A few days ago, one buyer asks me whether I am bothered by another lampworker who has made a bead with a butterfly motif and, whether I think about copyright issues. Well, you know, this is an ongoing issue not just with lampworking but in all sectors of business. We complain constantly about how the Mainland Chinese copies the branded goods including automobiles; well...hello, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Look around in our little world of lampworking, making similar designs (please note, I do not use the 'c' word and I wish to clearly point out that I'll give benefit of doubt as to whether this particular lampworker's actions and intentions are deliberate or not) is always an ongoing sore point. So, before we point our fingers at others and criticize, let us look at ourselves first. Oh, by the way, the butterfly bead is nothing; I know of another lampworker who not just has similar designs but even uses the same exact name for the bead series as my 'Taj' series from last year - now, that is really hitting hard below the belt. That is one main reason why I stop making my 'Taj' beads.
Back to the subject, am I bothered by the similarities in the beads? Yes, sure I am - but the only way I can avoid this from happening would be never to show or sell my beads. Once your work is publicized, there will be people who become tickled by it and chances are, one or the other is tempted to 'give it a shot'. Sometimes I prefer to think that it is not the motif they are after, it is 'cracking that technique' that is intriguing. I make beads ('Magnolia' beads) which entail a certain technique; the beads will not be what they are if that technique is not used and does that mean I am copying? Sensitive issue, isn't it? Hey, we live in a democratic society and each of us is entitled to do as she/he pleases. If someone does not feel that she/he is infringing on others' rights by making something similar (be it a bead or otherwise), then so be it.
As for copyrights? Well, I can't afford paying copyright fees. Sure it crosses my mind now and then, but you know what? There is nothing really new in the world, we are constantly recycling designs; give it a tweak and there, you have a 'new' design. Besides, I do not wish to stay with one style or technique eternally, I like to move on. Moving on means I am advancing myself. I admit, I do not google about my lampworking colleagues' work. Why? Well, I feel less anxious and do not face any stress this way. Yes, you may wish to label me ignorant by not keeping up with what's out in the lampworking sector. I prefer to source for my inspirations elsewhere, e.g. textile industry, master paintings, the nature around us, the marine world...I can go on and on, but I think you get my drift.
Let me share with you some new beads I have -
set of round beads
BLACK-AND-WHITE SET, Custom-order
I do not usually take custom-orders anymore. This is a 'special' request which I obviously bent my own rules - these beads are specially made after a rendering - the beads and the drawing will be exhibited together. I am not sure how much I am allowed to reveal at this stage, so I am not saying anymore.
lentil-shaped focal made with purple enamels