I understand that originality is a necessary, and often rewarding, trait where creativity is concerned. All master musicians, artists, designers, writers, and creators, in general, are considered to be superior in part because what they produce is original. Making a work their own is not only what makes them noteworthy but also will keep the artist far away from copyright boundary issues.
But, I’m going to rock the boat today, something I rarely do, by disagreeing that being original means works of art or crafts have to be unlike what anyone else has produced. I believe this to be true for the following reasons:
- A large majority of those with creative minds have been inspired by other art forms and artists.
- There are really just a handful of basic themes from which to draw in all art forms.
- Sometimes creating in the style of a master in the field in which a person is working is a method that person uses to learn her craft.
- Exposure to the best of the world’s arts and crafts is critical for those who want to improve their skills.
Of course I am not supporting plagiarism in any form. What I am supporting is inspiration. Reading award-winning books will contribute to a person’s ability to write well.Want to write professionally? Read books by Dickens, J.K. Rowlings. and William Faulkner, to name but a few. Spending time in museums of art, or the Google Arts and Culture site, for that matter, sparks the imaginations of those who aspire to paint, draw, sculpt, or curate. Is being a musician a dream of yours? Listen to Beethoven, Billie Holiday, and Puccini.
So in the day of Pinterest in particular, and technology in all its iterations, people are more often putting their ideas, methods, projects, and renderings online specifically to inspire or motivate others. The craft culture has become one of sharing, collaborating, and supporting one another. I’m all for that!
Here is a project I made from inspiration I found on Pinterest. It does not look exactly like the one I saw online. It’s not nearly as well-executed. But here it is, and I like it myself.
The concept was beads around bottles. I used three bottles (one was vintage), beads I had in my collection, and plants I found by the pond. Using found objects and materials I already had satiated my repurposing addiction.
“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.”
– Japanese Proverb