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Monday, October 11, 2010

humble pie.

Do not worry about your originality. You could not get rid of it even if you wanted to. ~Robert Henri

You want to know what I did today?

Of course you do.


Well, too bad, I'm gonna tell you because I need to get it off my chest.

Earlier in the week, I found another seller on Etsy selling beads similar to mine. They weren't exact copies but they were close enough that I took a wee little peek at that shop.

Now, there were lots of generous interpretations of not only my beads but also some other art bead makers. They were enough different that I just let out a big sigh and moved on until I saw her item descriptions. They were copies, almost word for word of my item descriptions. That irked me.

So I began stalking Etsy looking for others that might perhaps be doing the same thing.

You know what I found out?

Someone was making the exact same thing as me.

And had been, a long time before I was making it.

I was shocked.

It really bummed me out because I thought that specific item was really unique and cool and I was even considering making a tutorial on them and I have ready a ton of them to list in my shop tomorrow. But now I won't because that just isn't cool. I'll probably still make jewelry with them but whatever...deep breath....gotta move on.

We, as artists, do what others cannot do. That is what what makes us special. That we can create things that others believe that they cannot. Part of the hurt that comes from "copying" is that our ego is slighted. Someone has taken something that we felt was original and are now capitalizing on what we believe is our own efforts. Part of being an artist, in my own humble opinion, is setting our ego aside and learning to stomach that someone did in fact do just that, perhaps even better than you. That's what I found out today. Someone else was already doing what I was doing, and better, I might add.....

Ppolymer clay is merely a medium for me, I've always said that. For seeking a deeper altruistic expression... What I've learned from this experience, is that there are a ton of people out there who have been exploring it for many moons before me. So I need to go deeper....

So, I will be taking time off from producing new lines. I will still be adding to my existing lines and if you want something custom, I'm always open to offers and questions and communication....But I'm taking some time to explore and wonder and craft.

I just need some time to find my voice again....


Kristen said...

Oh Barb I am so sorry! I have so admired your beads and have them on a christmas list for my hubby! I will make sure that they are ONLY from you as I listened to what Lori had to say when she used them in Cup of Soup! I value peoples opinion of products and that is what matters to me! A loyal soon to be customer and I will love waiting for you to find your voice because when products like yours are made with "HEART" they are more of a treasure!


Silver Parrot said...

Gosh, I've had that happen to me before, too. I have heard it said that in life "there are no original ideas." Somebody has ALWAYS been there before you whether you know it or not. I think it's great that you're letting this experience push you into new directions and you know I will be waiting to snatch up the results on Etsy as soon as you list them ;-)

Barbara Bechtel said...

Thanks Kristen! I appreciate your words. I hoped in my post to illuminate the fact that we are all human....That we all want to do something wonderful. I don't view people who copy me as villains and I am not a villain by coming up with something that someone else has made. We are all visitors of a human experience. We have to stretch ourselves everyday. We have to make mistakes, we have to fail, we have to do wrong, we have to do right. We have to experience the journey and let others know that it is JUST that, a journey. a learning experience.

Barbara Bechtel said...

ahhhh, KJ, that is Voltaire you are referring to....

Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.

kelleysbeads said...

Sigh, it is humbling and a little hurtful to the ego, isn't it. But the hurt will pass and the creativity will come back in a new voice. And it will still be your own.

Emerald Window said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. When I was young, I thought I had invented double stick tape. Imagine my surprise when I saw it for sale in the store!
We all have great ideas now and then. Just because someone else has them too doesn't mean they still aren't great.
Can you do a little something differant, better on your beads to make them more unique?
This is a good excuse to contact the maker of the beads and say "Hey, I had that idea too and thought I was special, and now I see you're special too!" Might be the start of a great friendship.

Barbara Bechtel said...

Thank you everyone! I'm okay and not too bruised. I actually prepared this post yesterday but edited today after I worked up the cojones to post it...and decided I would just DO IT. I closed my eyes and cringed and hope for the best.


Hopemore Studio said...

Gosh I hate to say..been there, done that...but I think it happens to all of us... especially when you create alot! The pieces you made are still very much yours, made by your own hands, therefore no matter the similarity they will have your inherent style. I'm glad to hear you will give these items a new life in your very original jewelry.

Not to sound to quirky but I do believe in abundance. Also, that it's very possible to pluck the same idea as someone else, kinda like 2 apples from the same tree.

You are very talented and full of ideas that have not yet been revealed. Watch, wait, listen and keep those hands busy :) !


Barbara Bechtel said...

Good gracious, Angie! Abundance. I've been seizing on that word lately when I've been working on some new branding for my site.

It is all a learning process. I firmly believe that. you killed me with the double stick tape comment. It reminded of that movie, Romy & Michele's High School Reunion where Michele invented Post-It notes.

Not really but I am looking for some humor in my situation, so maybe I'm pretending I invented

TesoriTrovati said...

I laughed out loud about the double stick tape. And I too thought of Romy and Michelle! Great minds think alike... isn't that what they say?

Anyway... what I think is soul affirming is your reaction to the situation. Instead of getting all bent out of shape and letting this drag you down you are letting it go, moving on. It is easy to see that this is lifting you UP, freeing you to be creative. That is so encouraging and enlightening.

Thank you so much for having the cojones to post this, Barbara. And for turning this negative into a positive filled with light and hope.

Enjoy the day!

Rebecca said...

People say, if it's a good idea, someone else will have thought of it first! And it's often true. It's humbling but sometimes frustrating! You have such a distinctive style though, I feel sure you can translate whatever ideas you have into your own language of beautiful beads :-)

Katie Runnels said...

i sympathize and empathize with you sister! very brave post, indeed! keep your chin up and soldier forward with this knowledge! Seems to me that every time it happens it just helps challenge and refresh the whole process again and again. much love to are so talented! xo

Barbara Bechtel said...

Thank you all so much friends! I really appreciate all of your kind comments. It made me feel much better.

Pretty Things said...

Oh man. If it's any consolation, I love what you do and would readily make anything with whatever you made that you are worrying about! This is an interesting side of the copying story -- some people just think in similar ways because they've been inspired in similar ways. I hate that it's made you feel small. It shouldn't. Please email me if you want to chat, as you know how much I think of you.