Never one to stir up controversy here on the happy blog (I save that for my in-person life. No really, I do), I've shied away from posing SERIOUS QUESTIONS, or sharing BIG OPINIONS. Except that once. However, two topics come to mind after my reading yesterday. They are:
- Giving credit where it is due. If someone else's work inspires your own, then let them know. If you make something in a similar style, or copy a design, then say so in your Flickr photo description or blogpost so the original designer gets credit. Better yet, ask permission first. If you want to make something for personal use, permission will almost always be happily granted. I do it all the time in flickr comments. For example "this is so pretty - would you mind if I made something in a similar style as long as I credit you for the inspiration?"
- The expectation by some people that all of us sewists having nothing better to do than work for free. That the thrill of seeing our name in print is enough incentive to carve a week, 2 weeks or a month out of our busy lives to dream up original designs and then write up instructions, have them proofread and the project tested in return for, oh, lets say a $15 book? In short: working for FREE so that someone else can gain financially from your effort.
I have, in fact, been a willing participant in activity #2. But I only did it once and I'm not going to do it again (caveat: I will work for free for friends, who I know fully appreciate my efforts and will be grateful for my contributions. Mostly because that kind of goodwill usually comes back around boomerang style). Luckily, Jessica designed the perfect flow chart, entitled "Should I work for Free?" that is not only spot-on advice, but fabulously funny, too. Go on and read it, I promise you'll laugh (spoiler alert: there is one person for whom you should always work for FREE. That is your Mom). Oh, and there are some naughty words on the chart.
So, there you have it: Two Strong Opinions. Not a rant, just stating. So you know where I stand. I will not like you less if you choose to work for free, because that's your choice. I just don't appreciate the expectation. And it's something that is changing in the craft industry as people speak up (evidence).
However, I am always bummed when I see a blatant copy of someone's work that is not credited back to the first maker. Our community is small and we watch out for each other. It doesn't happen a lot, but often enough that it's on my mind. I've read in several places we should all chill out; imitation is the best form of flattery. Well, if you don't give credit it's not! It's kinda sneaky, actually. As a community, we share our work because we love giving and receiving feedback. It feels nice and it is nice.
Thanks for indulging me. I'll be back with Christmas makes tomorrow. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, but really, I'm not looking to pick a fight, or enter a massive debate, or make anyone feel bad. It's just me and my laptop sharing a little brain dump with friends. And giving Jessica all the credit for it.