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Techniques vs Design


#1

I would like to present an idea that has sprung from a previous
thread " sharing techniques “i believe the twist i am to present is
off on tangent far enough to warrant a new thread there is some
relationship and basis in this previous thread but i believe my point
is strong enough to stand on its own as a foundation for further
discussion. The topic is explained thus - Do certain techniques
result in designs so similar that it is extemly difficult to mostly
not possible to create designs that do not have the appearance or are
"look alikes” of those of the original maker? I illustrate from my
two examples who will be Michael Good and Chris ploof, both of whom i
met in person at Kraftwerks 2008. (i hope you fellows do not mind as
i am mentioning you with out permission or prior heads up) both
demonstrated techniques and designs at a PAID FOR workshop. Mr. Goods
demonstration involved a technique of hammering that produced certain
predictable results from certain shapes of sheetmetal resulting in a
form that has a very distinct shape that to the untrained eye looks
like perhaps this is a Michael Good piece. Mr. Ploofs demonstration
produced a piece of material that could be transformed into any type
of form even a piece of material that if Mr. Good cared to he could
form into one of his designs. NOW here is my point do certain
techniques give results that usually look like similar enough styles
to be able to say you are stealing my idea? So … i pose this to
the orchidians for comment to support or reject -

best regards goo
Gustavo hoefs


#2

Do certain techniques result in designs so similar that it is
extemly difficult to mostly not possible to create designs that do
not have the appearance or are “look alikes” of those of the
original maker?

If the technique has a very narrow application, what Goo says could
be true… I take at least one workshop per year to add new
techniques. I once drove 1000 miles to take a workshop with a
California jeweler whose work is immediately recognizable, etched
bi-metal with the copper blackened. It was a wonderful workshop,
filled with sharing ideas and techniques and a copy of instructions
for making this type of work. The artist told everyone that this is
her livelihood so to please not copy or share the instructions or go
out and give workshops in this technique. I respect that. While I
love this artist’s jewelry and bought one of her pieces, I don’t want
my work to be mistaken for anyone else’s so I put my own twist on the
technique and incorporate it into pieces that are recognizable as my
style. I think that’s the best way to use techniques learned in
workshops: master the technique and find a way to incorporate it into
your work without copying the originator’s designs or overall style.

Donna in VA


#3

hi all

I dont know if i am way off line with this one but here goes, a while
back i made a ring that was hammered with a bezel set stone and the
band was over lapped, it started as a triangle shaped bit of sheet so
the pointed bit was on the top (just so you get the idea), then one
day i had an email saying “that looks like one of my rings” although
the email wasnt a nasty one it made me think about some things.
unless it is an exact copy how can someone say that you more or less
used his/her idea, maybe 50 years ago someone made the exact same
thing who knows so unless you can search the whole planet and back
through history how can you say its your idea.

Its like the place where i bought my patterned brass sheet from, i
have seen rings made with the same pattern roll printed on to it so
how long will it be before two people end up making the same sort of
thing without know ing it. If i get an idea for an item i just go
and make it i dont search everywhere to see if someone else made the
same thing, maybe some item ANY of use make could be copies as they
say “great minds think alike” and to behonest i dont care if someone
copied one of my things maybe thats just me, at the end of the day
there are bigger things happening in the world these days.

If a good customer of your came to you with a magazine and showed
you a photo and said will you make this in another metal or with
different stones but same design, how many of you would turn them
away

i would just like to say at this point im sorry if i got the wrong
end of the stick with this post

regards
jason


#4
If a good customer of your came to you with a magazine and showed
you a photo and said will you make this in another metal or with
different stones but same design, how many of you would turn them
away 

This subject comes up quite often. The main issue here is definition
of “same design”. This term, taken to the extreme, can make practice
of goldsmithing an impossibility. I belong to the camp who thinks,
that if a piece is made by hand- fabrication only, the same design
cannot happen, so my advice is copy away. There is great saying in
design community which worth repeating. “Do not borrow other people
ideas. Steal them outright and make them your own.” This is not an
invitation to an unethical conduct. If someone having a negative
reaction the advice, read it al least 9 times and contemplate for an
hour before formulating an objection.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#5

Jason,

I’ve made the same ring for the same reason. Looked in the scrap pan
for something to work with. Never seen yours or anyone elses. It
happens.

Chris (beginner)


#6

Leonid

I must respond here with respect.

There may be a mix up here. There is an expression in the jewelry
trade: “They’ll steal a good design in a New York minute.”, which is
theft.

Your “Do not borrow other people ideas. Steal them outright and make
them your own.” comes from ‘poetry’ [I don’t remember who said it
originally; perhaps T S Eliot). It’s actually a metaphor “don’t
borrow, steal” The distinction being make it your own;. It becomes
so much of oneself that the origin is lost in the mists of time.
Borrowing shows in bad poetry.

I think great Russian poets might agree.
KPK


#7
Your "Do not borrow other people ideas. Steal them outright and
make them your own." comes from 'poetry' [I don't remember who said
it originally; perhaps T S Eliot). It's actually a metaphor "don't
borrow, steal" The distinction being make it your own;. It becomes
so much of oneself that the origin is lost in the mists of time.
Borrowing shows in bad poetry. 

This is one interpretation. Another way is to realize that copying
others designs is how we learn. If you like some idea, why not take
it and improve it. That what is meant by “steal it and make it your
own”. In scientific community it is very well understood and practice
is welcomed. Just give another guy a credit. That is all.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#8

An attempt to make an exact copy is wrong… downright theft. The
only possible exception is when it is a technical challenge which
will be shortly melted.

Building on a design is fine, doesn’t really matter if it is a ring
in a magazine or a tree or bug in the back yard.

Assuming the idea that your designs and techniques are unique is the
absolute height of arrogance, and it is usually is a long way down
when the day comes.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#9

this thread is not about stealing designs or copying other people’s
work it is about asking a question !!! is it possible for techniques
on rare occasions to be specific enough to result in predictable
designs - to turn this thread into a thread about design theft is
absoloute robbing this community of the opportunity to explore a
valid concept of reaching intellectual milestone to uplift our entire
art jewelry community. best regards goo


#10
Assuming the idea that your designs and techniques are unique is
the absolute height of arrogance 

jeff, in a physical sense we are each as different as our dna, so it
stands to reason that we are each unique, we are each totally
unique, we think specialized ways according to each one of our
evolutions, and create absolutely unique things, by nature that is.

As far as seeing that your design is different than any other
design, is also pretty basic, you look at it, and see.

I think that assuming that everyone and their creations are not
unique is very presumtive!!

to address a statement that has been agreed on quite a few times
lately; and not to brag or be arrogant, but i have discovered many
design motifs that have never been done in history, some just happen
and are very ad-lib because of jewelry being second nature to me,
some i plan in drawings, others in model form, but it always happens
when i touch and carve the material,i’m sure this happens to
EVERYONE, i have studied crafts and jewelry around the world from
15BC, very interested, dave


#11
is it possible for techniques on rare occasions to be specific
enough to result in predictable designs

Anticlastic raising?

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver


#12
this thread is not about stealing designs or copying other
people's work it is about asking a question !!! is it possible for
techniques on rare occasions to be specific enough to result in
predictable designs 

I suspect that my use of the word “steal” proved to be somewhat
uncomfortable for a majority. Alas, it helps to look beyond the words
sometime.

Goo asks an excellent question. Jewellery design is a breed apart
from any other designs. While it may be enough to create a pictorial
representation of an object on paper in other industries; in
jewellery much more is required.

Jewellery design consist of 3 integral parts: idea, technique, and
execution. Most of the designers get decent ideas, but not as strong
in choosing right techniques to express their ideas. Execution is the
weakest point in most of the works.

Whenever, I see something like that, I feel that I have a
responsibility to improve it if I can. And If I fail, I definitely
would want someone else give it a try.

What separates jewellery artist from a commercial jeweler is that
ability to put parochial instincts aside and allow an idea to bloom
into a fully fledged tour de force of artistry and skill. Very rare
individual can accomplish this alone. Most of the time, it requires
several goldsmiths trying to improve on previous efforts.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#13
it is about asking a question !!! is it possible for techniques on
rare occasions to be specific enough to result in predictable
designs 

Of course it is, and not only on rare occasions. There are tasks and
productions that will be approached in the same manner by anyone
skilled and experienced in the art. This is the reason that you
can’t patent an idea or process that would be obvious to a skilled
practitioner. Can you imagine someone claiming as intellectual
property the idea of bending or casting metal in a circle so that it
can be worn as jewelry on the finger?

Of course, the more complex the product or the process in making it,
the less likely that even skilled practitioners will have duplicate
end results, but the probability is not zero.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#14

Hi Leonid,

This is one interpretation. Another way is to realize that copying
others designs is how we learn. If you like some idea, why not
take it and improve it. That what is meant by "steal it and make it
your own". In scientific community it is very well understood and
practice is welcomed. Just give another guy a credit. That is all. 

I have to disagree here with you. As it happens I belong to both
scientific and artistic community and in scientific circles
techniques are easily shared and developed. However scientific ideas
are considered intellectual property and taking somebody’s idea is
disrespected in the same way as in art. Saying all that accidents
happen and sometimes two scientists study the same thing in parallel
for a while without knowing it. It actually experienced this myself
recently. Guess what? Now we are collaborating instead of competing
with each other. We met and decided to study different aspects of the
same scientific problem. I think this kind of open collaborations
make science strong and I would like to see more of it in art.

Olga Barmina
University of California Davis


#15

Some thoughts on this subject.

-I went to an exhibit of paining student’s work. The students
studied various masters over the years with their teacher. The work
was copies or take-offs of well know work and the cards read
something like, “John Smith in the style of Matisse” or “Matisse’s
XYZ done by John Smith”.

-In most of the workshops I organized for PSG, the artists welcomed
work in their style as long as the work was for private consumption,
not for sale. After one workshop with Paul Mergen, I made several
hammered copper necklaces. Then this year went to see the Calder
jewelry exhibit at the Phila Museum of Art and YIKES…Calder
copied me! Seriously, I never new he made jewelry until that exhibit.

  • I believe Sharon Church wrote an article in Metalsmith a few years
    ago in which she said students first learn by emulating their
    teachers then they go on their own journey. For a long while their
    work looks like copies.

So now when I do something that is inspired or like someone else’s
work, I inscribe on the back of the piece or on the card “inspired
by____”. And if I don’t recognize that I did it? What can I do but
apologize when it is brought to my attention?

Esta Jo Schifter
Phila PA


#16

Dave,

in a physical sense we are each as different as our dna, so it
stands to reason that we are each unique,,, we are each totally
unique, we think specialized ways according to each one of our
evolutions,, and create absolutely unique things,, by nature that
is. 

Granted that we all have different DNA, it is still probably close
to a 95%+ match with any chimpanzee.

Still I’d like to see you come up with a new original design for a 3
stone ring. Gawd awful ugly and/or unwearable have already been
tried. :slight_smile:

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#17
Still I'd like to see you come up with a new original design for a
3 stone ring. 

hi i noticed that you have helixes on your website, was wondering if
you have experimented with helixes screwed together?, i make them in
wood, and have a bunch of designs with them screwing together
(circular helix), and laying side by side, a right hand strand, and
a left hand, next to each other, screws into each other, is really
cool, to me there are so many ways to present them, in relation to
each other, basically unexplored territory… …as for the 3 stone
ring i say put 3 stones in the flower knot ring, or the make the
fire design into a ring, dave


#18
as for the 3 stone ring i say put 3 stones in the flower knot
ring

Any design is as original as the hand that makes it, but in a
conceptual way, the above has been done at least a million
times… The discussion of originality must assume that the
speaker has some real knowlege of the history of jewelry design to
begin with.

As for the original question ---- Mokume is mokume is mokume is
mokume… Yes, an expert might say “that’s the left twist, not the
right twist”. To the casual observer it’s all mokume…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#19

I may be way off base, but how I interpreted Gustavo’s original post
was that teachers that teach a technique to students that results in
designs being made by the students that is similar enough to warrant
some to call the works copies (or, stolen).

The example that immediately came to mind was a very good friend of
mine that did an article in one of the artistic jewelry magazines.
She presented a great tutorial on piercing and engraving. This
combination of techniques was a staple of her style, and she was
starting to gain some recognition for it. But, then she started
running into works online that looked exactly like her style.

In a discussion with her, she had said that she knew that this might
happen, but had remorse when she actually started to see the designs
posted for sale or display.

I am not sure how often this happens. But, it very well could have
been a tutorial on making a forged hollow ring, an original chain
design, or even a linked bracelet design. But, when one posts a
tutorial or teaches a class on a technique, there has to be some
design to the thing being made. Is the artist that is posting or be
some design to the thing being made. Is the artist that is posting
or teaching giving permission for the design to be reproduced?

Now, design can more easily be discussed in a class or tutorial
specifically on design or an aspect of design, such as “Using Cold
Connected Layers” or “Designing with Hollow Forms.” But, unless you
are going to include the design aspect of the creative process,
everyone should assume that the design is up for grabs, in my
opinion. However, I personally think it would be a waste of time to
do so; newbies might think differently.

There was another example a few years ago when I met a designer who
was making pendants, and she sighted her mentor on her website. So, I
looked him up, and low and behold their works were of the same
theme, the same materials, the same techniques. Further Googling
showed that many other girls were out there making copies, and they
sighted this same guy as their mentors. This teacher was an Native
American who has his website chock full of books that you can buy
from him on creativity and originality, even though if you took some
of each of these people’s works, put them in a bag, and shook them,
anyone would have a hard time figuring out who did what. I busted a
gut laughing at that, lol, but when I asked this original girl that
I had met about it, she became defensive and denied that there were
similarities.

I also tried to get her to discuss the possibility that her teacher
had taught her in a native tradition, even if the works were based on
Greek Gods and Goddesses. But, she’d have nothing of it. She was
totally original in her opinion. However, the teacher was original,
the students were copying, in my opinion.

The gist of the problem with this scenario, was that the teacher
never discussed design options outside of the techniques or even
subject matter (nor encouraged her to look for other teachers or
artists). And, within this group of girls and this teacher, this was
OK. However, the general public may not agree. If she wins an award
for her work, she is winning with a copy in my mind.

It’s definitely a sticky wicket. But, I think that Gustavo was
hitting on something that is happening frequently. Some Jewelry
teachers come into my area and spouse to teach jewelry techniques,
but everyone makes the same thing. One even went as far as to say his
ideas were controversial concerning how he teaches soldering. “The
experts say that you need this or that, but I prove them wrong.” And,
he does, but only within the context of this one style. He then he
has trained a bunch of folks to only use materials in one way,
resulting in a bunch of people who make things that look in the same
style. And, then they have this notion that, that this one way is the
only way.

Whether it is a published tutorial or a class, something about
design should be mentioned. Teachers should encourage people to be
open minded and learn from as many sources as possible. There is no
one correct way to do anything. This forum proves it. If I asked
everyone on here to list exactly step by step how they would solder
a simple band 14k band, we would get at least 100 differences. And,
they all would work. well, most would, lol.

OK, sorry about the novel, LOL.

Michael Johnson
http://cosmicfolklore.ganoksin.com/blogs/
www.cosmicfolklore.com


#20

Dave,

i noticed that you have helixes on your website,, was wondering
if you have experimented with helixes screwed together?,, i make
them in wood, and have a bunch of designs with them screwing
together (circular helix), and laying side by side, 

Your thoughts are helixes very good, worth more thought and playing.
Shoving 3 stones into an existing design hardly qualifies as a new
design.

(I was referring to a classic 3 stone ring) I re-use my old ideas and
historical designs all the time. You might combine ideas 50k years
old with stuff you thought of a week ago, nothing is really new. The
best you can do is to try make it your own style and smile.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand