More spooky muzak stuff. Sometime back some textile friends were chatting, and a person's work came up for discussion, it was remarked upon how good it was and unusual - but then another person piped up "but its a copy of someone else, its not original to her". And I thought... yes there is a familiarity about this work, but I can't quite place it. Then last night reading and there it was, not the same at all, but enough so you'd think they came from the same person, or they'd both attended the same workshop, and gone on to make their own interpretation. Perhaps in this case it was a shared experience, who knows, but equally it could easily be a shared vision. Some people can be really nasty when they see work which they believe you've copied from them. I've heard of threatened legal action and all sorts. And of course its always - who had the idea first?
Back at the April ERTF Conference Stacey, the speaker, commented that we should make notes of our ideas, and date them, so we have a record. But lots of these things grow over time, and a snippet first thought of can take months or years before it emerges into work.
Many years back I bought a stitch book opened it and stared at "my" work. It was obvious that both the artist in the book and myself had used the same source picture. In my case from one of these coffee table books which are nothing but pretty pictures. Of course beyond the source material and colours, the pieces weren't the same, mine was all hand stitch, the one in the book machine. But working back publishing timelines/date the source book came out, I guessed we'd likely both been working on the piece around the same time.
If you look back at textile history you can find textile techniques which are very similar prevalent in countries hundreds of miles apart - the only way to share would be by rowing in primative boats across vast seas. Similar ideas and techniques do develop without reference to others.
Its really difficult when you have an idea for a piece, or a technique and its sitting there on your table and you open a magazine, a website, attend a lecture and ta dah - there it is. Am I on trend and having these brilliant ideas the same time as others.... or don't I possess a single idea of my own? I think we just have to have the courage to continue, to do so with integrity, to work it out for ourself and not study another's version - and come to a piece which is your own. But its not easy to continue, so I've found, when looking at other similar ideas and pieces, because there's a world of difference between knowing 100% you've not seen the other things, you've not met the person, copied their work in any way, and yet with their version in the public eye, it looks exactly like its not original to you. I guess that's why we're Artists, to keep trying, exploring, expanding and to put your own style onto something.
Perhaps after all that thinking, I need to lay down!!
Did You Ever Stop to Think
and Forget to Start Again.
Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne