How do you handle the occasional student who asks outright if they
may copy your design?
I think this depends on what they will do with the design. On this
one I have to disagree in part.
When I started out in working with resin inlay, many of the designs
looked just like my instructors. It was done so well, that when
people picked up a piece they would state, "oh, this must be
Claire's." I didn't mean to copy her directly, but because I was new
at the process and it was her instruction, they all had the "Claire"
Looking at BFA grads from particular art schools, I can tell which
students are from which programs and with which instructors. You
can't help it in the beginning because this is the only foundation
you know. However, you do develop your own style eventually and that
is the evolution of branding your own work.
For my granulation class at Revere Academy East from Ronda Corywell,
we all started out with the same Greek rosette. However, everyone's
was a little different. With the same granules, the same wire, the
same little scraps of silver and gold, no two were alike.
The world is such a big place and it is hard to get started on your
own idea. Students who come up against this stumbling block is when I
pick up a book of somebody's work and say, "here, copy this pendant."
They do, because it teaches them about fabrication methods, soldering
considerations, weight, placement, design line and they don't get as
frustrated because it is not their design. Sort of like copying old
masterworks in a museum.
Copying designs for EDUCATIONAL purposes is fine. SELLING copies of
designs as your own is wrong.
How about cooking? Recipes in a book are all about copying the
process and making the food exactly to what is in the book. They even
provide nice glossy pictures because your meatloaf surprise is
supposed to match the pretty picture in the book, right down to the
garnish and table setting options. It doesn't mean that everyone is
going to go out into the world and open restaurants based on your
Open the process, encourage practice and refinement and then assist
the students in developing their own personal style.
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio