To share or not to share

handmade journal - black feather - blue wood book by TreeTreesBindery

When I started my Internet Adventure and decided to sell my jewelry online three years ago, I was asked by one of my bead suppliers, "Aren´t you afraid of being copied then"?

Well, the positive fact: if you show your products to everyone, everyone can see them!
.........the negative fact: if you show your products to everyone, everyone can see them!

But this is going to be a post about sharing, not about copying!

I'm really happy and thankful that so many brilliant people in the past decided to share their knowledge, wisdom and experiences with me! Before the Internet revolution, to acquire knowledge you had to read lots of books, visit exhibitions, attend workshops..... I remember when I saw an exhibition of a very famous beader ages ago, I went home and started to experiment trial by error. It took me years to find out things that today you can learn on the internet in a few hours! (I really was blown away by this discovery!)

As an artist you like to show your work. You want people to buy your work. You want to show how your work comes into being, and engage peoples interest. So you start to share things people might want to know about you and your work,  about your motivations and your working processes!

I love to blog about crafting! I share working processes and experiences with all kinds of materials.
But I have to admit there are some secrets I keep. I don´t share my beadwork patterns and special solutions for beadwork problems, which I found out by trying again and again.

One of my "pattern books" hand drawn and colored.

I´m sure you all have some secrets about your work you don´t want to share. What do you find you like to share and what do you like to keep to yourself?


steinschmuckdesign said...

Great article! For me it is the same, I am very thankfull for all the advices, tips and nolige I got from other sharing Artits and I could learn sooo much. I love to share creations that catch my Eye from other Artists and yes of course my own work, with keeping some secrets, like I get so often askes where I get my stones from, but I think, special suppliers everyone should seek for there own :)

Lauren said...

Fabulous post! Sadly, there will always be those who want to copy beautiful work instead of creating their own. We have all seen stolen photos and even received messages of "I want to make this- where did you get all of the supplies and how did you do it". If I wanted to share THAT much, I would sell PDF's - but no time for that right now. However, I truly believe for a product to be great, and artist must try and try and try and find what works for them. It is an individual journey and not one that can be achieved from a copy.

Genevieve said...

Since polymer clay is not taught in art programs at the college level, I have learned much of what I know because other polymer artists share what they've learned on the internet and in books. I try to keep this sense of "democracy" going by sharing short tutorials on my blog and talking about my process while not giving every detail away.

Nicolas Hall said...

Beautiful post!

As for what I like to share, well, almost anything except for what I consider to be the "magic" of my work. Those little secrets and time-explored aspects that are truly my own creations, even in technique.

I've said it so many times, if a number of people view my work and decide "I am going to do that!" I am fine with that.

Even if they have the tools and the information to do it, 75% will not follow through once they begin. 20% will not be able to execute the work at my level and will get frustrated and the other five percent will either not have the drive to keep at it in terms of a business or will become bored with it long before it gets to the point of my needing to worry.

My hope would be that they would quickly begin down their own road, taking what they like of my work and adding to it or building on it to make it their own.

And, if not, well, I feel strong enough about the QUALITY of my work that hey, the more the merrier. If it draws attention to me as well then I want people out there to do similar things. I'll take my chances with what I have to offer any day of the week. :)

Thanx for sharing! :)


Jennifer Cowgill said...

great entry. I will often share what could generally be discovered with a quick google. I share special suppliers with other jewelry makers who I have a trusting friendly relationship with.

I don't really have any techniques that can't be duplicated w/o some skill and dedication, so I am usually okay with sharing with people who seem driven to succeed, but not driven to duplicate my shop.

Lee Wolfe Pottery OneClayBead said...

What a thought provoking topic! I share almost anything with other artisans that might help them to succeed in selling their own work or being more productive. I share simple techniques in clay. I don't share the techniques or glaze recipes I have developed on my own that make my work my own with everyone. I believe we should all find a way of using our media that we discover on our own. To me, that's an essential part of an artist's life.

ABreathOfFrenchAir said...

Great blog post! I love to talk, and share with other soap makers. I have over 100 videos on YouTube that I posted about making soap, some tips on mixing soap, and cutting the final product. Coming up with your own recipe that works is a lot of work, so I only share my pot of oils to the public. They know what oils are in the pot, but not the formula.

TuckooandMooCow said...

This is a fantastic topic! I find myself sharing a LOT. I don't necessarily talk about my techniques very often, but I have talked about almost everything else. I really like to help others find the personal sense of success I've found. While I won't share knowledge it's taken me a long time to acquire, I'll gladly impart nearly any other information to those interested. Thank you!