Our Guest Artist today is Terri Simon aka Meterrilee on the forum.
Hello fellow fiber enthusiasts! I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan but moved to Oregon in 2014. I have been felting for about six years, both needle felting and vessels, but my real love is painting with felt and exploring different textures.
Marilyn and I both recently participated in an online class from Opulent Fibers — Kristy Kun’s Texture Techniques with Needled Wool. Marilyn asked me to show my work and I am happy to do this. In addition to telling you a bit about this class, which was excellent, I would like to generate a little discussion about inspiration and the artist equivalent of plagiarism. First the class…
Kristy’s class centered on three sample projects; each project building on the techniques learned in the prior project. The class fee included all materials for the class, instructions and videos demonstrating certain techniques. Kristy set up chatrooms that allowed students to ask questions, post pictures of progress, comment on each other’s creations and get expert guidance, suggestions and commentary from Kristy. You can check out the classes Kristy offers at her website, Opulent Fibers, here: http://www.opulentfibers.com
Here is a link to her newest class:
Kristy creates the most gorgeous 3D wall hangings (among other beautiful things) and I was so excited to learn how she fabricates them in this online class. To see some of Kristy’s work, look here (just wonderful!): http://www.kristykun.com/gallery/ Now you understand why I wanted to learn this technique!
Below are the three sample projects I created in this class. It’s a very interesting technique to attach pieces of heavy weight prefelt fabric to each other. There is a lot of labor involved to ensure everything is tightly attached and felted to a very hard finish. But well worth it! Our samples were a 12” square and each one took several hours to prepare before even before using water. Many students were active in posting pictures of their creations and providing encouragement and feedback to others. Overall, a very enjoyable and educational experience.
Project one: learning to attach the prefelt vertically to a square of prefelt. It’s a weird looking, but the purpose was to learn the technique. J
Project two: learning to attach prefelt vertically and to each other onto a square prefelt. This was definitely much trickier.
Project three: The flower. This was the reason I took the class! If you looked at Kristy’s gallery, you can see all the many possibilities for this technique.
Which leads me to the issue for which I hope to generate some discussion: artistic plagiarism.
I follow a few fiber artists’ blogs and have great admiration for many fiber artists; the moderators of this forum included. To mention a few others that I greatly admire: Moy Mackay, Nicola Brown, Kim Winters, Lyn and Annie at RosiePink, Fiona Duthie, Sara Renzulli, and Andrea Noesk-Porada. I love to look at the works by these artists and I’m so inspired by them. I want to make everything they make! There is a fine line here, however, and I’m mindful of trying not to cross it. When I make something that is very similar (with felt, it is never EXACTLY identical), I certainly would give credit to the original artist if I were to do anything with that piece.
I’ve never sold anything yet—I give nearly everything I make away. But, I hope to sell pieces soon. Anything I intend to sell is going to be, hopefully, solely my creation, (not ones I’ve attempted to copy to learn a technique or just because I loved the item and wanted to duplicate it).
How do you address this? I can needle felt a chipmunk or make a felt painting of a highland cow in the manner of Sara Renzulli and Moy Mackay, respectively. They aren’t going to be identical to something either one of these artists produced, but I was inspired by them in the creation of my item.
Now that I know how to make lovely 3D wall hangings, taught by Kristy Kun, I intend to make larger pieces; similar of course due to material and technique, but they won’t be identical to Kristy’s work. In fact, I will work hard to make sure they DON’T look like her work…but the idea was hers.
Do you mention the artist who inspired the work, when relevant, on items you sell? Do you feel that since no piece is identical in size, shape, color, and texture, that items you sell are your creation and there is no need for mentioning the artist who inspired you? This is a really important issue for me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Thank you Terri for sharing your class work and invoking this discussion.