Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Handmade Hell!!

I have recently been accused of 'stealing' and 'copying' designs on another blog. As you can imagine, this fuelled a lot of debate and comment from others. Here's my side of the story. The lattice bowl you see above is one item. Latticework is not a new concept and one of the first things I learnt - there is even a tutorial in 'An Introduction to Glass Fusing' book. Albeit tac fused, but I did not like this version, so fully fused it, which in my eyes is a much better finish.

Colourways - I'm glad you asked. My Spey and Burns ranges were created for the Scottish market (where I currently live). I live near the River Spey - colours associated with rivers = blues. Hence the creation of the blue 'Spey' latticework. The Burns range, after the famous Scottish Bard, Robert Burns. But what colour would you associate with a poet?? A tricky one, so I got my thinking/creative cap on (yes, I actually do have one!) and thought of fire - colours commonly used for fire = red, yellow, orange. How's that for creative thinking! These are the only two colourways I have created and have not made these bowls or wave vessels (that's right, I don't only make bowls) since February/March last year. These designs have also been documented in the Press and Journal Newspaper (more so explaining the idea behind the tartan wave, please feel free to read facts). Anyway, I have moved on from latticework in these forms, I found that it is nothing new to retailers, they have seen it for years. So, if someone was to accuse me of stealing ideas - then surely it would be a Scottish artist, who had created such a piece.
Here's the 'Spey' Tartan Wave creation (above)

The 'Burns' range (above)

Moving on...Don't these look familiar?? - By the way's this is not my work (above). These are Fused Erin AdamQuilt Tiles

My creations (above) - so similar it's uncanny. No, I didn't copy the colourways above, I only found this site yesterday.

These glass nuggets were also created in my early years (yes I have been working with glass for more than one year, since 2003 in fact, I started in stained glass initially). The first thing to learn is layering and test firing - to see how glass pieces look after firing at different temperatures. This technique is also in the book mentioned earlier. You first start with clear, so not to waste, but move on to colourways - it's a natural progression. These nuggets also form part of the Spey and Burns range - they had been arranged in picture frames and made into wall art. I don't have a photo of the finished product, but can be seen here on my website. I do agree that they are similar to ones I have seen over the internet here is another framed wall art, I love this one (not my work):

But inspiration for my designs were in part due to Brenda Griffith - the queen of fused glass Pop Art. She has written a book ' A Beginner's Guide to Kiln Formed Work', the second book I bought when I Started. She's been fusing since the mid 80's so a very accomplished artist (and a brilliant one - I love her designs). I also make Pop Art ranges - pendants, rings, cufflinks. The other part came from a glass artist (can't think who it was now, it was a long time ago) on the Warm Glass USA website gallery - glass nuggets were arranged in a black box frame, but using a lot black glass - I didn't particularly like this version, so created my own variation.
Coasters..... I love the lattice coasters and still make these. If you read the newspaper article mentioned earlier, it was stated that I was to exhibit at the Royal Cornwall Show (I'm Cornish and proud). I thought it would be a good idea to make the lattice coasters, which look similar to tartan, in the three Cornish tartan colours. Cornwall has tartans too! So I made the Hunting Tartan, National Tartan and St Pirans Tartan colourways (St Pirans is above and my favourite - black, white, red). Each colour from the tartans have been used in each of the coaster designs. The colours in the tartans also have meanings i.e., the national tartan contains black and gold which were the colours of the ancient Cornish kings - hence I now call the coasters Black and Gold - clever! It's actually really interesting, if you would like know about the Cornish tartan colours here. I thought this was an ingenious idea and don't think they exist anywhere else (but don't quote me on that, as I could be wrong!!). So again, if I was to copy the colourways, a Cornish glass artist should be banging on the door. Whilst exhibiting at the show, I was one of EIGHT glass workers - WOW, that was a lot of competition. I also made some St Pirans cufflinks, thinking this was a great idea - low and behold, there were two other fusers who made exactly the same. Is it possible for people who I had never met/seen/knew of to make the exact item. I didn't know who was going to be exhibiting, I hadn't visited the show in years, due to moving away and certainly do not any Cornish fusers (oh, apart from Jo Downs - who's big business down there). The answer is yes, creative people do often think alike, especially when using the same glass/equipment from the same suppliers (glass supplies in this country are limited compared to the States). That goes for equipment - moulds are readily available, designs are going to be similar, I am not that blinkered to realise this fact. This is why as an artist you have to think outside of the box - which I think I do. Feel free to disagree on this one!!

As for stealing the words 'glass love tokens' - this expression has been used for years. The glass company Spaceform make lots of them, and they have been calling then glass tokens for years, since the mid 90's infact. I saw another glass artist making the same ones as mine at a show - also calling them love tokens.However, I'm not going to beat them up about it. I never invented hearts, glass, the design etc. Besides mine are called Dinkies and include the cute Highland Coo.

I started making heart hangers, then latterly coasters as I always get people asking for 'heart things'. Copper heart inclusions in coasters has been around for as long as I can remember, so added the swirly frit as 'something different'. Well at the time of making them, I thought they were different. I have a paper punch with the same swirly pattern and tried to incorporate this design in copper, but it just chewed the copper. Hence the creation of the infamous 'swirl'. Here's some more frit swirlyness - not my creations - I love the swirly coasters:

I could ramble on for hours, but you're probably zzzzzzzzzzz by now. Oh, one final thing, one particular comment made was that I am the same as the first word in my business name 'LAZY'. I think not! I work very hard at making my business work (it's not a hobby). And I take such comments and accusations seriously. As they say 'Frit Happens'!!

Kathryn, (not so) Lazy Daisy Glass xx


Emma-Lou said...

One of the many things so-called artists need to remember is that there will always be occasions where 2 random people,from opposite ends of the country possibly with different crafts manage to create something very similar. When I began cardmaking I didn't even live in this country,when I came to England for a holiday I brought some cards with me for family and friends that would have birthdays whilst I was here. One particular card I gave to a friend for her birthday was almost identical to a card that she had been given by her auntie who suprise suprise was also a card maker England/Jamaica,different suppliers,different inspirations etc and yet we produced remarkably similar cards!!!
Some people just need to accept that on occasion this happens. Grow up and get over it.
Lazy Daisy Glass,just keep doing what you do best.
Emma xx

Mel P said...

Hi Lovely. I agree with Emma-Lou, I have been in a fair and found something so similar to a piece that I made that I have had to do a double take. I live in Berkshire and this fair was in Cape Town in SA! There are variations on a theme and coincidental similarities are exactly that, a coincidence

eve said...

Well i love all your work and i think it is unique, there will always be some simalaritys in artists and craft peoples work, so don't you worry about what other people say they are just jealous, keep making and selling all your gorgeous pieces, and i think you are doing a great job as so many places are buying in your products, you go girl,x

Blueberry Park said...

I am sorry that this accusation has happened to you, but congratulations for taking it on the chin and not letting it get to you. Our crafting community is getting smaller by the day with all the internet networking, blogging sites etc. A friend brought a new crafting book round to show me that had something in so unbelievably similar to my style. The book was published in Australia! I am pretty sure she has never seen my work before and I certainly hadn't seen hers! Keep doing what you are doing...it's beautiful x