Wednesday, June 11, 2008

on inspiration


Lately I have been feeling melancholy and it feels like perhaps maybe a part of my life is ending. It feels that my work and my style - a big part of my heart and soul - is about to become really really played out. Perhaps it already has. This is hurting my heart and making me feel a bit parinoid, as it seems as though I can't even go on the internet without seeing yet another person inspired by my work (i.e. ripping me off)

I'm not totally naive. I mean, I am sure when you see someone who is obviously copying your work for their own profit it feels crap to you too. I am sure it happens to everybody with talent. And really, if you put things out there what do you expect? I have never contacted anyone and accused them of stealing, or asked them to stop, or anything like that. I think that, even in the most blatant cases, I would only end up looking bitchy...

I realise that the only solution to copycats is to keep on doing new work, to keep on making things, to keep on being inspired, and to keep on creating simply for the love of creating. To me, the act of creating must come from a pure place. I have to always try and forget about those things, and keep on doing what I have always done. Keep on making things because that is just who I am.

However, I can't really dedicate too much time these days to my work - as being a new mama doesn't really allow completely for this. Often I get so inspired to do new things, but then I begin to start out and I soon I realise that doing my work to the level that I want to takes so much time and love from me, that it is not at all fair to my new little daughter at all.

There are so many things that I want to to do, but I find myself spreading myself too thin. Being a mom is really important to me, and even more important than doing my work. I went into this with my eyes wide open, knowing in my heart and mind what I wanted. In the overall scheme of things, what's a few years away so I can be the mama that I really want to be? I guess. I wish... that i wasn't being overwhelmed with copy-cats in the meantime. Maybe people think that I've just gone away and so my work is fair game. Maybe they're just so excited to be making that they don't realise that they are stealing and hurting someone else. Will I ever really know?

And all the while pondering these things I also think "oh, get over yourself!!!" These days have been the happiest of my entire life so what do I even have to complain about... Boohoo!

17 comments:

Megan said...

I can completely understand where you are coming from. I'm a firm believer that you must always follow your gut and only do things that make you happy and bring you bliss. Life is too short to be spending time on anything that gives you that uncomfortable knot in your stomach. I turned down a big freelance offer today...something that I would have killed for a few years ago. And now I've gone and said no...but I feel proud knowing that it was something that would have lead me in a direction I didn't want to go in and I was strong enough to say "no." I keep asking, "Am I crazy!?" But I know that, no, I'm not crazy. I'm making choices for my own life and career. I only have to prove things to myself. Keep your chin up and keep following what you love. Everything will always fall into place that way. Hugs to you!

Ingrid said...

I've been reading your blog off an on and have been touched by love you have for your daughter. I feel the same about my kids. I have been reading "the Boss of You." It asks what you goals are. To some it's having a super big business to others it's to be able to do what you love but enjoy your life in the interim. I'm sorry people have been copying your work. Trust what your gut tell you. I think you have plenty of new inspiration in you that you're daughter is giving you every day. I love your work and I really hope it brings you happiness and not this feeling in your stomach. It's a big decision. I hope you find your answer.

Jenn said...

Oh, I do understand how you feel....
I was pursuing licensing my work for awhile, thinking it would be a way to make decent money, while only designing a couple of times a year, hence giving me time to be with my daughter. But I felt so heartsick about the whole thing. It just wasn't what I really wanted. It does feel like selling out, or somehow it seems like it is taking the value out of your work. I guess as an artist, you always have to decide what is most important. Sometimes making it big and raking in the money seems like the ultimate goal, but that does seem to change once you have a family.
Right now I feel like Clara is the most important thing in my world, and like you said, when you have to devote so much of your time to your work, it seems unfair to your little one. On days when I decide not to do anything work related, we have such a lovely time, and I think Clara can feel the good, peaceful energy and is much happier. Those quiet moments and snuggles end up being all that matters anymore. I am rambling, but not really getting to the point. I am thinking of you and hoping you do what feels right in your heart!

Julie said...

I don't think your work can ever be played out since you do put your everything into each piece.

Once in a while I come across someone who has been either inspired or "inspired" by your work and I'd think, I wonder if she's seen this. I wonder how she feels about it. But they're always missing that thing. That little lovelydesign something, and then I move along. I don't think you ever have to worry much about this if you are worrying. We all love your products because we know what love you put into them. And I think people will happily wait until you can give it your all again without compromising your time with your daughter.

rachel d said...

follow your heart.
do what you love.
and make everything lovely.

don't worry about the copy cats... art that is pure and real always feels that way. It will always protect you.

cutxpaste said...

hi sharilyn
i admire you for talking and thinking about all this and the personal implications it has on you and your priorities. i see so many designers and crafts people "selling out" and it always make me a little sad. it's always refreshing to see someone who recognizes the value in their work (as both an artist and mother!). xoxo.

quaint handmade said...

i've seen people who were "inspired" by your work, but it's just not the same. there's a term that collectors use called the "provenance", which relates to the history of the ownership of a piece and the value that it represents. i think this term can apply to creative work, too. so, in your case, they may imitate you, but the provenance is not strong.

often, the "writing is on the wall" in situations - the truth. we just don't read it for some reason. i have no advice, but one look at your photos shows everyone where your heart is. the writing is on the wall.

i hope that makes sense, let me know if it doesn't.

Riverlark said...

Julie has said it so well, but I want to add my support for you too. I found your site just when your beautiful daughter was born. I hope that someday you'll start working in your studio again, but looking at the pictures of your daughter tells me that I can just wait.
As for the licensee people...my gut tells me that it would be just too hard for you.
I know you'll do the right thing!

Anonymous said...

To be honest, my first reaction (as a past customer of yours) was "really, there are people doing what she does? I wonder if they are any good? And do they have anything in stock?!" Your success is based equally around your individual style and a need you've identified in the market.That is your success. Just keep doing what makes you happy! I know that is hard in this weather.

Lovely Paper said...

i thought i had written down a comment here yesterday, but i may have forgotten to push "publish your comment."

anywho, i think you should do what feels right on the inside, as everyone has said. you deserve to have everything you want without sacrificing your beliefs. it will probably take a little effort to get what you want, but the harder road always takes a bit more effort. in the end you'll probably find it to be worth it and you'll still have your pride too. i'm sure you already know all of this though. oh, and as people have always said to me, no one else can make their designs like yours. you have your own unique touch that will always be yours. for example, i have seen a few copycats that have attempted to steal your style, but everytime i see it i think to myself, "oh, that is totally lovely design." people just know who the real designer is...

Casey said...

i am so sorry! i can just feel your pain, and passion in this post. i think that if you are having doubts with these collaborations, that is a sign of your true feelings. you don't HAVE to do it.. and maybe down along the way, one collaboration will come by, and you will just know it is perfect for you, and you will be so glad you waited for the perfect time. good luck!! oh, and obviously, if people keep contacting you, even if you have been absent from new work, your design, and YOU are memorable, and so that should make you feel so good!

Joana said...

It's so clear from the outside. Keep on following your passions at your own rythm if you don't depend on it to survive. Your daughter will grow up and soon you will have more free time. Don't worry too much about copy cats. I don't believe that would be the real reason for a change. Good luck!

Clear Pink said...

Follow your heart, and do what you feel you need to do! The rest will follow.

Cicada Studio said...

I have two sons, a part time job and my art. I can understand your dilemma. I always feel off balance some how. My sons are going to remember a very busy mama! I still haven't figured it out. I may never.

As for selling out- perhaps there is a way to give them what they want without giving all of yourself and what you hold dearest. Be clear about it, too, so people don't assume this is your main vision: you for THEM as opposed to you for YOU. Maybe give it a new name- "X" by Lovely Design. If they want you or your look, you can control what they get from you- after all, it's YOU who's doing it and you have the credentials, not the copy cats. You have more power than you probably realize.

Good luck! I will keep checking in on your lovely blog, with your lovely daughter and your lovely design!

Molly said...

This has been such a sad theme on the blogs lately. :( I would be frustrated too... fortunately for me, I'm not as crafty as others, so I can look on and admire, but I know it must be so heart breaking to see something you work so hard on being taken away.

erinn said...

I marvel at the internet and the blog community and at how great it is, reaching so many people and giving so many artists exposure to a wider group of people. But I guess there is a flip side to that that more people have 'access' to your work and even subliminally start doing the same thing or something a bit to similar. I don't have the answer, but if your work comes from you heart like many others have said then you can own it and be fully proud of it within yourself. Some people might be able to make a buck or two by copying other people's work but in their hearts can they truly feel satisfied and can they sleep at night?

christina said...

oh sharilyn, i understand completely how you are feeling. reading your words made me feel ill as i can totally relate to what you are going through. i just found that i can't google myself or look at other craftspeople's work (who do similar work). i live in a bubble, but it keeps me calm. seeing my inspiration on other's work makes me feel both happy (that i can inspire) but also totally sick.
you aren't alone mama!
christina