Monday, September 27, 2010

Room for one more acorn?

I first made acorns last year as little charms to celebrate my Texas red oak tree blessing me with the first acorn in my five years in this home. It’s a gorgeous tree and so healthy now, but wasn’t always. You can read about that here. A lot of my design inspiration occurs rather spontaneously from the life around me.

This year I decided to make little acorn beads. Just because that tree is still alive and beautiful. Another tribute to the tree that graces my front garden. But can the world really embrace another acorn bead?

Lately, as I read blogs, and I read a lot of blogs, I’ve been reading about other artist’s experience with copyright and copying. I don’t tend to get into that sort of thing on my blog. But it makes me quite sad to see people trying to capitalize on the hard work of others by blatantly lifting design and selling it as their own. Tisk, tisk…bad…. and shame on you.

In this day and age of instant communication over the internet we are bombarded with images and ideas. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether what you are doing is in the least bit original, something that comes from you. So I started to question myself and my little acorn beads. Did I unconsciously make beads that were someone else’s idea? It horrifies me to think that I may have. But those images that are so readily available sink into my subconscious mind and just might come out in my own design. And after all, there really is only so many ways to make an acorn.

So I did a quick Etsy search on handmade acorn beads and charms. This wasn’t as easy as I imagined! To my absolute delight, interpretation of the acorn is wonderfully diverse. Here’s just a small sample.

From left to right and top to bottom:
Wool, polymer, silver, clay! All beautiful, all unique.

Please, join me tomorrow on the Beads of Clay blog, where I’m looking at how Mary Harding made a museum trip and turned that into her own inspiration for design.


Spirited Earth said...

thanks for sharing that photo of my acorn charm
i also have some acorn "bead" pendants but have wondered the same as you, are they too close to someone elses stuff?
the whole copying thing is much in the wind ..however..i'm thinking when it's about making something that's shape is just what it is, as acrons, leaves,skulls, bunnies one has the market cornered on those images. it's just like you said,what we choose to do with it makes the difference make those's fall

sharon said...

Your style is so distinctively you LeAnn, One would see it was an original instantly. I say, don't worry, do what is in your heart, because that is pure and will show itself that way. Love those little beauties, I am so attracted to the blue one!

Mary Newton Designs said...

The acorns are precious and I love the bronze leaves, too!

Mellisa said...

Darling acorns...that look just like acorns...not like someone else's work :)

Marie Cramp said...

I love acorns of all types!! Yours are amazing and of course, I want some! lol. I know, I'm in trouble again!!

kelleysbeads said...

I think I need some of your acorns. Specifically the blue ones. Neeeeed.

stregata said...

Your acorns are perfect! Love them!!
While you are right - an acorn is an acorn, there is a shape we associate with acorn, but still the possibilities to translate that in your medium are as endless as your inspiration.
I do believe Mother Nature had the original idea - but how could it be wrong to be inspired by such an artist?

gbkoru said...

Love your acorns and leaves!

TesoriTrovati said...

I think that what bothers me is when someone says that they are being copied and it is a readily available image. Like your little acorn here. Showing how others interpret the same is very powerful. All are wonderful. All are unique. But the icon of the acorn? That is accessible to everyone. I think it is a different thing altogether when someone takes your design, copies it bead by bead and makes the same thing, but then doesn't acknowledge the source of the inspiration. And also there is another side... when all these feelings of infringing get manic and others are accused of 'copying' someone because the same stone-icon-color palette are used it becomes ridiculous. We all shop the same stores, read the same resources. In short, we are influenced by what is out there in the world. But it is what you do with that influence that makes your art unique. I actually was accused once all because I happened to use a skeleton key in my design. I am not the first nor the last to use that and would never lay claim to it as mine even though it is my logo. What right do I have to trademark that?

You have brought up some interesting angles to the dialogue which I think needs to be ongoing to foster education, awareness and understanding.

Enjoy the day, LeAnn!

P.S. I really love your little acorns. Perfect size!

Heather Powers said...

And I'm sure if 10 more beadmakers tackled the acorn each one would be as different as the artist who created it. I don't think anyone can claim a symbol like an acorn, a key or a bird. And if you feel a personal connection to an icon, then use it to inspire your designs without fear of stepping on someone's toes. Let your muse run with whatever object captures your attention.

We all drink from the same well, and then go off and create what is in our hearts.

Keep going!

Barbara Lewis said...

LeAnn, Great post. I have to say I agree with what Erin and Heather had to say. But what I see is something that is uniquely yours! Love your blue and brown combination ... a personal favorite for us both! :-)

Pretty Things said...

That first sentence in Erin's post is spot on. I get so terrified of expanding my lampworking because of the copying issue that has been rearing its head (especially lately, it seems?) and I am even scared to death of making jewelry these days. I don't know what's embedded itself in my mind and what is mine. I've even quit buying magazines and only get the ones that have my work in them. I think that's sad.

I love your work, and I think you should do what you're doing.