In which I attempt to organise my thoughts… into neat, manageable compartments very unlike my fabric storage system.
Hello everyone! Hope you had a lovely weekend ! After a week sitting at the sewing machine for school I took a break, went for a lovely country drive and planted a fig tree. Sometimes even I don’t want to look at the machine for a while.
So thank you all for leaving such insightful comments on my last post. I’m glad to hear lots of us crafty types are wrestling with this problem, and it’s not just me feeling like a dirty copycat. The main points I got out of this were:
• As long as you are not claiming ownership of an idea to sell, or hand up at school for assessment, being ‘inspired’ by other’s art is not a bad thing at all.
• There is no harm done if we were never going to buy the item in the first place. Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery!
• We very rarely copy something outright. We see a neat idea and tweak it, or else it ends up evolving into a new beast altogether. Hurrah for creativity!
• In the merging, mingling, tangling stream of inspiration that is the internet fashion world, it is almost impossible to define the origin of any one idea. The items we love were probably inspired by someone else, and it is only a natural evolution that we ourselves are inspired in turn.
In the end, whether you feel good about copying someone else’s idea is a totally personal thing. I know I don’t, but I also feel rather proud when I can ‘reverse engineer’ something and discover how it works, how it was put together, or how I could improve it. You learn so much! Like re-creating a recipe you loved in a restaurant or digging around in computer code, you begin to understand much more about construction and the design process – which in turn fuels new inspiration.
I found this fantastic post by Peter of Male Pattern Boldness discussing the idea of sewing as protest. I identify so much with this. I sew because it gives me the option to ‘not buy’. I sew because then I can decide how I should look and how I should present myself in the world rather than some corporation. I don’t want to be told how to look, whether I am ‘in’ or not, or that I am unwittingly supporting a system that promotes sweatshop labour. Working out how something is made gives me power. It makes me self-sufficient. It makes me recognise the effort (or lack therof) that went into creating it, and in turn I value the craft/art of others so much more.
I could go on for pages here, but I think I’m going to leave it for a while to simmer. This subject is so completely at the root of my ‘crafty ethic’ that I want to get it straight in my head first. The next post will be something frivolous and pretty, I promise!