Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Copyrights and Inspiration

There has been talk around the internet regarding copying each other's work and/or not giving credit where credit is due. I want to state my opinion on the matter.

I believe we should honor our teacher's and sources of inspiration. I personally adore the work of Eni Oken, Iza Malzyck and Lynne Merchant. These women have shined a light on the beauty of wire and opened my mind to possibilities. Sharilyn Miller is the most excellent teacher and I would be no where without her. I have said all this before.http://theangstyartist.blogspot.com/2009/07/behind-scenes.html

When I was interviewed on Bead_Pearles blog http://beads-perles.blogspot.com/2010/03/mary-tucker.html I mentioned these women, and I hope I honored them. I hope they feel honored by me. Iza Malzyck is still the number one exit link off this blog, and whenever I mention a specific design that inspired me, she gets as much web traffic as this little blog is capable of.

I have purchased tutorials from Iza and Eni, that I did not need. Books from Sharilyn that I did not need. Simply because I felt I owed them something monetarily for their influence.

If any of these women ever felt dishonored by me, I hope to have a chance to show them I care. Just because my conscience is clear, doesn't mean I would not bend and adapt to spare the feelings of another person.

Usually when I do a new design that I know is directly related to anyone at all, on or off the net, I mention their name and their influence in the work. Sometimes I explore the wire and end up in similar places as other artists, in such cases I do not usually mention their name. I may have arrived at the same place, but I arrived by my own path.

I have made a design that is 100% the same as Sharilyn Miller without ever seeing that design until years later. Sometimes the matter comes down to whether or not you believe what someone tells you. I have actually felt pressure to LIE and say I was inspired by someone else even when I wasn't. Just so that I would not look bad. Maybe you have also felt that pressure.

Though I believe in honoring our inspirations and teachers, I don't believe we should be enslaved by them. I don't believe it is empowering to set down every jot and tittle of their influences on each piece we make.

Some people are starting to find my own work to be an inspiration and I'm thrilled. Some of these people already had similar ideas, it's just that I beat them to it. Haven't we all had that happen to us? Most of them have made me feel plenty honored. They have mentioned my name and linked my blog and have far repaid me anything they have owed. But I would never want them to have to mention my name over and over every time they make a item that is inspired by that same theme. No one should have to feel afraid or fret that I will be after them for every design they make. Most of these women have already made their own contributions to weaves and vessels and have inspired me right back.

There are people who abuse this. There always will be people who give no honor or sideline their inspirations completely and some who outright steal whole designs and even teach them as their own. I do think such things are wrong. They are hurtful. And they are also against copyright law.

I am going to do something new and different very soon. I have already begun it. I am writing you a free GUIDE on how to make a trinket box. It will be on my blog in less than a week.

Wire is something to joy over. People are for caring about. We can care about each other and we can have fun.


  1. Well said, mary! Your post expresses my opinion as well and I thank you for it.

  2. Well said indeed. I agree with all that you've said......

  3. Nice! You are such an inspiration and I love seeing the things you create and the path you have taken. I'm sure those women are honored.....
    Can't wait to see what's in store!!
    Kim (Texas)

  4. Hi Mary,

    I totally agree with..I had been accused that i copied this artist design but the thing is what i made is a basic construction of a common design that can be made by everybody that had learn soldering..Tq so much for sharing this article..

  5. Everyone your comments are appreciated.

    If anyone has a different point of view they are welcome to leave their comments also.

  6. I agree with you on each and every point you made here. You said everything I could have said on this topic. :-) And I am proud to say you are a huge inspiration for me. Love, love, love your work!! And you are an AWESOME person!

  7. ...oh and I would love to see the heart you made that was like Sharilyn Miller's. Isn't it crazy, strange and amazing how sometimes different people come up with the same design? I know it happens...I have seen in happen. With me, it was the woven ring you made...the stacked one? lol! I still haven't gotten around to making it. And the basket weaving too...I had started making it, then stopped half way, thinking I will get back to it one day, and by then you beat me to it. LOL! But this one wasn't going to be exactly like the ones you did. It was coiled, and round, and the typical basket weaving that was used in the photo locket, but it was woven right from the start, to be 100% woven...and I got bored of doing it :-P. Too much weaving, that too with 28 gauge wire on 20 gauge coils. I loved your tip on using the 24 gauge wire...it looks nice, and gets done much faster than the 28 gauge!

  8. I had planned to just leave comments open on this subject and not really respond to anyone. Just so that all would be free to say their own opinions without reprisal.

    But let me respond a bit. Beadbabe and Tamara, Thanks for saying something. You were the first to leave me a note and it made me feel less alone:) Thanks guys!

    Kim, I really appreciated your comments and thank you for taking the time to write them:)

    Emi, you have such a distinct style, I can't imagine anyone could accuse you!

    I had that heart pin, like Sharilyns, for years in a bag of dumb projects. I never really appreciated that design, until after I saw her do it. It's more her style than mine anyways. That bag has been cleaned out about a year ago and I don't have it anymore.

    Now I feel really guilty here because those stacked rings were done by Iza first. I did my own version, but she was the seed behind that idea. http://www.izamalczyk.com/en/gallery-4-231-1566.html

    Your comments about weaving remind me that it is something you really have to love! It is so time consuming and repetitive, you have to have strong motivation!

  9. Iza had already made that exact ring? I'll go see.

    And yep, one really has to love weaving, which I do, but it made things a LOT better to do those basket weavings with 24 gauge wire rather than the 28 gauge I was doing it with! Now I can actually complete it without giving up :-)). So thank you for that tip!

  10. Swati, Heavens no!! Not the exact ring! I mean the seed of the idea of stacking was planted by her by the ring I linked.

    I actually use 26g and 28g for my basket weaves these days, (and it does take much longer) but I like how the 24g looks with the locket

  11. I just read the last part of what you wrote in this post again....and wanted to tell you how much that touched my heart:

    "Wire is something to joy over. People are for caring about. We can care about each other and we can have fun."

    Don't want to sound like a nut by writing here just how much it touched my heart...lol...I'll spare you the pain, but just know that it brought tears to my eyes.

  12. (((Swati))) In our image dominated world, kindness and generosity is so seldom seen. Moments of caring and humanity always melt my heart too.

  13. Mary, what a wonderfully written article, and it reflects much of what I feel about the pieces that I do. I'm still trying to solidify my own jewelry "style" and there are many who influence me both in the jewelry world and outside of it. You, Sharilyn & Iza to name a few.

    In the world of pinstriping & lowbrow art (another medium & pursuit of mine) it is common that when you are beginning in the art of pinstriping, you will often copy the designs of those who have been at it for a while, but even if you try to do an exact duplicate, it will turn out different. If you keep practicing & pursuing the art form, eventually you end up with a style of your own. (Oh don't get me wrong, there have been more than a few incidents where designs were copied and passed off their own... it happens everywhere, and it sucks).

    Funny thing is, While I am influenced by many awesome pinstripers, I don't feel the need to credit them when I post a piece of work, because I have hit that point of coming up with my own designs. With a lot of my jewelry work, I still feel the need to carefully scrutinize any of my original pieces to see if they have any direct influence from other artists.

  14. Phoenyx,
    Lowbrow art? I had to go google that! hehe

    Yes, in wire wrapping we start out by copying others also, hopefully we progress beyond that over time:)

    I loved the water bottle you did for your husband on your blog. He must be so happy with it!