Friday, 8 January 2010

On the topic of originality in the craft world

I stumbled across this article on a great new web site, Make and Meaning. Sister Dianne from CraftyPod Podcast writes some articles and so does Melbournian Pip from Meet me at Mikes. There are lots of interesting short and sharp articles, some of which are quite thought provoking.

new ideas?

I was reading this article "On the care and feeding of ideas" and it got me thinking. I generally keep a notebook with me where ever I go. I write down lyrics, ideas, to do lists and I tend to sketch a lot of ideas about what I want to make.

At the moment I am going through the design process for a new bag. I was rather pleased with the design of my market bag and so I want to try something a bit different. New features, new shapes. Something uniquely Konstant Kaos rather than someone else's idea with some ric rac sewn across the front of it. Being a practical person, I spent hours thinking about the "practical edge" that I am going to give this bag. Perhaps I should be doing some more random planning, as Emma Greenwood puts it.


For me, it is quite important that I produce unique products. I keep a box with all my prototypes. I use and test every product I design and generally try to get someone else to also road test everything before hand. But sometimes at markets I take a look around and I think that perhaps I should hop on the bandwagon that I see so many others on. Find something hip and "now", buy the McCalls pattern and then mass produce it ...


Pip writes an excellent article called "All my own work" where she talks about the grey line in crafting. Just because you can make it, doesn't mean you have the rights to sell it. Just because you buy the pattern, doesn't mean that you have the rights to mass produce it and on-sell it into shops. Just because you own the book, doesn't mean you can mass produce the images in it, and so on!

So where does this leave you? If you feel that someone has crossed that grey line copying a design of yours for profit, I would first familiarise yourself with IP Australia. Talk to the guys at Craft Victoria, become a member, support what they do, talk to one of their business development managers. If you are going down the path of challenging the IP of a product someone has produced, then a lawyer (yes a lawyer) will most likely ask you to "prove it". So keeping sketchbooks, blogs and prototypes is essential. And perhaps if your design so unique, trademark it, put a patent on it, protect it.

ready to be sewn

Someone at some point said that there is no new ideas in this world. But as a crafty community, we should be mindful that there is enough business to go around. So what, you had this idea to make a product and another crafter got there first ... respect that they got there first and use it as an opportunity to re-invent what you were working on.

Something I generally do when I am about to go "live" with a new product is I do a quick search just to make sure it isn't too much like someone else's product (etsy, madeit, general blog search). Even though I might have developed it myself, we are of the same crafty generation and sometimes ideas just collide.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Unknown said...

Original handmade craft work are so costly and have very good value for it too... As per your blog I can easily say for it is really very nice work done by you. Thanks for sharing it.


Jennie said...

Great post. I'll follow all the links you've included, they look valuable.

CurlyPops said...

It's always a very interesting question. Blogging work in progress is a great way of documenting your own work, but can also lead to copying. There's no easy answer.

Cate Lawrence said...

this is a really interesting issue which you've covered really well, I've always been a bit confused with the ethics of people replicating a commercial pattern and selling the made pieces. I've also had my own work copied (not a nice feeling) and also been in the situation of coming up with an idea only to find someone else has already created it! It's tricky and complex...

Cat from Raspberry Rainbow said...

Thank you for your very timely (in my life) post. I will document more of my crafty ideas in my craft book form now on, silly having them in my head only. Especailly as my head is a bit "baby brained" too.
"On the care and feeding of ideas" is a fantastic read, thanks for sharing this little find.