Ever since I began engaging the art of macrame, I’ve given a lot of serious thought to the creative process and the source of inspiration.
I follow so many amazing artists on social media, and a major concern is that others will copy (and have already copied) their work. Some of these concerns are legitimate, while some seem a bit absurd to me. Some patterns and designs are so simple that anyone could come up with them. But then there are some instances of purely original and unique design, and it is kinda sad when someone comes along and copies these for their own gain without honoring the original designer.
I recently read an artist lamenting that someone had copied her work, and she said that when you copy someone else’s work you are robbing yourself of discovering your own creative potential.* In general, I agree with that.
On the flipside, I think that constantly worrying and being upset that others are copying your work also robs you of digging into your creative potential. We can spend time and energy trying to protect ourselves from being ripped off, or we can spend our time and energy creating something new.
It’s easy to just stick with what we’ve done instead of continuing to explore and evolve as artists. I also think some of us tend to hoarde our talent and keep it for ourselves, not wanting to inspire someone else because we think our creative products belong solely to us, the creators. God forbid someone make a variation of my design and make money off it!
My life philosophy is that ultimately, nothing really belongs to us. No, I’m not a communist and I definitely support private property (though I’m not sure how I feel about patents). But I believe that we are all inspired by the same Source and that what we create, artists and innovaters alike, is for the benefit of us all. I’ve come to a point in my life and my creative journey where I recognize that what comes out of me doesn’t come from me. It comes from a divine spirit of creativity that chooses me whenever it sees fit. I don’t claim any of my artwork or music as being “mine”. I’m just the channel, humbled and happy simply to be apart of this amazing process.
(Along those lines, last month a friend sent me a TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert about creative genuis that I think is worth sharing:)
I realize it’s easy for me to say all this: I don’t depend upon my artwork to put food on the table (though I’d love to reach the point where my art can contribute to my family’s physical needs). There are so many artists out there trying to make a living with their art, and having someone copy their work can really threaten their livelihood. It sucks, I totally get that. I don’t have the answers to complex issues of copyrights, etc. I don’t know how to maintain the proper balance of giving vs. taking, how to protect your investment and gifts while being open and generous. But I do think it’s important to remain open to the flow of life and creativity and allow ourselves to be challenged when we meet with misfortune. When someone rips you off, it’s a chance to dig deeper into the wellspring of creativity.
So anyway, I wanted to share a couple pictures of a practice piece I did last month. It was my first time trying berry knots, macraweaving, and tassels. It turned out interesting. Not my best work, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process.
I love trying new things and developing my artistic skills and sharing everything I make with the world. I never want fear of failure or fear of being copied to stop me from creating and sharing. Creativity never sleeps (and sometimes I don’t either, haha) and my life’s delight is to explore her endless potential. Emily Dickinson wrote, “I dwell in possibility,” and that is precisely how I choose to live.
*As it turns out, this particular artist is NOT hurting for business in any way. Her products sell out as soon as she posts them. She’s created an amazing product that everyone wants (including me!) but she can’t make nearly enough to fulfill the insane demand. Other makers copying her work are helping to meet that demand, but they should definitely give her credit for the original design.