Friday, June 25, 2010

More Thoughts on Original Designs

painted red warp ready to weave...

So, given that I believe that what today's professional weavers are selling is primarily their original designs, how do I feel about patterns (recipes) and kits?

When I first started weaving I kind of pooh-poohed them, but over the years I have come to understand that they serve a useful purpose.
First of all, not everyone has a real live teacher to help them learn to think and make decisions that will lead them to success. Not everyone has much tolerance for spending a lot of time, effort and money buying materials to wind up with something that is rather less than the successful item they were striving for. Not everyone is willing to risk all that and call a 'mistake' another brick in their foundation of knowledge.

Where I still baulk is when people will follow a pattern from a book or magazine precisely and then sell the finished item as a piece of 'original' work. Copyright law forbids selling someone else's creative work as their own, but many people don't seem to understand what a copyright is, or why it should be honoured.

When I have submitted work to a publication or present drafts in a workshop, I do so in the knowledge that some people will follow those directions exactly. And I have no problem with that so long as they don't sell what they make. If they enter the item in a juried exhibit it would be nice if they would give credit to the source.

But how much does someone have to change a pattern in order to call it theirs? IMHO they should at the very least change the colours used. If there is a stripe sequence, they might consider changing the proportions of the stripes. They might substitute different yarns, which might then mean changing the set.

In other words, take the design work done by someone else and use it as a springboard.

But in the end if the weaver doesn't feel confident enough to make any changes that's fine. They are still honing their skills, learning by doing, sharing their joy of being creative with their family and friends by giving them hand made gifts. Perhaps in time they might start to feel confident enough to begin challenging themselves by weaving their own designs. And if they never do, that's okay, too.

Currently reading Every Which Way but Dead by Kim Harrison


Sandra Rude said...

Love Kim Harrison, BTW. I think we have all her books to date on the book shelf. Fun, aren't they?

Laura said...

yes - a bit different - in a good way. I'm having the library bring in the ones they don't have on the shelves locally. :) Thanks to Syne for the recommendation.


Anonymous said...

One of the things I loved about first learning to weave was how easy it is to take a project in a magazine or a book and change it to make it your own. In my case this was inevitable as the magazines and books are mainly North American and we don't have ready access to the specified yarns! It strikes me as being very different from learning to knit, where it is very difficult to depart from a pattern successfully and even a simple yarn substitution can have ghastly consequences. But for weavers the steps to creating your own design can be taken one by one in the way you suggest, and suddenly you are up and running and drafting away with the best o' them - I think we're so lucky!!