I know. Sometimes, as creative individuals, we can't help ourselves. We see something beautiful and our fingers start to itch and we spend $168 at the craft store for supplies to fumble our way through what we perceive to be the process and end up with a hot mess or, if we are really lucky, something that wont some day be a Pinterest fail.
I'm looking at you... all my clay supplies. Sigh.
Now, while I commend the desire to expand a skill set, usually the motivation is simply saying "I made that!", patting ourselves on the back and, for the savvy business owner, praying we save a few dollars in the meantime, wracking in the profits on the craft show circuit. And that's FINE, of course! But it's important to support those who have inspired us to try, instead of bypassing their work to further our own, cheating the artists whose idea just motivated you to create, and hurting the creative market and indie business, as a whole.
What usually happens (unfortunately) is we forget the years of practice, failures, successes we can't repeat, the hundreds or thousands of dollars in tools and supplies and mistakes, the countless hours of videos, tutorials or guesstimations, all of which helps build a single, solitary design, idea or creative triumph.
Look at the lampwork artists, the clay artists, the painted eyes and beautiful cabochons from local mines, by local lapidary masters. Can you make these things yourselves? Sure. You can learn. But it makes you no less an artist to say "I made this piece using a bead by...." than if you'd made the bead yourself, and you've supported the work of another artist in the meantime. The market expands, businesses evolve and more sellers, artists and customers are introduced to work they'd never see otherwise.
What about finished work? I see this all the time: "I already make my own jewelry, why would I buy someone elses?" Why? Because unless jewelry is a mass-produced, monotonous, voiceless entity, each artist has a vision and this vision is reproduced in every piece they make, and each is unique and each deserves recognition. Be proud of your own work, yes, but don't ignore the work of others. You could be blinding yourself to beauty which could feed your own creative soul for a lifetime. If the work of others inspires you, support them, so the inspiration can continue to flow. Your own work will improve as a result and the community, as a whole, prospers.
Even as a hobbyist, who crafts for the love of it, who doesn't worry about the cost of tools, the number of hours invested.... you are cheating those artists as well. Yes. I said it. So, before you visit your next craft market, see something you love and challenge yourself to make it, perhaps you should ask yourself if you shouldn't at least buy the piece that inspired you first, as a courtesy and a thanks, to support the artistic community so there will be more things to inspire you in the future.
That's my soapbox for the day, folks! And obviously this doesn't apply to every situation, each person, all of the time. It's food for thought, and nothing more. And, sometimes, I just like the sound of my own voice. Ha!
So have fun and happy creating!
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