Monday, April 9, 2012

Trying to stay ahead of the Curve

Has this ever happened to you.  Last Summer, I put together a couple of tutorials for inspired ideas and one of them included this scrappy flower covered lantern.  I quickly threw it together to make a tight timeline and I was really happy with the results.  

Fast forward a few weeks later and, while the girls and I were getting some camp shopping done at the mall, we passed a pottery barn kids and I stopped in my tracks.  There they were.  Paper lanterns covered in fabric flowers.  Very similar to my project and I said to the girls - everyone is going to think that I did a how-to version of those lanterns - yet I had never seen them before (or ... at least I didn't think that I had)

This spring I did a how-to stamped beach bag for the blog.  I was inspired by a fabric that I had come across from spoonflower.

Fast forward last week when I took the time to look at a PBTeen email that I had received about summer accessories.  Look what I found.  Wow - kind of similar huh?  

I have a friend that works on television and magazine projects and she told me she has to actually remove herself from the blogosphere and pinterest pages from time to time, in order to ensure she doesn't accidentally hijack an existing project.

I can say with complete honesty that I did not see these products when I worked on those projects.

It does make me think that sometimes we can be so influenced by trends or ideas without ever realizing it.  Have you ever thought of a color combination and then seen it in a magazine and thought to yourself, hey I thought of that first?  Chances are we didn't realize that we have been subtly influenced by that color in all the images we see in catalogues, magazines and pinterest.

I'm curious.  Am I the only one that has felt like this?  Do you ever think you have an original idea only to see it somewhere else.  How do you overcome the risk of an unintentional "copycat"?


  1. yep this happens to me alot. I think alot of the colors I'm attracted to are the "in" colors of the season and often times they are put together in similar ways or similar patterns. And then with desserts, well I feel the same way. Sometime I think I do an original shoot and then I see other photos on other popular blogs that are almost exactly the same... :(

  2. You weren't a copy cat! Great minds think alike! How could you have copied? You posted yours first :)

  3. Don't worry! I think we get too information via internet and sometimes we keep information in our brain unconsciously. Anyway I love all you make, and I'm sure you are a creative and fantastic crafter, with a lot of original and wonderful ideas.

  4. I find this very very interesting for two reasons. 1: about 10 years ago I read a story in a business magazine about how many stores- and Pottery Barn kids in particular- but steal ideas from small indepent artists. That was before social networking so they didn't steal them from blogs, FB or PInterest but actually contacted the artists, drew up contracts and working relationships and then canceled the orders after the artists had paid out a lot of money to produce prototypes and hire staff to help meet the orders. Soon after the product would show up in PB Kids as designed by PB team but exact copies of the artists work. 2: this has happened to me my entire adult life so I understand how you feel. I usually want to find something-a fabric, a paper, a ribbon that is imperative to my design and I search and search for it. About a year later it is all the rage and available everywhere. I so understand where you are coming from. YOur designs are beautiful and frankly I think your flower lantern are prettier.

    Hold on to your creative genius because you are just ahead of your time.

  5. Thanks for your thoughts and insight, ladies. It seems that all of us are aware and/or experienced this struggle between inspiration and comparison - and it's good to know I am not alone.

  6. I'm with these other ladies. I think you were there first. I think there's a nefarious version to this and a full-creative spirit version to this. My husband is a scientist and he talks all the time about how ideas can be generated simultaneously...or how you can have a completely independent idea (a brilliant one at that!) only to discover that someone else has had it before. We're trying to teach our son that every though that is similar isn't plagiarized, you know?

    So while I can ascribe harmful intent to some folks (and will happily do so to big organizations!), I also think that sometimes that's just how creativity works, in unknowing tandem. Your work is beautiful. Keep on keeping on!


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