
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Postby Jack Bowman » Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:11 pm

Darn. I posted twice. But the second post has one line added at the end that I consider important. Please read at least the last line of the second post.

Thank you,

Jack

Brock
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Postby Brock » Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:14 pm

1. Can I get my money back for the molds?
2. What will I do with all of this stringer that I made in Patty Gray's class?

Jack

1. No
2. This person is insane. Ignore them and keep using any materials your little heart desires. Melvin
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Tim Swann
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Postby Tim Swann » Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:47 pm

Jackie,

This is an interesting issue that I tackle in a different way. I do not currently sell any of the fused work I do. My kids think I am nuts with all of the glass around the house. If someone offers to buy a piece I have made I refuse and offer instead to teach them to make their own piece. To this day my offer has only been taken up by 2 people. I suspect it has to do with the time commitment required or material cost that stops most people. If someone wants to copy something I do without instruction it is not likely to look the same. Most of the things I do have take from 50 to 100 hours to assemble, which is too much time for most folks. Pendants take less time at about 10 hours. It is not likely that someone is going to set up an assembly line of for what I do without modifying the design to shorten the time. Don’t get me wrong I do not agree with infringing upon the copyrights or designs of others with out getting their permission.

Tim

Ron Coleman
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Postby Ron Coleman » Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:36 pm

[quote]“When does inspiration cross the line?â€
Ron

[img:35:20]http://mrcol.freeyellow.com/coffee.gif[/img]

Cher
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Postby Cher » Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:25 am

[quote="Ron Coleman"][quote]“When does inspiration cross the line?â€
>^..^<

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:31 am

I just read through this thread up to now and with the exception of Jack Bowman, who has a real issue to deal with, I don't get it.

I get that we all inspire each other and that is an interesting phenomonon. Usually the outcome is personal and identifiable. Occassionally 2 people are hit with the same idea in different places.

From my perspective, I think we are all moving forward. I am personally turned off by some people's "knock off" work. I won't be buying it.

Store bought molds are an interesting dillemma. I use some myself, but I am happier when I either have a mold made for myself or make one myself. On the other hand certain "classic" shapes are useful to realize a vision.

Just do it.
Bert

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Kevin Midgley
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Postby Kevin Midgley » Sat Mar 13, 2004 1:11 am

This is an interesting thread. We all learn from this board, but we all have some secrets that we care not to share. It is sort of like the baker who gets a special recipe from one place in the world and has all the instructions and details in the recipe but somehow on returning home can't quite replicate the originals. A "something" is missing.
However in glass, 'recipe" materials are often consistent and from the same source so that copiers of recipes can have an easier time. The way to avoid the wavy plate problem is to make you own molds. The last thing a genuine artist wants to do is to copy exactly someone else's work either directly or derivatively.
As to those requesting techniques and detailed recipes in my studio who are looking specifically to replicate my studio's style of work, they don't get their answers.
I had one rude couple from the prairie provinces of Canada visit my studio last year that were totally indignant that I should not give them my 25 years of kiln firing experience and knowledge for free. They even implied that they wanted to copy my style of glass in their studio.
The true artist will keep growing in style and content of their work. After 25 years of essentially all float glass, I am finally expanding to Bullseye so that I can make works I cannot do with the float.
Some people don't like the idea of signing and copyright dating their work. Your dating of your glass is your first small level of protection against those who wish to replicate your work. Knock offs and the people who make them are a pain.

Kevin in Tofino

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:24 am

Whew! Thanks to Jack for clarifying that the crazy person in SLC isn't me...Although I can be a little crazy at times, I'm a little more secure about my work than that, and simply would have had him killed if he tried to copy my stuff. :lol:

Take what you learn and use it in personal and distinctive ways to express yourself with those time tested techniques. Jackie gave perfect examples of people who are doing just that.

If you are focused on finding a personal and distinctive voice, continue to play/explore and experiment. You'll find you start repeating a theme or rhythm in your pieces and if you are open to the process, you will start evolving that theme and rhythm...it starts to take on a life of it's own and you are on your way to developing that voice if you are willing to go along for the ride.

I have a "Thing...or Complement of Things" that intrigue me...it's three's, contrasts and divisions. Three's, contrast and divisions? So what, your twisted, nuts, boring? Well, I like to divide space into threes, I like contrast between one thing and the next; The pull you can create with line quality and color, sharp and soft, transparent and opaque. I love to play with that puzzle and get the balance to work in spite of a lack of symmetry, or better put, because of a lack of symmetry...ooooh, I love those combinations that create texture, light, surprises, interest. I don't know if anyone else sees that in my work. It doesn't matter though because the process and the end result are what float my boat. I'm excited because I've just started this journey and I hope it never ends. The work informs me what my next move is if I'm willing to listen.

I think that might be my current artists statement Bob...and it's a bit different today than it was six months ago. It will change a bit again with time and more work.

This aspect to why I do what I do will be my anchor regardless of where I take my work. I am moving in a new direction in terms of form and enlarging my theme, my focus, my statement...or maybe I'm distilling it. It's throwing a new set of challenges to my skills as a kiln former...and is testing my patience, but fortunately there are folks out there who have already done what I am attempting to do...so I talk to them, and they are generous with me. I think they are generous with me because they know I will make it mine.

I emailed about this new direction with many. I emailed Ron Coleman for some technical support, Marty Kremer because in looking at his site, I saw he had already done what I planned to do...I contacted several others who I simply wanted to bounce around and share my ideas with. Honestly, I am a little anxious that I showed my hand about what I am up to with so many people. (Amy B. touched on this feeling). If I am being realistic, I don't need to feel anxious. These friends and cohorts won't take/copy my concept because they can't really since it's mine to evolve, and if they did play with that same theme and concept, they would come to different ends than I will. That's why I'm not concerned that although what I am going to do isn't new and original in terms of form...it will be unique and distinctively mine in terms of concept, theme, rhythm, statement, design...

Does that make sense? Make it your own, find your distinctive style, voice, whatever you want to call it. If you aspire to frit paint a la Roger Thomas, make sure the content is your own. It's pretty simple.

Frit painting isn't copyrighted by Roger is it?

Linda Reed
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Postby Linda Reed » Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:41 am

This topic is always a hot topic, but there is alway fresh data to look at 8) so it is also always new... A good topic never resolves (that's the definition)...

There are people who teach styles - Bob Leatherbarrow's wafer's; Brock's trays; Avery's micas; Patty's combed and thick pieces; the high fire stuff I first learned in Jock Dopler and Doug Randall's high fire class; Bert's float techniques... looking at Ron's distinctive precision, looking at Jackies colors and textures, looking at Doug's pattern bars, looking at Lisa's matte finishes, Tony's textures precision and blasts... All the main posters here have a style. I've incorporated bits and pieces from all of these. And nothing I do looks like if was done by Brock or Patty or Avery or Bob or Bert (etc)
(darn!!)
but all of my new stuff always has a bit of the things I have just learned and incorporated somewhere in the depths. (really)

We all learn from everthing we see.

It's only when someone looks at a piece and thinks.... hmmm Is that artist a or artist b? that it becomes an issue of TOO much sharing. Most of us will take a technique and go a direction that is clearly different than anyone else's - just because we are all individual's with differant things to say to the world.

Everyone I have ever taken a class from, and to a lessor extent, anyone whose work I have seen, has influenced me. Some to my benefit, some to their consternation :( , but all to my knowledge base. I think that even if I 'copy' a technique, it won't look like a copy-cat work, becuase my ideals are different and my style is different and because of a lot of things - politics. laze, available glass, kiln size, preceptions of what the audience wants.... and on and on.

In the end, I think that those of you doing the real high end stuff will not incur harm by being copied, and those of us doing small local shows may find that the next show suddenly has copies, but that is what inspires us to grow, change, copy the more advanced artists in our own way.. and on and on.

Where the 'line' comes in for those on you that are in the upper echelon and competing for the big shows... that's a little more important. Can your average educated gallery owner/buyer look at a work and say, that piece is a Beckman, that piece is an Oliver, that piece is an
Anderson...

To tired to keep thinking,

Lind
"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. ...The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours." ~ Ayn Rand

Linda Reed
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Postby Linda Reed » Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:54 am

This topic is always a hot topic, but there is alway fresh data to look at 8) so it is also always new... A good topic never resolves (that's the definition)...

There are people who teach styles - Bob Leatherbarrow's wafer's; Brock's trays; Avery's micas; Patty's combed and thick pieces; the high fire stuff I first learned in Jock Dopler and Doug Randall's high fire class; Bert's float techniques... looking at Ron's distinctive precision, looking at Jackies colors and textures, looking at Doug's pattern bars, looking at Lisa's matte finishes, Tony's textures precision and blasts... All the main posters here have a style. I've incorporated bits and pieces from all of these. And nothing I do looks like if was done by Brock or Patty or Avery or Bob or Bert (etc)
(darn!!)
but all of my new stuff always has a bit of the things I have just learned and incorporated somewhere in the depths. (really)

We all learn from everthing we see.

It's only when someone looks at a piece and thinks.... hmmm Is that artist a or artist b? that it becomes an issue of TOO much sharing. Most of us will take a technique and go a direction that is clearly different than anyone else's - just because we are all individual's with differant things to say to the world.

Everyone I have ever taken a class from, and to a lessor extent, anyone whose work I have seen, has influenced me. Some to my benefit, some to their consternation :( (some things, I just never do 'get'...), but all to my knowledge base. I think that even if I 'copy' a technique, it won't look like a copy-cat work, because my ideals are different and my style is different and because of a lot of things - politics, laze, available glass, kiln size, preceptions of what the audience wants.... and on and on.

In the end, I think that those of you doing the real high end stuff will not incur harm by being copied, and those of us doing small local shows may find that the next show suddenly has copies, but that is what inspires us to grow, change, copy the more advanced artists in our own way.. and on and on.

Where the 'line' comes in for those on you that are in the upper echelon and competing for the big shows... that's a little more important. Can your average educated gallery owner/buyer look at a work and say, that piece is a Beckman, that piece is an Oliver, that piece is an Anderson...

Z? all kinds of thought to pomder.

Lind
"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. ...The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours." ~ Ayn Rand


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