Before I start upon my rather lofty title, I wanted to mention that a sweet new follower of mine blogged about one of my quilts as inspiration. Thanks, Pinky! You can find her blog post here:
So I’ve been thinking lately about the idea of intellectual property. What does that mean? Well, I guess I wonder at what point a design or design process becomes truly your own. When do you no longer need to attribute your inspiration to others as you’ve begun to incorporate techniques into your quilting skills? I err on the side of attributing my ideas to others, certainly as I should if I am straight copying a design. But I find it trickier when I veer from someone’s design and change it significantly enough to call it my own. But that is a grey line that is hard to see sometimes.
A lot of people say that there are no new ideas in quilting. Everything has already been done and therefore a lot of designs are common property. The log cabin block for instance is not known for being invented by one particular person. A wonky log cabin block however might well be attributed to a number of people: Gee Bends, Denyse Schmidt, Gwen Marston, etc. But at what point do you need to stop giving credit to people for introducing you to a concept and start just creating your own work?
I personally believe that there are new ideas in quilting and certainly always new fabrics to be combined in fresh ways. And I believe that technology gives us more ways to be creative than ever before. So when is a design truly your own?
I know that I have designed something in my head without the influence of others and then gone on to find that someone else has already designed that or simultaneously designed it. Is it still my design? It’s sort of a matter of who publishes or shows it first.
This brings me to another question…(I’m full of them today!). Do you have to have a design published in order for it to be “officially” your own? What is considered published? Is blogging about a technique the same as having it in a magazine or a book? I’m a little freer with blogging because I think people have different followers and can blog about the techniques that they use…however if they are copying someone exactly they really should just refer people to that person’s tutorial.
I use techniques that I have gathered from here and there, but I’m unsure (especially in the blogging world) if someone has actually invented that technique or if they are simply sharing a cool thing that they know how to do. If I use that technique myself, after telling the original inspiration, must I continue to do so with each following project that uses that same technique?
Before I ramble on for too long, I leave this topic to you all. Please discuss. I am sincerely interested in what you all think about this. Hopefully, I was clear enough to get my thoughts across!