Friday, August 28, 2015

Oh I Could Totally Make That...

When I first started making my doll face creations, I felt like I had really started something original. I had only seen the old faces used to make actual dolls or those crocheted pot holders.  Oh, and the tissue boxes!  How could I forget about the tacky greatness of vintage doll face tissue boxes?!  I eventually discovered the work of vintage crafty goddess, Magpie Ethel, and realized she also used doll faces.  I should add that I was instantly smitten with her work and collections too, quickly adding her to my list of crafty idols.  I was secretly mortified.  Was my work different enough from what she was doing? Would she think I was copying her work?  I know we each have our own style, but I didn't want anyone to think I had stolen someone else's idea.  I consulted friends and family to get their opinions and would have asked Laurie herself, had I been able to figure out a way to do so that wouldn't be totally awkward.  I'm pretty confident in my work now and I still think I'm doing something pretty original, as is Laurie.  So what's the point of this long-winded post then?
Image from Threadless

I'm just going to go ahead and say it.  I hate copycats.  I know what you're thinking, but imitation isn't really that flattering.  It's kind of annoying.  I'm not talking about someone who just coincidentally happened upon an idea similar to mine.  My copycats have been people who actively follow me on social media accounts, leave me comments, and often ask me questions about where I get things or how I've done something.  There's been a few lately, not just with my work, so I feel like addressing it.  I'm still fairly new to the game.  I think I started making doll face items in 2012. I'm by no means an expert on the subject of copying others creations, but I think it's generally frowned upon in the handmade community.  I, just as other artists, pour my heart and soul into my creations.  I spend a large amount of time, not something I really don't have a lot of to spare, finding the perfect supplies and improving my work.  I think other makers who use vintage supplies can testify to the fact that it takes a bit of effort and digging to find things we can use.  I'm sure that's even true of those who use newly made supplies.  I realize I'm not doing anything super difficult and that it is quite feasible that just about anyone can make what I'm making.  You may even be quietly repeating the title of this post as you browse my creations.  That's not really the point, though.  

Being creative means that you come up with original ideas, you create new things, you evolve and improve your creations.  Stealing someone else's ideas is insulting, especially when you are trying to profit from them and not giving credit where it's due.  You are essentially disregarding all the hard work that was first put into that creation.  You are shouting to the world that what I or someone else originally made isn't really that special, because look how easily it was recreated.  That sounds a bit dramatic, but I think it's true.  I've had some serious moments of doubt after seeing someone copy my work, but am lucky to have amazing support and encouragement.  So now I mostly use copycats as motivation for improvement, but I think about those who aren't as confident or don't have friends telling them that their stuff is way better than the copies.  Sit down and think up your own idea.  If you really love a handmade item, support the artist and buy it.  And for Pete's sake, if you really feel like you need to copy someone's work, keep it to yourself!  To those of you who are working hard and creating amazing original items, keep at it and stay awesome!


  1. Phew! I so get his and SO AGREE that we both have our own styles and can exist side by side with our little crafting niches. I also SO AGREE how annoying it is to have a copycat...and they are out there. I work hard to hunt down what I do with vintage finds and come up with ideas in my own little brain to make something my own style or spin. Feel free to email would not have been awkward. (I could tell you some wild copy cat tales)

  2. Fact: Truly talented ladies (Molly & Laurie & Heidi Kenney to name a few creative masterminds) have 100% a genuine style all your own. I'm fairly confident I could recognize and distinguish the amazing creations that come from your (adorable and drool-worthy dreamboat) studios. Let's hear it for the real makers, not artificial recreaters that can't think of their own ideas.