Monday, March 14, 2011

birds of a feather

everyone looks better with a hat

i took a little walk out in the yard this morning. it was foggy out there and very still, but the balmy (it's supposed to reach 10°C today!) air was filled with joyous bird song of all sorts and the odd call of some geese from down on our lake. i stood there, breathing in the fresh air and all of that bird song and i pondered the controversy i stirred up yesterday.

i had a few pangs because in some sense it wasn't actually any of my business. it wasn't my art being copied, so why should i care? but the fact of it is that i did care. and i found as the day progressed yesterday, that i cared a lot. i couldn't get it off my mind. and it's not only because copies devalue the original and i felt it affected the stones i'd purchased from margie. in fact, that was actually the least of it.

i think what bothered me most was that margie seems to me to be one of the biggest-hearted, most giving, down-to-earth creative souls out there...the way she shares her process, her thinking, her insights, her life and her craft are all acts of a giving and kind person who is engaged in what she does. for this to happen to her seemed so unfair. to someone so truly an artist and a craftsperson. you could accept it more easily if it happened to someone whose work didn't seem so unique or who didn't share it in the same giving, warm spirit. in fact, i saw some bloggy controversy a couple of years ago over those wooden mustaches on a stick that i didn't feel badly about in the same way because it didn't seem to be THAT special of an object. but what margie makes is special - her missing pieces stones and her merfish - they're really unique. so to copy them for sale so blatantly and unapologetically (as it turns out), is simply so disheartening.

but what is heartening is the way that margie's community rallied around her. i can't actually find any community rallying about renee (or shall we call her pell?) (and i spent quite some time looking before i wrote this). so although one could become disillusioned in all this and feel hesitant about sharing one's process and creativity online, it is also very powerful to think of how many people support margie in this - and her right to defend her creative, intellectual property. and although there are many people out there crocheting stones, these designs are so distinctively hers and they're very clearly being copied.

when i first saw one of the impostor stones on the etsy front page, i actually thought that someone was reselling margie's stones. they are so distinctive, they call her immediately to mind. and then when i looked closer and realized it wasn't margie's stones at all and further found that there were also merfish in the shop, i was shocked!  and what's strange is that it would seem to be totally unnecessary. renee is obviously very talented at crochet and has some sweet little animals and such in her shop. so why steal margie's ideas?

so while i still don't understand it, nor her refusal to admit copying and just stop it (please see the comments on the post below for proof of this), i am heartened to see the crafting community rally together around an artist and a person like margie. that is another testament to the way in which she has shared her creativity and built her reputation via her blog and flickr and her etsy shop. it seems that birds of a feather do flock together. and if that makes us followers, so be it. there's a big difference between support and bullying and between what's right and what's wrong.

10 comments:

Margie Oomen said...

~ A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living ~

rudolph steiner

I am so honored to be a small part of this supportive creative community.

Cozy Memories said...

Thank you Jules for writing another eloquent post. I couldn't agree more.
Margie - I'm proud to be a small part of this community, I'm proud to be your friend, I'm proud to support you no matter what. You can always count on me.

celkalee said...

So well said, Jules. I am not at all surprised that the blog community responded this way. I fussed and fumed about this yesterday as well. But hope this subject and this particular discourse will be a flag to the rest of the blog and Etsy community that we expect honesty, we expect integrity and we demand artistic relevance. Love the photo, nothing like tweeting birds!

Char said...

i don't know either so I guess I'm neutral to the issue in a way. There is something to be said for originality and I guess that is why I would support the original artist. Especially on the issue of straight copying - it is a sort of plagerism or something, though - like copyright, very hard to enforce.

but, that being said - like all fashion designers - i can't afford the real thing so i have to settle for the copy. look how many fake uggs are out there or the day after the Oscars, how many prom dresses there are based on that design. so in a way, being copied is a way to say that the original artist has "arrived".

i hate it for your friend and hopefully the copier will grow a conscious soon.

janesaid said...

"It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press (blog) to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.” Walter Benjamin – 1931

I have read your “it’s hard to be original post” and subsequent comments fueled by allegations and slanderous behavior.
I have taken the time to draw my own conclusions.
I can see where thy brethren have drawn correlations between the works in question.
If one were to inspect closer, one would see where the correlations separate.
The first being that of quality workmanship.
It is clearly apparent that the stones put forth by Renee are of superior design and craftsmanship.
So, while in idea they may appear to be the same, the execution, craftsmanship, and quality is certainly of discern.
It seems as though you all acted pusillanimously by getting up on your soap boxes and preaching, throwing around words like “stealing”, “disgusting”, and “imposter.”
“Imposter” would indicate that the stones are being passed of as Margeret Oomen originals. That appears to NOT be the case.
It seems to me that two person working in the same mediums and style would tend to have some crossover in works that are similar yet each uniquely their own.
I have seen references to Deborah Valoma which would indicate to me that it is quite possible that persons of creative energy worlds and times apart can often come up with ideas and creations that are similar in nature as Ms. Oomen indicates that she had not seen the works of Deborah previously.
This is an issue between two parties and that is how it should be settled
It seems to me that you all have acted irreprehensible in your actions in which you take to a public blog and attach direct links to someone in which you are not involved.
One should not be badgered, attacked, and humiliated, at the hands of a few “supporters”, “minions”, or “peanut gallery” so to speak.
I hope you “ladies” (I use that term loosely) are proud of yourselves and feel like you have done the right thing.
This is a clear indication of the reason why woman should refrain from the spectrum of politics, because unless there is a cause the rest is fodder.

janesaid said...

"It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press (blog) to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.” Walter Benjamin – 1931

I have read your “it’s hard to be original post” and subsequent comments fueled by allegations and slanderous behavior.
I have taken the time to draw my own conclusions.
I can see where thy brethren have drawn correlations between the works in question.
If one were to inspect closer, one would see where the correlations separate.
The first being that of quality workmanship.
It is clearly apparent that the stones put forth by Renee are of superior design and craftsmanship.
So, while in idea they may appear to be the same, the execution, craftsmanship, and quality is certainly of discern.
It seems as though you all acted pusillanimously by getting up on your soap boxes and preaching, throwing around words like “stealing”, “disgusting”, and “imposter.”
“Imposter” would indicate that the stones are being passed of as Margeret Oomen originals. That appears to NOT be the case.
It seems to me that two person working in the same mediums and style would tend to have some crossover in works that are similar yet each uniquely their own.
I have seen references to Deborah Valoma which would indicate to me that it is quite possible that persons of creative energy worlds and times apart can often come up with ideas and creations that are similar in nature as Ms. Oomen indicates that she had not seen the works of Deborah previously.
This is an issue between two parties and that is how it should be settled
It seems to me that you all have acted irreprehensible in your actions in which you take to a public blog and attach direct links to someone in which you are not involved.
One should not be badgered, attacked, and humiliated, at the hands of a few “supporters”, “minions”, or “peanut gallery” so to speak.
I hope you “ladies” (I use that term loosely) are proud of yourselves and feel like you have done the right thing.
This is a clear indication of the reason why woman should refrain from the spectrum of politics, because unless there is a cause the rest is fodder.

julochka said...

dear jane said - i do appreciate the dissenting opinion and of course, your liberal use of a thesaurus. i think it's equally interesting that blogger labeled your vitriol "spam" and i posted it to share with all of those who have shared their opinions here. because although this is not political in any sense (not sure where you got that), i do believe in democracy and dissenting opinions. and i believe your words stand for themselves, tho' you don't stand behind them with a profile that anyone can see or respond to. which speaks volumes as well.

thank you for your two cents' worth.

/julie

janesaid said...

Well Julie dear,
I'm sorry my existence is not within the realm of the petty and vitriol (your word) blogosphere!
But as the great Charlie Sheen has said: "You can't process me with a normal brain."
Just calling the "bullying Birds" out on your "sticking up for a Friend" rant.
Last time I checked, Ms. O has a blog and other means at her disposal, she can speak for herself.

In which you will counter with renee having the same ability!
So at this point it would be point - counter point!
Like charlie says " Bring it"

melissa said...

dear julochka,
thank you for hosting this interesting discussion on your blog and for your wholehearted support of our friend margie. it kind of blows my mind that anyone could think that this kind of plagiarism might be acceptable- not to mention quoting charlie sheen of all people- (what a role model!!) but that is beside the point. the baseline is, plagiarism is not okay anytime. and i think that renee is totally capable of making her own beautiful work using her own lovely ideas- she clearly has very clever and talented crocheting fingers. go for it renee- you'll enjoy your creative work so much more!
kind regards,
melissa

Katea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.