Friday, April 20, 2012

Inspiration or Copying!?

I am spending way too much time on Pinterest!  I really enjoy looking at so many awesome and beautiful pieces of polymer clay.  I have recently pinned the following polymer clay bracelet from Pinterest.  It was made by Keila Hernandez and can be found on flickr by clicking on her name.

I am all about texture and color.  I love the "antiquing" that brings out the details of the leaves and flowers on these beads.  So I decided to make some similar beads.

Mine are a bit different in color and design but not much.  In my opinion I copied this design and would not call it an original.  Now I have kept creating with this style and have come up with these beads... not an exact copy but an inspired copy.

I used different colors of clay and different designs.

On these purple beads I used different designs and made designs on the front above and back below.

The following picture is of beads that I made a year ago long before I saw the first picture shown of Keila Hernandez' beads.  I have been using texture, antiquing and layering of clay since I started working with polymer.

The inspiration for these beads came from looking at Christi Friesen's work.  Not a copy but definitely inspired by looking at her creations.  The first polymer book that I purchased was one of Christi's books.

I asked Keila for permission to use her beads in my blog as I talked about copying and inspiration.  She gave me permission to do so but said that the idea of those beads came from Barb Fajardo on Flickr.  Barb made a similar bead in 2007 with a swirl lentil bead.
My question is... what is my original work?  I am not mass producing or trying to win any contests with these as "original designs" and I wouldn't enter them as originals but it raises a question in my mind. What is a copy and what is an original idea? What is your opinion?  


  1. I have no idea how anyone tracks down the very first person to do something. Interesting issue, look forward to hearing what others say!

  2. There are sooooo many artistic influences out there today Lori, unless you live without the internet or books, it's hard not to be influenced by someone elses designs...When I first started making jewelry--I am self-taught, I came up with all my own original designs by just playing around with metal, clay, etc....I ran across some of those beads and jewelry recently that I made 15 yrs. ago, and I see the same thing being sold on Etsy now! They didn't copy me and I didn't copy them--LOL.....? To me a COPY of a design is an almost exact line for line COPY---if you add any extra lines or take some off, in my opinion you're using the original design as an "influence"......I think of the "old masters" of painting--you can go to a museum and see painting after painting, modern, old or whatever, that are all similar in style, but each artist has taken the basic ingredients of the picture and made it their own---to the point where sometimes only an art major can tell the difference between one artist and another...Also, some artists have become well known for similar paintings to someone famous, but became known as "being influenced by so and so"....
    In essence, copying is line for line---other than that, there is almost nothing new---and as happened to me with my original stuff, several artists can live worlds apart and yet somehow, come up with very similar items.....
    I also think if each and every Self-representing artist was making a very good living at what they were doing, they wouldn't be noticing what everyone was doing around them and looking for "copying".....Some of the most successful jewelry artists I know, the most well known, know that people are making their same things and they're fine with it....

  3. Jean-Luc Godard said “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

    Basically, nothing is original. You can only try to be authentic with your art by making it yours. I taught a polymer clay workshop recently. All learned the same exact technique, but each and every piece was completely authentic; clearly with each individual's own style. They got lost in the process. They let themselves go and weren't over thinking; they were just "in the zone". The same thing you did. Beautiful pieces by the way. Great post.

  4. I love both the beaded bracelet that you "copied" as well as your version. Yet you each did something very different with them. I love the use of fiber in that necklace. John Lennon says "We never learn anything new, we're only reminded of what we(instinctively)already know." I think that we are ultimately all one, and all knowing, and unaware of our connection to it all. We're all in our own little fish bowl. Looking out at the world from our own skewed perspective. My favorite spot in Paris is a little artist square in Montmartre called Place du Tetre. All the artist are set up with their easels painting the same views of Paris, but each very different through the individuals eyes. Tap into the knowledge of the universe, be inspired by your fellow beings work, and run with it where you will. Copying really lies in your intentions.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!