Tuesday, June 10, 2008

manifesto - (it's long!)

Those of you who know me on a personal level,
have probably heard me say my creative mantra...
"I refuse to knock anyone else off"

If you have designed something and I like it,
I will not make it for myself to sell to others,
I will buy it and congratulate you on your good taste,
but I will NOT rip you off.

This comes from a number of reasons:

1. I believe in small businesses and small business owners. My family of origin has a small 10 person toy design business that has supported the families in it for 30 years.
I love the idea of people doing what they want and not just running on the proverbial treadmill of corporate business.

2. I believe that creativity is sacred. My dad owns hundreds of patents and trademarks... Ideas are sacred. They are clearly gifts... When I take your idea and make money off of it without giving credit where credit is due, that is stealing money out of your pocket. My dad has products that he invented where by some error on the manufacturer's part, a patent wasn't renewed - and voila! everyone and their mother makes knock-offs. It hurts more when you grow up watching it happen to your dad.I'm okay with improving things, "building a better mousetrap" ... i.e. Libby Dibby skirts are made from an altered and improved vintage pattern. - but to take someone's design and pass it off as my own seems really wrong to me, mostly because...(see below)

3. I believe creativity is plentiful.I once read a quote and can't remember which famous person in history said it (perhaps Ben Franklin or Thomas Edison?) and it goes something like this... "creativity is conscious of its own abundance and is not jealous"I love that. I didn't know if I believed it when I first read it, because I knew I struggled with jealousy over other artists, etc - but I decided that if God made everything, He certainly could make enough talent to go around. I decided to believe it.

4. I believe that the true test of genius, talent, artistic skill lies in the ability to do something original and do it well.

5. I love true artists of all kinds. I love the idea of people doing something for the love of the game, be it baseball or knitting and I love the idea of helping the little people make their way in this world.

J says that I am a little militant about this. I don't make things that I know I can make simply because I don't want to rip someone off... but I just can't help thinking that someone, somewhere made that and put all their heart into making it original and I want them to succeed.

That's why I get a little flustered when I see people online trying to make "fibby dibbys" (no joke, that's what they've named them)... not because the wrap circle skirt was my idea... but because they are intentionally trying to take what we are working so hard to build slowly with our hands.

Now I know that mimicry is a form of flattery... and I know how fun it is to see something, like it, and then go home and make it... but selling it as my own idea... that's a different story.

I've recently relaxed a little in some of my rules. I've liked an item of clothing so much that I have made a second one like it in another color - but then, when someone wanted the second one... I directed them to the original designer. I'm allowing myself to make things for myself, but I want to not just copy others... I want to create new things... and being pushed out into the world of the unknown isn't all that bad.



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