Sunday, November 25, 2007

open letter

the Internet is a great arena for artists, crafters, designers and all kinds of creative people showing and sharing their wonderful creations with the world and finding their customers from around the globe. It´s also a wonderful source for finding inspiration. I really love to watch the works and work spaces of others and feeling being part of a hughe creative movement, embracing the world and trying to be an antipol to the mass produced and mass marketed. One can see an explosively rise of an indie craft scene. Many creatives found not only the chance to do what they really love, but also a way of making a tiny business out of it. I think this is an amazing development.

I started using textiles about three years ago, after I found the wonderful designs of artists like Rosa Pomar on the web. Being a painter at this stage of my artist way, I felt so inspired and I wanted to make tactile 3 dimensional art. My first creations came out a bit odd as I had nearly no experience in sewing (only had sewn a so called babydoll (nightshirt) at the age of about 9 in school which I never finished as I hated to work with the sewing machine and also hated that ten of the 15 girls had bought the same fabric like me, with a Sarah Kay dolls print for their first sewing project. So this was the tentative end of my sewing career, which should last for the next 27 years)

An old lady was living next to my door who was a seamstress, so I asked her what was wrong with my creations and she showed me that I had to clip curved seems, to make them smooth when turned right side out and stuffed. I made many drawings of possible creatures, that I wanted to transform into sewing projects.
It was all about drawing, designing and learning by doing. It took a while until I had found my own, personal style. Dolls with a simple shape, sleepy eyes and thick thumbs.
I can honestly say that I love my creatures every single one and there is nearly none of them after being finished that was not sitting with me in front of the TV, or even sitting in front of my bed so that I could look at it a while before falling into sleep (ask my husband). We are having a real deep relationship, my dolls and I :-)
In the last 2 weeks I got 2 emails from people telling me that they have seen my designs being used by others and SOLD. One email told me about a person selling on a German marketplace for handmade goods (that I also use to show my works) and one in a shop in Barcelona. (Please note: I´m not talking of these people who have bought the Softies book, where I have published the pattern of my guardian angel for PRIVATE use.)
Like I´ve said in the beginning of this post, the internet is a fantastic source for inspiration and I don´t want to miss it. But I think it makes a difference being inspired or to imitate.
I´m not the only one being copied, I know as I´ve read from other designers as well that they were imitated and other people and companies made profit out of their works. Do these people really identify with the piece of work, does it give satisfaction themselves? I don´t think so. There are unlimited ways for example to sew an angel and I really appreciate looking at variations of angels. It is the variety and the uniqueness that comes along with the handmade movement and that makes the world richer. I really don´t like to look at copies of my designs.


husband said...

...sitting with me in front of the TV, or even sitting in front of my bed so that I could look at it a while before I felt into sleep (ask my husband)...

Yes, I can confirm that you fell into sleep with your creatures near you while watching TV :-)

OK, seriously:

it's a real disrespect of one's work if it is copied and sold.
I know how much diligence, time and creativity you invest for designing your art. You choosed to abandon things which would make life easier (like money for a well paid job at Microsoft, holidays, weekends with off time a.s.o).
That has to be valued! Your friends, customers, and a lot of people around the world do so.

I can fully understand your sadness and angriness when hearing that one sell ill-conditioned replicas of your work.

No matter what, keep it up!

I love you,


My name is Ulla. said...

I just want you to know that I truely understand your frustration.
It is so sad that people take advantage of your ideas and hard work developing your angels and vikings. Unfortunally this issue seems to appear every time an artist - like yourself - comes up with a brilliant new idea. I hope that these people know how much of YOU went into creating your art! I wish they would respect that...
Good for you to have such a supportive husband.
Lots of thoughts and admiration,

smallwhitepebble said...

Firstly, what a lovely man your Michael is! And secondly, it's horrid when someone takes an idea wholesale and passes it off as their own, I'm sorry they do it. It's small consolation that it does at least confirm that you are wonderful at what you do and that you've found the right resonance for your work. Keep at it, we love all your creations!

elisa said...

O, that really sucks! ( where are those people, shall I go and punch them on the nose?, tell me I'll do it anytime ;-)
There is a huge difference between inspiration and imitation.And hard work,searching through all the light and dark corners of one's mind. Sleepless nights, doing things all over again. Being unsatisfied for weeks and then this design you like works out. You are so happy, share it in your blog and on Flickr with all of us.
And then some stupid cows make bad copies, and sell them. They really have to wash their mouths with soap, and clean all public toilets in their town with a toothbrush!

But in the end you win, they will never have the inspiration to make a great design of their own. Or feel the satisfaction you feel. And never ever accomplish the things you will!

Go outside and 'Schimpf', curse as the Vikings did, so load they can hear it on the moon, go in your loving house, drink hot chocolate and give Michael a big, big hug.
lots of love, Elisa

mamasita said...

It's a disgrace, some people might say that there is a blurred line between inspiration and imitation, but this is just bold copying [as i have seen], with absolutely no respect for your creativity and work... I really hope you can do something to stop these people copying your designs...

Beate Knappe said...

So ein Ärger kann dir ganz schön die Stimmung vermiesen - lass es nicht zu. Deine Kreationen sind einmalig und beseelt.
Ärgere dich nicht länger, obwohl es wirklich ärgerlich ist - sieh dir deine Wikinger an und stell dir vor, wie sie als Armee ins Land ziehen um deine Ehre als Künstlerin zu verteidigen - das wird ein Gemetzel geben - schlimmer als das, was die Türken in Spanien angerichtet haben - damals

Alles Liebe für dich und deine Kunst

Linda P. said...

Such a thoughtful post. Thank you. I also love the sense of networking in a global creative community and seeing wonderful artworks like yours that without the internet, I would never get to see. And I understand the risk and your frustration. It is hard to have so little control over 'copiers' and harder to recover from the feeling that part of your soul has been stolen. The way I see it, copying is like singing along with the radio -- it is singing, but it's certainly not art. I also believe it cripples the singer because they can never really hear their own voice. They are always overshadowed by the artist who has the opportunity to hear, or see, the miracle that they've released into this mortal world. The copy is just an echo of the original inspiration. So, in the end, I believe, the originator wins. Oh, but it is difficult to make peace with the offense. Very hard. I suppose the best revenge is to just keep on being a wonderful artist -- which you are.

beadbabe49 said...

As several people have already said, it is the copiers (thieves, if you will) who are the losers in the end. You will always have the ability to create new designs, but they will never, ever hear their own voice...I hope you can bring yourself to pity them eventually, and give thanks for your own wonderful creativity.

Nic said...

du sprichst mir aus der seele...

was mich persönlich bei der gleichen problematik oft tröstet, ist die tatsache, das man das HERZBLUT sieht! man sieht es!

und man sieht es nur bei den originalen und nicht bei den schnöden kopien, die nicht aus LIEBE zum objekt gestaltet wurden... (höchstens aus der liebe zum euro).

ein bisschen mehr RESPEKT täte gut!

liebe grüße

Tatjana said...

Leider kommt es unvermeidbar immer wieder dazu, dass respektlos, dreist und profitgierig, mit viel Seele und Herzblut entwickelte Arbeiten (in jeglichen Bereichen) kopiert werden.

Auch ich kenne eine großartige Künstlerin und ein Künstlerpaar, deren Arbeiten, trotz Kopierschutz und teuer bezahlten Rechtsstreiten, auf übelste, niederträchtige Weise regelrecht ausgesaugt wurden. Die besagte Künstlerin ging danach einen anderen Weg.

Kopiervampire sterben nicht aus!

Aber, wie Nic es so trefflich ausdrückt: Man sieht das Herzblut nur bei den Originalen!

Du gehst Deinen Weg, von Engeln begleitet!

Ganz liebe Grüße

mimi k said...

kind of takes the fun out of it :-(

natasha said...

i have had the same problem (just this weekend). i would feel sorry for the people that can only copy other people's work, but considering that we make our living this way and put our heart into our work, it is pretty shameful.

rike said...

ja. da kann ich mich nur anschließen. dass www ist großartig, wunderbare künstler präsentieren sich. eine riesige plattform, um sich auszutauschen und gegenseitig zu inspirieren. aber das andere ist eben, das viele menschen wohl nicht genügend phantasie und innneren reichtum haben, eigene dinge und gedanke zu entwickeln und dann ganz schnöde kopieren.
habe ich auch schon am eigenen blog bemerkt...da wird sogar gestaltung und aufbau kopiert. finde ich schon ein bißchen merkwürdig. und doch auch peinlich für die betreffenden... das
s i e h t man doch sofort!
übrigens: ich habe mir das "softies"-buch gekauft. aber nicht, um die sachen nachzuarbeiten, sondern weil ich wußte, dass deine entwürfe darin sind!! ich war irgendwie stolz darauf, dass du an einem solchen projekt von internationalem touch mitgearbeitet hast.
bitte gib nicht auf und ärgere dich nicht zu sehr. letzlich bleibt die "modeströmung" auf der strecke, aber die künstlerischen arbeiten überleben. solche leute müssen nämlich immer weiter kopieren, weil sie in sich selbst nichts finden.
und ich kann nic nur zustimmen: es hat auch was mit respekt zu tun.
alles liebe für dich und verliere den mut nicht.

Das Musenkind said...

Liebe Sandra,

ein Kopierer kann nie Deine Seele mit einfangen!

Dont worry - only your work is art!


Marieke said...

I totally understand your frustration and I honestly think it's a total disrespect of the time and emotion spend to design your personal creatures. Being inspired by someone's work is one thing, using the pattern for personal use... no problem that's why you took part in the softie book. But people simply should not copy your designs to make money!

Although I must admit it's getting more and more difficult to be original and not let the inspiration brought by work of others take over your own designs, don't you think?

I also had to laugh out loud because of:
I can honestly say that I love my creatures every single one and there is nearly none of them after being finished that was not sitting with me in front of the TV, or even sitting in front of my bed so that I could look at it a while before falling into sleep (ask my husband). We are having a real deep relationship, my dolls and I :-).

I do exactly the same ...and you can verify this with my husband as well ;0). There's so much love going into the creative process, you simply need time to enjoy giving birth and after that create emotional distance to be able to part from them. Guess it's comparable with parenthood only much faster!

Lately I also am starting to act the same with some of my beads as well... how lame is that ;0)

Florence said...

Sandra, it gives me chills when I hear about this happening to you and Ann Wood.....

we must join together to stand up for our work..a toy artist coalition...I've been thinking of something like that...

yours in the art of toy,

Smila said...

Ja, das ist ätzend. Früher oder später sind alle Kreative davon betroffen. Mich ärgert immer ganz besonders die Dreistigkeit mit der kopiert wird. Die Selbstverständlichkeit mit der sich an geistigem Eigentum anderer bedient wird, einfach weil es möglich ist. Sprüche wie: "Wenn du deine Sachen öffentlich zeigst, brauchst du dich nicht zu wundern, wenn sie kopiert werden." ...zeigen die Haltung derer die sich einfach bedienen. Ach ja? Wenn der Obsthändler seine glänzenden Äpfel zeigt, darf ich sie mir also einfach nehmen?


Diese Thema wird allen, die eigene Ideen haben, immer wieder begegnen. Leider! Aber zum Glück sind die mit den Ideen , denen die Kopieren immer einen Schritt voraus und zweitens, Nic sagte es schon: man SIEHT es, man SPÜRT es! :-)

Mir ist es immer wieder eine Freude deine Seite zu besuchen, auch wenn ich nicht so oft etwas schreibe.

LG, Smila

beruta said...

Dificult situation, full of all kind of feelings I guess.

I think that if the society we are living in doesn`t change, we can`t avoid this kind of acts. In this world we have made, money is the main objetive, earn a lot of money and if it`s quick much better.
So, those who want this don`t mind if they are copying, if you spend time and love doing it, if you have a very small business or if they don`t feel identyfied with the work, but they feel satisfied because they are earning money!
That someone else sell copies of your stuff, it`s a kind of "we have one good new and one bad", the good one is that your work is good and it can be selled pretty well; and the bad one is that we`re making copies and maybe you`ll have to make some changes to continue selling the originals!
I also think that you can NEVER make a good copy of a handmade good , because the care and the love we spend on each doll(etc) can`t be replaced.
They can copy the pattern, but do you think that they can choose and mix the fabrics they way you do? That`s your choice, made with your eyes and taste, and they can`t have that!

Living of making handmade goods we`re on the way of changing the world!!!

A hug!

Anonymous said...

{came by via Flickr via the vikings}

Oh no! It's always so sad to read this. It's the way the world is sadly. Bad people will have bad karma, don't worry! And I believe such talented people like you will always be one step ahead of the copycats anyway (like some of the other comments mentiond - they can only copy, they can't create!). Your stuff is so lovely (love the vikings!).

And I can relate to the softies being with you after they are completed bits :)

A customer said...

Sandra, I am so angry that this is happening to you. As others have already said, you're absolutely right in saying that there's a difference between inspiration and imitation - imitation of this kind is thievery, plain and simple. I had some of my writing stolen when I used to blog, and that experience, along with all the other instances of stealing I've witnessed among crafters and artists on the internet, is the main thing that's kept me from blogging my own creative work. You might come out on top in the creativity and ethics department, but it's just so disheartening when someone takes your ideas. Especially when they're making money off of them.

Personally, I'm with Beruta - I think free market capitalism only encourages such greedy, dishonest, and mean-spirited behavior. As long as there are quick and easy profits to be had by ripping off another person's lovingly crafted and truly inspired work, there will be people ready and willing to do it. There has to be something better than this.

I treasure the doll I bought from you, and if I ever have the misfortune to come across a website or store selling knock-offs of your designs, I'll be sure to make a stink on your behalf. Imposters will not be tolerated!

Hugs and hot chocolate to you (or perhaps you'd like something with a little alcohol in it? ;).

bogi said...

Dear Sandra,
your work is YOU and that's what NEVER EVER can be copied! All my thougths are written here several times... and it gets me more and more ANGRY!!! It so sad... you have to fight this tooth and nail!
I wish you strength to got through this, big big hug, Bogi.

ps: if you need s.o. who gives a birching... :-)

karin said...

Hallo Friederike,
ich habe schon ein paar mal deinen Blog besucht und deine Puppen bewundert, aber noch nie einen Kommentar abgegeben , aber heute möchte ich doch etwas sagen. Ich denke leider , daß das Internet neben seinen vielen positiven Eigenschaften für manche auch sowas wie ein Selbstbedienungsladen ist. Es ist wahrscheinlich nur eine Frage der Zeit, wenn man schöne Dinge erfolgreich verkauft, bis irgendein Trittbrettfahrer das bemerkt und versucht mit oft preiswerteren Kopien daraus Kapital zu schlagen. ich kann deinen Ärger voll und ganz verstehen , das würde mir genauso gehen!!
Es gibt doch hier in Deutschland so eine "Plagiarius"-Verleihung, wo man geklautes Design auch öffentlich machen kann. Die Firma, deren Design kopiert wurde, nominiert ihren Kopisten. Das finde ich eine wirklich gute Sache, weil diese Art von Berühmtheit mögen die Designdiebe sicher nicht. Vielleicht wäre das ja auch etwas für dich :)

coloredsock said...

i'm sorry to hear that. i know it doesn't feel good. i also know from my experience (and close artist friends'experiences of the same) that when someone does copy someone else, they can only copy a look but never the essence and heart. and also, i know everyone of us is influenced by each other, but to consciously steal from a fellow artist is the worst thing ever. i feel bad for those persons who have no soul so they steal from another's. you just keep doing your art, and although it's hard, don't waste your time dwelling on them---it's all karma, and it will come back around. xo,jenny

shula said...

Oh, darling....

Vera João said...

Hi Sandra, I know this feeling, my work already was copied too (Casulos - cocoons), because of internet.