Monday, 23 January 2012

My input on an emotive subject.

In October 2010 I had a necklace project published in 'Beadwork' magazine - 'Sonya' if you want to look it up. Shortly after it was published I was sent a link by a fellow beader to a Korean sales site, the whole project was being sold for peanuts - photographs and diagrams copied directly from the magazine, and the finished necklace they had used as a project image looked as if a blind six year old had made it! It hurt more than I thought it would have, and it took a letter from 'Beadwork' to finally get them to pull it from sale. It actually felt as if I had been burgled, any love I had for that particular necklace disappeared shortly afterwards.
I realised then that the only way to beat the design thieves was to either make something so technically challenging it wasn't worth them trying to copy it, or to just suck it up and get on with the next design. I did both. 
The beading community has become paranoid about copying, admittedly with good reason, but while we are squabbling about who owns what and who stole what, the Chinese and the Koreans are quietly copying and selling everything we make - and there are so many sites selling this that you will never get 'em all!
I sympathise - no, I empathise - with those of you who feel you have had your hours of work stolen by a passing opportunist, but I also believe that getting engrossed in a battle with a fellow beader really isn't worth it. Move on and suck it up, remember the incident by all means, but don't let it ruin your Art. I would have to look up the last design I did, because I am making another, and the only thing that's important is the now, if anyone wants to copy the past I cannot stop them - I can shout and sabre wave, but I can't stop them. 
As beadworkers we are a very incestuous group, we all know one another's work, and we can look out for each other, but we don't have to like every one of our contemporaries - and we certainly don't have to trust them, most of whom are only known through the medium of the internet. When you make a design that is able to be copied then expect it to be copied, it will happen, and there ain't nuthin' you can do about it!
I shall now go back to trying to design a stealth necklace that nobody can see on the beading radar.


  1. Thank you kind sir. I could not agree more I don't want to harbor all those negative feelings in my heart.

    1. I agree too. I stopped beading for that very reason. I couldn't stand all the bickering about who invented which stitch. The polymer community is a horse of a different color. (No offense to all my beady friends, but it gets crazy out there)

      With the internet, as you say, everything that can be copied, will be copied. Just imagine if you spent millions making a movie and it gets copied..........happens every day. That was the whole reason behind SOPA and PIPA. There is no way to stop it without causing havoc. Best to keep making new things and stay ahead of them...........

  2. I very much empathize with you Peter. As Im sure all of your other friends do. And we all saw first hand what this sort of infighting can cause when it hit a very dear friend to both of us recently. That is why whenever I make or design anything that has even a whisper of a hint of some others work I am only too happy to include credit to that artist for their help and inspiration to my own endeavor. And any copying I see I simply take as a compliment that they liked it so well that they tried to make it too. However you are only too correct when it comes to the copiers. They have made it a business. But in the end it will cost them dearly. Because when you are so consumed with copying another's works you lose the ability to create your own. So it is really them who will pay much more than they gain. I would not trade my creativity and imagination for all the money in the world. Not even to recreate the Mona Lisa! My work might not be nearly so grand as that? But it is mine and that's all I need. :)

  3. Good post. Good attitude. I lean more to fiber art right now. The same situation exists there. I guess it exists in every medium. The sad thing is there are many that have chosen not to share their art on line anymore. I miss them, I miss their art, not to mention their inspiration.

  4. I'm with Auntie Annie. It's crazy-making - and it's unfair, but I ask myself if I want to also to give the copy-cats days of my feeling cheated and angry. And Peter, if anybody can do "technically challenging" - it's you.

  5. Yes Peter you are so right. I needed to hear this because I want to create and offer those who like my creations the ability to create it themselves. Sharing is a huge part of the good in our beading community. Thank you for reminding us of that!

  6. Greetings Peter. I have been following a recent "copying" drama on the internet and I have also been copied myself. The drama is a distraction from the creativity and can cripple one's own creativity if you let it.
    You have summed up how I feel about the whole thing and I thank you.
    I just trust that a new design or the "next step" to my work is on the way to me after my last has been copied.

  7. I was determined to keep out of the squabble on Facebook 'twixt two very experienced beaders who should have known better than to air their dirty washing in public, but I did try to be as diplomatic as I could with the post.............kinda screwed the diplomacy bit up now though! :))) We are Artists, not politicians, just get on with doing what makes you happy - if other people like it as well count it as a bonus, but remember that the world is 80% assholes and 20% the rest of us!

  8. Thank you Peter for these insightful and much-needed words of wisdom. I was also determined to keep out of said squabble, as I usually do in such situations where I don't know both sides of the story. I managed to succeed in that, for the most part, but I must admit that the whole situation disturbed me much more than I should have let it. Your post is the best response I have seen to this whole situation, and I can only hope that more people in our beading community take it to heart.