Copying Techniques

When I was trying to get a textile book together, I spent a lot of time folding pieces of paper and stitching them together etc to work out how I can get the effect I want for the finished article. I was trying to work out how to put it together in a unique way, ……….. or so it would appear because I can’t find any reference or illustrations anywhere of what I want to do.

While I have been thinking about this I have had a related thought ……..

Why is there such a big difference between copying a piece of art or invention etc, and copying someone’s technique for making the art or invention.

Copying a piece of art is frowned upon, and rightly so, but it is generally accepted that copying a technique is fine.

Sometimes working out how to do a particular step is the key to a successful project, and takes as much or more time than actually making the project. It seems rather unfair that we can draw a picture or write a book, no matter how good or bad they are, and instantly own the copyright, but if we work out a new technique there is no way of protecting apart from spending many thousands of dollars to take out a patent if we design a new tool, but otherwise it will cost way more than we could expect to get back.

Once I work it out how to do something in a new way and have shown just one other person how to do it, the technique will be out there and the technique won’t be unique anymore. If I write the instructions they are covered by copyright, but anyone can write their own version of the instructions without ever acknowledging where the initial technique came from.

I might add that if and when I get this book together looking the way I want it to I will write a tutorial so I can share the technique, and maybe one day publish a pattern for a whole book including the tutorial for the cover.

I use lots of techniques which somebody probably spent years perfecting, but in many cases I don’t have any idea who worked out my favourite techniques. If I do know and I include that method in a class I pass on the name of the person who invented the technique, but feel a bit sad that most of the time I don’t know who to give credit to.

The effect I want with the fabric book is still some time off.  Three books have been put together, and though I quite like what they look like, it’s not exactly what I had in mind, and I have given others a bit of help in doing similar books by blogging about them ………….. so already what I have worked out is possibly being tried around the world, and it is only a matter of time until someone does a tutorial about it and possibly claims it as their own. (The words and pictures might be, but the method is mine.)

No wonder industry spends a large amount of money to hide and protect their methods, chefs have their own secret ingredients in recipes, and plans are jealously guarded. Perhaps it is time for the world to show some respect for the techniques used to put things together, and the people who spend time fiddling with bits of paper, staples, sticky tape and glue to create easier ways of doing things.

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About Virtual Quilter

I am a quilter who designs many more quilts than I will ever make, and I am sharing one quilt design every day in Virtual Quilter. I also share my completed projects in Stuff-Ups, and Christmas decorations in Christmas Everyday of the Year.
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