I recently had an incident with someone copying my illustrations onto her ceramics without my permission. After some email communication in which she denied it flatly - she finally wrote to apologise. And I truly appreciate it.
Some friends and concerned family have told me I should have asked for more - but I felt that what she was prepared to do in retracting the work, was enough.
Personally, I would have thought simply giving my website and me the credit for her 'inspiration' would have been easier, and better for both of us.
The Letter from Lee: (quoted - her spelling and grammar)
U know ... I would really like to appologize for using your flower designs on my ceramics.
They are really lovely and inspirational. I did not mean to insult you.
I really cant remember where i first saw them, but be that as it may, it was not mine to use.
My ceramics are not mass produced as i am alone in my studio so i can only create a few pieces at a time. But for heartworks in Capetown no other shop has that range and i have taken them off my online shops.
The platters are still in my studio and not for sale.
My new range, also fynbos inspired goes online today.
Wishing u all the best... And much love and please forgive me for infringeing on your art... It really is a great compliment to you,
UPDATE: Copyright issue Bitter Sweet Truth
Many gold-leafed thank you's to one of my blog readers - the litigation lawyer (who would have known??) that kindly offered to take on my case on a pro bono basis. **Bow** You do your industry proud. I knight you: Sir Kindheart Needn't Cost-A-Lot : )
He asked me not to mention his name - otherwise I would be tweeting it from the treetops! : )
I decided NOT to go the retaliation route - trusting that Lee's apology and promise to remove all copies will be enough.
And now: Onwards and upwards my sweetpea's!
Just Jump In
As you read in the title - the topic of this post is NOT copycats - but Creativity and how to Keep it Flowing your way!
Creative inspiration is like a wave in the ocean. We all know when we're riding high on a wave of inspired thought.
There is nothing more freakin' awesome than experiencing the burst of super natural energy it brings into our creative lives. Riding the wave of inspiration, we can reach great heights in our work, invent new techniques and discover new abilities.
However, being a wave - the inspiration doesn't last for ever.
At some stage we all fall into the desert of dreariness again and for a while can come to believe that we'll NEVER reach that dizzy state of true original thought, inspiration and fabulous productivity again.
Some of the oldie's who've been around the block a bit, however, know that another wave will come in good time... and that that's part of the fun.
So what's NOT fun? When we are hoping to catch the wave, but still standing on the shore.
If you are here now: JUST JUMP IN
If you're not IN THE WATER, you won't catch the wave.
I have spent daaaays walking on the shore of a project, desperate to find inspiration, forgetting that the quickest way for me to get it is by JUMPING in and starting somewhere - anywhere.
Jumping in is also a cure for FEAR, which is one of the main reasons we avoid the sea of creativity.
Of course there's fear: One of my favourite quotes about fear and creativity is by Meryl Streep who said something along the lines of this; Every time I start a new movie I think: Oh God, tomorrow they're going to find out that I can't really act!
This from a multi-award winning actress?!? Which just makes my little un-famous heart feel, like, its OK to have a little quake of fear, a wobble of self-esteem and a shiver of apprehension that, maybe - this time - I can't/wont be able to deliver the goods that seemed to effortlessly flow from me the last time!
Some Ways to Jump In NOW:
If it's art/ craft/making stuff - find a kid to join you and just start creating. You can NEVER play art with a kid and NOT learn something new or get re-inspired. They use paint, crayons, pens, food colouring, spit, paper, glue,food and toys and they just HAVE FUN. They mix things that shouldn't mix and do things you never thought would work.
If it's writing : DON"T go and read a book. Take paper/journal/pens and go somewhere out of your comfort zone. Sit there and write what you see/hear/feel.
If it's music : same as both above. Grab a bunch of kitchen equipment and get some young kids to join you banging out some loud raucous stuff - just for the fun of it. Go and record sounds in places you don't usually think of as musical...make music with those.
If it's choreography : Kids again! Dance with them in the lounge. Go into nature. Watch the birds fly, the fish swim, the ants run, the snake slither, the trees sway and speak that language in your movements.
In all endeavors to reconnect with your creativity; Go back to what/where/when it originally was that got you so crazy-happy to do what you do in the first place.
It's usually somewhere in your childhood. That's where the spark of inspiration still lies, like a magic wand, ready to be picked up and used again, whenever you happen to wander back down memory lane to meet your little artist self.
A good place to start your meander is in your very un-feng shui boxes and cupboards of old stuff that you haven't yet had the heart to throw away. Go there. Inspiration is calling : )
Saddened and dismayed to find my illustrations being copied and passed off as original work by local ceramics 'artist':
Below is my original work in black and white, done 4 years ago....
Below is an entire range of ceramics with copies of Leila Fanner Illustrations all over them.
This particular stripy flower I invented she seems to love the most and she claims to "only get my drawings from books on birds and fynbos".
She's even copied my signature style of drawing protea's.
FROM HER EMAIL TO ME:
"I think copying means different things to different people.
I have removed the ceramic items that ‘look’ like your work
Heaven forbid that I would ever copy someone work…I mean we a small community like you say.
I am sure I was inspired subconsciously by an item I might have seen somewhere…
But I had never even heard of you untill now.
I like to believe my ceramics is unique and original…. And thought my proteas were…
I mean u can see my style clearly…copying means taking a copy of the EXACT original…which is NOT what I have done.
After seeing your things on your site I can 100% see why one would think that…
However its not the case.
I was inspired by some of the images somewhere along the way….
I am sorrry to have caused you an upset and appreciate you approaching me directly.
I will withdraw any items (with immediate effect) that mlook even vaguely like your work,
This is someone who calls her work 'unique, original and luscious'. It's just sad.
I take original fynbos flowers and filter them through my imagination and come up with my own 'take ' on a fantasy version of my favourites. This is why I recognise them immediately. So did the the shopkeeper who had the ceramics in her shop!!
When I wrote to her, she first denied knowing who I was or what I was talking about, then...
Her response - COPIED FROM EMAIL: (her grammar and spelling - not mine)
"Hey Leila! I have just googled your work and almost fell off my chair! I couldnt believ how similar it was! The LAST thing i want is for someone or ANYONE to think i have copied someones work.
I will change my style immediately and redesign the ceramics so there is no similarities to your work. The image of your flower might have got stuck in my head somewhere..... I have a photograhic memory... Blessing or curse that may be. - have been work on these designs for more than a year now.
I appreciate u pointing it out to me,
Photographic memory? Seriously? And yet she can't remember where she saw my work?