There is a distinct difference between technique or style (not protected by copyright) and design (protected by copyright). Ideally, artists are best complimented when our process is supported through the purchase of our work, or our work is appreciated and shared so that others who are able may purchase it. There's this perpetuating idea that art and profit are mutually exclusive, but I think it's a beautiful thing when artists can support their families doing what they love... which becomes exponentially more difficult when work is copied without permission.
While techniques have been used and shared by hundreds and thousands of artists over the years, "there's nothing new under the sun" seems to imply that design is dead, which is an insult to the creative process. New techniques might be far and few between, but new designs are absolutely endless, because the artist's stories are each unique. Taking techniques and weaving them into our own personal stories creates a page in the book of our life. While I love writing tutorials and sharing designs, there are some original works that are very personal to me, that I hold sacred, that have allowed me to explore and express a spiritual journey, even, and the floor falls from beneath my feet when that work is copied without permission. The years I've spent wrapping, beading, drawing, writing poetry, photographing my cats, my sadness and happiness and successes and failures, all of those things come together to complete a creative whole, no matter the medium each project utilizes. So, there's definitely some "preciousness" that we each hold as artists and designers that can sometimes cloud our understanding of the use of technique vs design.
If a design is copied, noticeably, recognizably copied... it's not "inspired by". But this is a world of Pinterest, I know. Where everything goes on a DIY board and the internet seems to give everyone carte blanche ownership of every story.... the it's-online-therefore-it's-free mentality. This is when we each have to be accountable for ourselves, protect our own stories as much as we're able, evaluate how we define that "preciousness" we each hold about our art, and give of ourselves and our stories when we can, holding close to what we cannot give, so there's a beautiful circling relationship between artists that protects our individual stories while allowing the collective story to grow. But we also have to be accountable for how we utilize the techniques of others in our own work, how we allow design to influence or inspire us and move us forward creatively, so we aren't tarnishing or muddying our own story when we create.
This is just a bloated letter to say that I understand the hurt. I think we've all, at some point, held our work so precious to ourselves that we feel immobilized by the hurt of it being copied by others. And we each have to define for ourselves when and how we'll fight to protect our stories, or where our energy might be better suited. It's a difficult journey for anyone in a creative industry. And while I will never suggest we should enable the behaviors that hurt us, we do have to pick our battles, not just according to law, but also according to our own moral code and the preciousness by which we value our art.
So I understand. I get it. I'm with you. I believe in your rights. I understand the preciousness of your art. I strive to support it.... to support you.... to allow you the opportunity to continue to explore your story and express that journey through art. I'm looking forward to your next beautiful chapter. And perhaps some day, I hope, I'll purchase from you a little piece of your story to help move your book along.