About Liana

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Brisbane, Australia
My studio is located in Brisbane, Australia. For the past 10 years I’ve been enjoying creating jewellery designs from an array of mundane materials. Tupperware and knitting needles have remained a firm favourite. My designs have been published numerous times, graced the shelves of many wonderful galleries and stores and been worn by those whose aren’t afraid of colour and attention. All of which I am very grateful for. For several years I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with many businesses as a coach and workshop facilitator.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

CRAFT - Give Me a C For......






Recently I experienced a few incidents of copying. This had upset me because it was so on my turf. But I feel pretty over that now and choose to relabel those experiences (and no doubt future/continuing ones) as "incidents of influencing others". I choose to feel hugely influential!

Although I feel pretty OK, those experiences along with other mounting evidence has let me to feel a a bit down on Craft. I feel like I have been defending Craft for ages now (against the tyranny of design) but when I needed and wanted it to defend me, it sort of let me down. Perhaps I was just being naive but I bought into the big smiley face that Craft puts on. I thought that the Craft world was a friendly, caring place where we all look out for and support each other. But now I don't think that is always the case and I suspect that it may be as cut throat as say, Fashion and Design. I can live with that, but let's just drop the pretence and be a little more honest about it.

25 comments:

The Shopping Sherpa said...

I think a lot of the issue is people aren't aware of the copyright laws.

Say, for instance, person #1 makes a fabric pear. And shares the pattern. My reasoning is I can't sell pears made from that pattern unless I have made significant changes to make it my own (and no, using different fabric to the original doesn't count!) But then I see person #2 selling said pears. And person #3. And someone else selling something I know came directly from a recent popular craft book.

And I get grumpy as I feel like I'm "playing by the rules" and they're not.

For the same reason I also hate those posts that go: "Wow! Look at this cool thing someone is making! How cool would it be to make your own version?" (No, how cool would it be to support the original artisan?!)

Sorry for the mini rant :-)

Liana said...

You know I love you for it! Rant away.

Thanks also to someone who really supported me recently. I really appreciated it. You know who you are - happy holiday!

Betty Jo said...

I found a person making eerily similar pieces to mine at a market recently. I seriously couldn't tell if they had copied or had come up with the idea totally independantly.
Of course they weren't telling.

In an ideal world, people who are short on original ideas should just stick to craft for pleasure,(nothing wrong with that) No need to profit from it and flood the markets with copied products.

Jejune said...

It really sucks when people do that, doesn't it - clearly lacking in original thought themselves. As someone who's worked in graphic design and fine art for much of my life, I've seen plenty of this sort of thing before. I always try my best to support craftspeople and artists, and fight against the 'grey people' who take advantage.

Good on you for persevering. Hopefully when it comes to the crunch, your originality and high level of skill will win the day (was that enough cliches for you?!).

staceyjoy said...

This is something that has happened to me for years. I'm a former industrial knitwear designer who has her own shop, and post things online quite freely. Then, crafters come by, see what I've done, and apply their own standards to it: "Oh, I'm going to do what she's doing and sell it!". Extremely frustrating. It's the sign of an amateur, but frustrating none theless. Hang in there, and speak up when you need to!

Liana said...

Thanks you all for sharing your own experiences because I know I am not alone. That's why I think this is a little victory for us all:

http://whipup.net/2007/07/21/whiplash-entries-july/

Liana said...

I'll try that again and if it doesn't work you're just going to have to cut & paste!

http://whipup.net/2007/07/21/whiplash-entries-july/

Janette said...

Liana, I totally support you and admire your gentle approach to this situation. Also very pleased to read one prominent site is supporting you.

Wishing you the best for your fabulous business and unique, original ideas.

Jodie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liana said...

Thank you Janette.

I do think there needs to be a level of responsibility in the Craft world. I just don't think it is OK to elevate Craft on the one hand and then (essentially) undermine those that are trying to make a living from it on the other.

Craft (blogs, organisations etc) take a stand and be one thing or the other, because you just can't have it both ways.

Hope said...

Liana, not everyone who does what you're doing is copying you. You're doing something that's been done for years and years. I'm sure you independently came up with the idea. But other people have independently come up with it to, both before and after you.

Now, since I cannot see the tuturial that WhipLash took down, I don't know if that one in particular was copying you specifically. And it is a shame that people will sometimes copy instead of use their own ideas. But some ideas will develop independently more than once.

Liana said...

Hi Hope,

I would absolutely agree that many ideas will develop independently of eachother and that most people do not copy.

When I made my plastic knitting needle bangles I spent many hours researching to see if this idea may have been done before. I never saw any examples of this, which of course doesn't mean that someone somewhere hadn't done it, but I did feel as sure as I could be that it was an original idea.

People are free to try ideas for themselves. I have never asked anyone to stop making anything or to stop discussing the how to's, including Whip Up.

I did learn a few things from this whole experience, which is always a good thing. Anyway time to move on now - onwards and upwards... now...

Peta said...

Lots of food for thought here. I have to admit that I am guilty of seeing great ideas and thinking - I could do that, or something similar, but the idea is only ever used as an influence, or if it's a free pattern, it is only ever used for myself. I just wouldn't have the audacity to sell someone else's idea as my own. I have never been in the situation where anyone has blatantly ripped off my work (that I am aware of), and I may be naive but i like to think that at least the original has integrity. Okay, I take that back... I am naive!!

fun_is_always_in_style said...

You are the original & it takes LOTS of nerve to copy your work so directly. It seems to go against the whole purpose of making things! self(?) expression - -

beck said...

public domain people public domain.
Once it's out there on view there's really not much you can do to control what happens, and when someone acutally buys it they can do whatever they like with it as well.It's an irritating reality of being an independant designer that you will not be in a financial or legal position to chase down and follow up on those who copy your work outright. Large firms employ people specifically to go around to retailers, trawl online, and hit the trade fairs to find things that can be copied, and many of us have experienced this first hand. Even working in a small independant shop i've had people come in and try to take photos of other peoples work, and when told they cant, start drawing it and taking down specs, and then get remarkably shirty when I tell them this is clearly not kosher. The whole I made it myself pehnomenon has lead many to think that they too can make it themselves, and profit from the outcome. The dark side to crafting something handmade and one that very rarely gets an airing. So thanks for getting this one out there Liana. The only way around this is to make sure you spend some time getting your name, design 'ownership' and branding out into the public domain as well as your actual product so people actually see you associated with it first. It's interesting but crafters who now sell their work are going to have to start dealing with the same kinds of issues commerical designers have been dealing with for decades... ie if someone can copy it, they will.
The good thing is that they will always be copies, and the people who copy will move quickly move onto someone else's work quickly while you'll be putting your creative energies into new and exciting products they dont have the creativity to be able to come up with in the first place.
good luck and viva original ideas!
whoa, that really was a rant!!!

modmom said...

you're the best liana!

knitsteel said...

Ok, I promise not to copy you.

I think it must be a lot of work to copy someone else's designs. Influence is one thing, but exact copying is a labor in itself. Why put all that labor into someone else's exact pieces?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

On the knitting needle bangles, and rings and brooches... There's at least one Melbourne designer who has been making these for the last 4 years... Now there seem to be at of versions... She definitely came up with the idea independently.. I was there when the light bulb came on.. Anyhow, given the ebb and flow of fashion, design and materials its not surprising that there is independent simultaneous design... Most peole are playing by the rules... but a good idea is gonna take off... Bring on the next great idea!

Sherrin said...

I know this is an old post, but I wanted to comment anyway. Copying sucks- especially when it's right there in your face.

I know there is someone in Melb (someone else commented on this earlier) who makes bangles like this too. She does metal ones, I don't know about plastic.

The funny thing is, I have a huge amount of thrifted knitting needles, and thought I would do something with them today. After seeing a friends metal bangle, I thought I would have a go with plastic. (I blogged them today) They turned out okay, but I wanted to see if I could find anything online to refine it a bit. Which is when I found you!

Especially after seeing this post, I would never try and sell them!! ;o)

Good luck with everything- your work is great. Really unique. I love the more recent posts showing barbie face brooches. What a cool idea! And also how you use kids coat hangers.

Anyway, I've dribbled on for long enough!! :o)

Blackbird Corner said...

A close friends Grandmother used to make knitting needle bangles for her when she was little. (I'm nearing 40 - shhhh!) BUT not to sell. As a treat. She still has them, though they're too small for obvious reasons. Despite knowing that, if I see them anywhere I always assume that they're Liana Kabel. Because everyone with any craft knowledge/access to the net KNOWS you independantly dreamt them up & your reputation precedes you. Why another crafter would take it upon themselves to start retailing similar creations is utterly beyond me. How embarassing it must be when Customers say "Oh? You sell Liana Kabel Knitting needle bangles!!" It is incredible that anyone could claim ignorance (unless they live under a rock!) xxx

sophiehillartist said...

Again - I hear you loud and crystal clear - this seems to be so bloody common...

I too was drugged by the happy-go-lucky and I'm-super-friendly persona that craft evokes... nope, no way, nu huh!

It's a dog-eat-dog world, and unfortunately there are no exceptions. I also have been partial to the whole: "let bygones be bygones." - but enough is enough now...

Granted, accusations can hurt - but if you trust in what you do, and get accused, then the hurt should not exist - it is only when you are found out (guilt) that the hurt really creeps in and manifests itself into a retaliation of anger!

-Sophie

objectsofwhimsy said...

Liana just found this post and Im sorry you feel that people are stealing your original process and potential livelihood. Unfortunately if you havent patented your process, material you really dont have the right to tell anyone that they cant make money out of bending knitting needles into jewellery. Because your material is readymade it would have to be the process that you copyright and I suggest you do if you feel that threatened by others. (please refer to Dinosaur Designs and their patent) If a Chinese manufacturere sees your designs and decides they would be a good seller you would see the market flooded with millions of knitting needle jewellery. The way to protect yourself is to keep the design and development aspects of your label progressing dont rely on the one process use the skills that you have developed in research aid you in discovering other processes. Good Luck for the future!

Liana said...

Hello objectsofwhimsy. I agree with you on a number of points. You often can't tell anyone not to do what you are doing - legally anyway. I just would like to raise the issue again of whether you should do it? You can do what you like in terms of repeating others designs, but should you? I think we would all benefit as a community if this was considered more often.

I don't actually have any issue with anyone at the moment. I have also never told anyone to not make knitting needle jewellery. In the past I have had some issues regarding passing off - when it is implied that I was the creator - legally you can fight this. Or over the mixed messages from well established craft sites/galleries - both supporting and then undermining craft, with the attitude that everyone can make it and that you have no right to protect your original designs. Also the whole 'I never saw your designs', 'it is my idea', has at time rung untrue to me.

I also agree that it is unwise to rest on 'one good idea'. If you would like to have longevity in this business you need to be creating new designs/processes regularly. Although this should be no excuse for others to steal 'old designs'.

Kellie Christie said...

I completely agree with all comments. It just isn't creative if you are making a copy of another persons work. Plus the people who do this should feel guilty because they are trying to take the credit for something that they really had no hand in at all. A find that the majority of crafting peps are so supportive and encouraging and it is really disappointing that a select few can ruin it for all of us. I say if you can't come up with an original thought then just make it for yourself and don't try and sell it.

Liana said...

That's right it is the selling bit that is a problem because that has an impact on someone else's hard work. Your work can easily get confused with a less well made version for example.

Yes there really is a great community out there that I have more times than not felt incredibly supported by. Yourself included Kellie.