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  #1  
Old 2012-11-10, 12:01pm
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Default Some questions about tutorials

So, here are a few things that have crossed my mind over the years, and I am wondering what everyone's thoughts on them are... especially people who sell tutorials.

In general, it is considered poor form to reveal or teach a technique sold in a tutorial. However, there have been a number of situations in which I have had the following questions:

What if you have been practicing a technique which creates the same effect for many years? Once a tutorial on it comes out, I have often felt as if I should refrain from sharing my method on the forums, because I don't want to step on any toes or for people to think poorly of me as "that jerk who undermined so-and-so's tutorial sales".

What do you do when a tutorial comes out that teaches a technique you know someone else has been practicing for a long time, and has previously published their method elsewhere? Is it poor form to mention it?

What if you come up with a technique that creates the same effect as one sold in a tutorial through your own independent experimentation, without trying to copy? Is it fair game, or do you refrain from posting pics or explaining how you did it, out of respect for the artist who published the tut?

What if you showed someone one of your techniques, and they later (having forgotten where they learned it) incorporate it into a tut? Do you refrain from mentioning it or explaining how it's done, so as to avoid embarrassing them or harming your relationship?

What if you have an especially effective way of doing something, and although it isn't necessarily unique, you believe that you can create a particularly effective tutorial to help walk people through the process step-by-step? If you find this category of tutorial legitimate and beneficial, does that affect how you view any of the previous dilemmas?
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  #2  
Old 2012-11-10, 3:30pm
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Give credit where credit is due.

If you use someones technique in a class you are conducting (paper you are writting) then tell the class it is "their" work and you feel it is worth sharring. This is the comon way to protect yourself from plagerizm.

From a true legal standpoint in publishing something for profit, there are the copywrite and patent laws too take into account.
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Old 2012-11-10, 3:33pm
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  #4  
Old 2012-11-10, 5:29pm
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Give credit where credit is due.

If you use someones technique in a class you are conducting (paper you are writting) then tell the class it is "their" work and you feel it is worth sharring. This is the comon way to protect yourself from plagerizm.

From a true legal standpoint in publishing something for profit, there are the copywrite and patent laws too take into account.
This doesn't really address any of the questions I asked, but thank you for responding.
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Old 2012-11-10, 5:43pm
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Originally Posted by Kalera View Post
So, here are a few things that have crossed my mind over the years, and I am wondering what everyone's thoughts on them are... especially people who sell tutorials.

In general, it is considered poor form to reveal or teach a technique sold in a tutorial. However, there have been a number of situations in which I have had the following questions:

What if you have been practicing a technique which creates the same effect for many years? Once a tutorial on it comes out, I have often felt as if I should refrain from sharing my method on the forums, because I don't want to step on any toes or for people to think poorly of me as "that jerk who undermined so-and-so's tutorial sales".
I think this is going to come up more and more. I have seen (but not bought) so many tutorials on techniques I wouldn't in any way consider proprietary. Things that many people have been doing already, the information already out there. Quite possibly the tutorialists come up with this on their own and truly think they 'own' that technique. I just don't think that's true for all of them. And as far as sharing what you know, not having read a tutorial on it first? Why not if you want to? Are you going to go through every tutorial available everywhere in toe-stepping avoidance for something you've been doing for years anyway? I think not.

What do you do when a tutorial comes out that teaches a technique you know someone else has been practicing for a long time, and has previously published their method elsewhere? Is it poor form to mention it?
Hmmm. That can bite and I know that from personal experience. It seems to be poor form for the person who taught/published the technique to mention it but not for someone else to do so.

What if you come up with a technique that creates the same effect as one sold in a tutorial through your own independent experimentation, without trying to copy? Is it fair game, or do you refrain from posting pics or explaining how you did it, out of respect for the artist who published the tut?
Without having seen the tutorial or the beads from the tutorial, I'd say it's absolutely OK. There are times we (beadmakers in general) have this weird serendipitous/mind meld thing. Even before paid tutorials were all the rage we'd see people from all over come up with almost identical beads. Tell me you haven't seen 2 or even 3 tutorials on the same thing.

What if you showed someone one of your techniques, and they later (having forgotten where they learned it) incorporate it into a tut? Do you refrain from mentioning it or explaining how it's done, so as to avoid embarrassing them or harming your relationship?
Probably not, no. Since you have shown one person, I personally wouldn't hesitate to show others.

What if you have an especially effective way of doing something, and although it isn't necessarily unique, you believe that you can create a particularly effective tutorial to help walk people through the process step-by-step? If you find this category of tutorial legitimate and beneficial, does that affect how you view any of the previous dilemmas?
No, not at all. Like i said before, even if there is a tutorial on the subject already, it wasn't done by YOU. If one knows that the information didn't come from elsewhere but through years of doing then why not? It's the ones that *I need to censor myself here*
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  #6  
Old 2012-11-10, 5:57pm
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My opinion is from a purchaser's view. Just because you publish a form or design does not mean you developed it first, just that you were the first maybe to put it in print on how it's done or your technique. I love it when everyone shares their own knowledge to help others improve their art of lampwork.
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Old 2012-11-10, 5:59pm
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses, Rebecca and KFraley51! I have seen all of the issues I mentioned come up, and after the first few crazy controversial threads, I have mostly tried to avoid the great tutorial debates.

One of the things that brings me pleasure in my glass work is showing or telling people how I achieve an effect... and there have definitely been times when I've backed off from doing that because I know it's in someone else's tutorial. I have been involved in debates about whether it was appropriate for another person to profit from techniques pioneered by someone else, and I feel like my perspective has probably changed some from those says, even though I still think that willful design ripoffs are a shame.

I've been noticing that the tutorial market seems to be shifting and perhaps softening a little; moving away from a strict proprietary ethic and toward the sense that what people are buying is the instruction, not the technique. I think I approve of this direction.
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Old 2012-11-10, 6:22pm
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Originally Posted by Kalera View Post

I've been noticing that the tutorial market seems to be shifting and perhaps softening a little; moving away from a strict proprietary ethic and toward the sense that what people are buying is the instruction, not the technique. I think I approve of this direction.
I agree with this.
I am willing to pay for an author's ability to get the info thru my thick skull but it's not worth my money to buy a tut if I can't reuse the information on my own beads to sell.
I don't think that an author should recycle old information but I can't imagine all the work that would go into looking thru the scads of tuts out there to make sure they aren't plagiarizing.
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Old 2012-11-10, 8:47pm
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Kalera, good questions, mostly equally mysterious to me. One thing though, is that I'm taken aback when people publish tutorials with a proprietary air, as though they are selling you a secret, when anyone who reads widely, or has been making beads a long time, sees no great mystery. Hence, Rebecca said it best:

What do you do when a tutorial comes out that teaches a technique you know someone else has been practicing for a long time, and has previously published their method elsewhere? Is it poor form to mention it?
Hmmm. That can bite and I know that from personal experience. It seems to be poor form for the person who taught/published the technique to mention it but not for someone else to do so.

On at least three occasions I have seen tutorials for sale that "reveal" things I have written about in books or magazines. I don't feel like something I "owned" was stolen, but rather like there is more than one way to skin a cat, there are a lot of recipes out there for meatloaf, that doesn't mean one cook book stole from another. BUT I resent the misrepresentation by the author of a tute that I think hoodwinks the buyer. If you knew the meatloaf recipe was in many sources, you might shop a little harder! So I guess it's a mixture of over selling by the author claiming the proprietary right of ownership in the idea, and buyer beware!

Whew, sorry to be long winded. I too like the trend toward technique instruction. Jeri
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Old 2012-11-10, 9:01pm
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I'm glad you raised these questions.

There are many wonderful tutorials teaching techniques and I appreciate these and that the bead maker is willing to share the technique. I also find that these people give credit where it is due to past teachers.

However, I have become more and more disturbed by people recycling information about "techniques" into "new" tutorials. I have never said a word about this for fear of offending. I'm also amazed at tutorials being sold for beads using "techniques" that anyone interested in glass could work out for themselves and when they are often selling a bead design not a technique.

It seems to me that no-one wants to think and discover for themselves anymore or buy books that have been around for ages and already contain most of the information that is being reworked in some of these tutorials. Much of it can also be gleaned free from Wet Canvas and LE.
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  #11  
Old 2012-11-11, 7:23pm
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Kalera, Thank-you for bringing this up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalera View Post
So, here are a few things that have crossed my mind over the years, and I am wondering what everyone's thoughts on them are... especially people who sell tutorials.

In general, it is considered poor form to reveal or teach a technique sold in a tutorial. However, there have been a number of situations in which I have had the following questions:

What if you have been practicing a technique which creates the same effect for many years? Once a tutorial on it comes out, I have often felt as if I should refrain from sharing my method on the forums, because I don't want to step on any toes or for people to think poorly of me as "that jerk who undermined so-and-so's tutorial sales".

Someone will always find fault no matter what the action or circumstances. If the question asking about a technique is coming up because of the tutorial release then it would seem like bad form to spill the beans in a public forum at that time. Having said that, I can think of several exceptions, but guarenteed, 100% of people would not agree.

What do you do when a tutorial comes out that teaches a technique you know someone else has been practicing for a long time, and has previously published their method elsewhere? Is it poor form to mention it?

It might be poor form, esp in the same thread announcing the tutorial for sale. On the other hand, if the author was claiming it was proprietary or they were the first one to do something, then I would "out them". Again, not everyone would agree with such action.

What if you come up with a technique that creates the same effect as one sold in a tutorial through your own independent experimentation, without trying to copy? Is it fair game, or do you refrain from posting pics or explaining how you did it, out of respect for the artist who published the tut?

Independant experimentation before the tutorial came out or afterward?If you clearly did beads with a certain technique before a tutorial came out then you are certainly within your rights to tell/show your method accomplishing your beads. But just because you have a right to do something, doesn't mean no one will be pissed off.

What if you showed someone one of your techniques, and they later (having forgotten where they learned it) incorporate it into a tut? Do you refrain from mentioning it or explaining how it's done, so as to avoid embarrassing them or harming your relationship?

Of course this is up to the individual. If it were done, it would probably best be done in private.

What if you have an especially effective way of doing something, and although it isn't necessarily unique, you believe that you can create a particularly effective tutorial to help walk people through the process step-by-step? If you find this category of tutorial legitimate and beneficial, does that affect how you view any of the previous dilemmas?
Just as their are many books on any given subject, there can be many tutorials. People may be willing to pay for your version. Based on my response above, clearly I wouldn't take kindly to the author pretending the techniques were unique to them if they weren't.

These questions make me think we need a source of independant reviews for tutorials, especially since they are not returnable. There often more than one tutorial on a given subject, how do I choose which one to buy? Or should I buy both? Does the tutorial go beyond information freely available elsewhere? (Even if a one or two page tutorial was in a book or magazine, I might want to buy the 30 page tutorial from the author.) What is the quality of the photographs and descriptions? ( I might want to buy a hardcopy book more for the photographs of an artist's work rather than for tutorial value.)

So when is your tutorial going to be available? And what is the subject?

Darrell
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  #12  
Old 2012-11-11, 8:34pm
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Thanks for all the thoughtful responses! I'm enjoying all of your perspectives on what can be a touchy subject.

Darrell, I occasionally post free tutorials, and I have a couple in mind that I'd like to do when/if I have time.
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Old 2012-11-11, 9:21pm
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Darrell, I think an independant review is a great idea. I was thinking about this earlier today, but I think it would have to be informative but not biased...you know, like movie critics. Sometimes when I want to buy a tut, there is not enough information in the description to make me decide if it's right for me. There are times when I buy one just to learn one specific technique..I may not want to learn how to make the beads in the tut, just how they achieved a certain technique.
And thank you Kalera for sharing all your knowledge.
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Old 2012-11-11, 9:29pm
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I like the idea of an independent review... I rarely buy tutorials, but I would love it if there was something like Amazon reviews where people could just talk about their overall impressions, strengths/weaknesses of the tut, etc.

Unfortunately, I think the lampworking world might be too small for that not to create hurt feelings, and I am very leery of anonymous reviews.
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Old 2012-11-11, 10:51pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalera View Post
So, here are a few things that have crossed my mind over the years, and I am wondering what everyone's thoughts on them are... especially people who sell tutorials.

In general, it is considered poor form to reveal or teach a technique sold in a tutorial. However, there have been a number of situations in which I have had the following questions:

What if you have been practicing a technique which creates the same effect for many years? Once a tutorial on it comes out, I have often felt as if I should refrain from sharing my method on the forums, because I don't want to step on any toes or for people to think poorly of me as "that jerk who undermined so-and-so's tutorial sales".
I think we lost a lot of free exchange of information and techniques and "how to" once paid tutorials became the norm. I'm not trying begrudge anyone's ability to make a living when I say that, but shortly after the tutorial market "exploded" for want of a better word, if someone in the Tips and Techniques sections asked how to do something, and someone had a tutorial, then they were directed to the newly released tutorial rather than someone explaining the basic steps.

I bought a number of "how to" books when I first started, and of course they dramatically shortened alot of my learning curve in a number of areas. However I did note, when the information was in a printed version only people didn't have such an issue with reading, and then sharing the how to for a technique - after all - didn't we buy the book to learn?.

Suddenly information was "proprietory", and .some (reasonably) straight forward techniques suddenly felt liked they were “owned” by the tutorial author. I already knew how to do it, and now I can't share it?
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Old 2012-11-11, 10:56pm
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What if you showed someone one of your techniques, and they later (having forgotten where they learned it) incorporate it into a tut? Do you refrain from mentioning it or explaining how it's done, so as to avoid embarrassing them or harming your relationship?
We're all a product of our experiences. At some point it has to be ok to use the information you've learnt and extend it further.

The question I would have is: - are they selling the technique or the bead pattern?
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Old 2012-11-11, 11:09pm
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Quote:
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What if you come up with a technique that creates the same effect as one sold in a tutorial through your own independent experimentation, without trying to copy? Is it fair game, or do you refrain from posting pics or explaining how you did it, out of respect for the artist who published the tut?
I think this one again comes down to - did you buy the tutorial to learn the technique, or for the pattern?

There have been at least a couple of times where I have bought tutorials which have I realised afterwards that I was already aware of the technique. However it wouldn't have occurred to me to use the specific technique in the manner used by the tutorial writer to create the bead design.
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Old 2012-11-11, 11:17pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalera View Post
What if you have an especially effective way of doing something, and although it isn't necessarily unique, you believe that you can create a particularly effective tutorial to help walk people through the process step-by-step? If you find this category of tutorial legitimate and beneficial, does that affect how you view any of the previous dilemmas?
Absolutely go for it. Everyone is at different levels of ability. Some people have just come into the craft, others have been at it for years.

Some of the bead artists aren't necessarily doing something highly original (a subjective term if there ever was one), but they do it exceedingly well. They're still skills people want to learn.

When I first started, I read widely both online and in lampworking books to understand enough about glass movement to make a round bead. You get different "aha" moments from different sources.
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Old 2012-11-12, 12:01am
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I think we lost a lot of free exchange of information and techniques and "how to" once paid tutorials became the norm. I'm not trying begrudge anyone's ability to make a living when I say that, but shortly after the tutorial market "exploded" for want of a better word, if someone in the Tips and Techniques sections asked how to do something, and someone had a tutorial, then they were directed to the newly released tutorial rather than someone explaining the basic steps.

I bought a number of "how to" books when I first started, and of course they dramatically shortened alot of my learning curve in a number of areas. However I did note, when the information was in a printed version only people didn't have such an issue with reading, and then sharing the how to for a technique - after all - didn't we buy the book to learn?.

Suddenly information was "proprietory", and .some (reasonably) straight forward techniques suddenly felt liked they were “owned” by the tutorial author. I already knew how to do it, and now I can't share it?
Your reply really speaks to me on a number of levels, not least of which is the issue of propriatorship. I might need to spend a couple more days thinking about this in order to even respond in a way that won't be too abrasive.
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Old 2012-11-12, 1:10am
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I'm not easily offended if you disagree with anything I say.
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Old 2012-11-12, 3:08am
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Your reply really speaks to me on a number of levels, not least of which is the issue of propriatorship. I might need to spend a couple more days thinking about this in order to even respond in a way that won't be too abrasive.
I'm not really talking about people wanting to be "spoon fed" here either - I realise that this ends up going down the route of "entitlement mentalities". On one level though I think we also lost a cross pollination of ideas or themes with the wholesale introduction of paid tutorials.

One the other side we've gained a whole lot of hugely valuable resources. We've had people self-publishing who may not otherwise have done so - and this has been seriously beneficial.

The best authors are those where what you learn during the course of the tutorial go far beyond than just creating a single "patterned" bead.
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Old 2012-11-12, 9:05am
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It is interesting to me how some people think nothing of writing a tutorial that has been done already that teaches the same bead designs, but names it something else. I have seen at least 3 tutorials on how to make the petal beads. I don't see the first person to publish their tutorial jumping up and saying "Hey I did this first". I appreciate artist sharing their tips and techniques and not always doing it for profit. Thanks Kalera for sharing.
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Old 2012-11-12, 10:06am
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I'm not easily offended if you disagree with anything I say.
Oh, no, I don't disagree with you at all! I'm just concerned that some of my opinions about "ownership" of techniques and information might rub other people the wrong way so I want to find the right way to express myself.
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Old 2012-11-12, 10:28am
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Kalera:

I can tell you've done considerable thinking about the "muddy" issues around tutorials. I've had these same thoughts. I would like to respond to your questions but I am also fearful of stepping on toes among the people who read and respond here on LE. I would certainly never chose to offend someone, but I am going to go ahead and take a risk and put my opinions about tutorials "out there."

Please keep in mind that I speak from the perspective of someone who is at an intermediate skill level. I've only been around lampworking about 4 years. That said, I have spent over 35 years (my entire career) as an educator. So, I'm sure that I am also influenced by that experience.

Here goes. (I'm going to try using some metaphors to describe how I think.)

I believe there is this LAMPWORK BANK that contains EVERYTHING the universe has to offer about glass. It has two kinds of currency: KNOWLEDGE (what is known about glass) and SKILLS (what can be demonstrated--the process/procedures). When an artist creates a certain style of bead (product), s/he uses a combination of what s/he KNOWS about design, what s/he KNOWS about the properties of glass, and what s/he can DO with materials, tools, or techniques.

IMHO, no person "owns" the knowledge and skills in the LAMPWORK BANK. Just like, no person "owns" the knowledge and skills in the WATERCOLOR PAINTING BANK. Some people DO however, have a gift for helping others learn by creating instructional materials--print tutorials and videos. These are the textbooks and visual learning tools of the lampworking world. Our teachers spend considerable time and effort putting together print/video tutorials that explain how a particular product (bead) can be reproduced. They are invaluable guides. They help us learn--and thus help us tap into the experience and expertise of others. The actual learning tools themselves (documents or digital recordings) are protected formally and informally by copyright law. Duplication without permission is not permitted.

It is reasonable to expect different artists to have common knowledge and levels of skill. There is bound to be duplication in design elements, there will be coincidence, and there will be similarities in product. Essentially, that means there is no product [glass bead, sculpture, marble, etc.] that can be considered proprietary.

As a group, I think the members of the lampworking community do a pretty darn good job of acknowledging each other's talents and contributions. Common courtesy and pure intent will go a long way in perpetuating this situation. I would have no problem saying, "This is one of the processes/techniques I first saw used by Jane Doe in her beads. I think it is particularly effective with high contrast colors, so here's how I adapted it into my design." If we can just be kind to each other and acknowledge what everyone has to offer, I think it will be of great benefit to the whole group.

My two cents worth.

Dix
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Old 2012-11-12, 10:39am
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Dix, I think that was very well put.
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Old 2012-11-12, 11:05am
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Very well said, Dix!
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Old 2012-11-12, 11:21am
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Over the years, I have seen (and participated in) a lot of hurt feelings over designs, styles, and techniques, and my perspective has changed quite a bit over time. In the past I would have been upset to see someone post a set of beads that were "my" design, but in many ways I feel that the lampwork bead world was smaller and less developed then... our library of techniques was relatively small, and there weren't so many artists, nor did we spring out of the gate with such a tremendous wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. The bar is a lot higher now, and there is a lot more support in place for us to reach it.

Now, lampwork is so much more sophisticated, and I'm not so sure about copying anymore. What are "my" designs? How would I know if someone was duplicating them? There are some areas in which copying is pretty cut and dried, like when a factory in Chiina reproduces a sad facsimile of someone else's beads and sells them for 50 cents. But there used to be huge, huge kerfluffles over things like "I made a set of red beads with gold leaf, and she listed an identical set a week later!"

I'm glad those days seem to be gone.

With the advent of the e-book tutorial I have seen both more sharing in some ways, and less sharing in others. I am happy to see some excellent teachers putting a lot of work into sharing their knowledge, and a little less happy to see some "idea hoarding", which bothers me. We've always had idea hoarding in the form of secret glass combination or techniques (man, I remember getting the dirtiest look at the Gathering in 2003 when I innocently asked an artist if the pretty bead was iris gold over ivory - he told me he wasn't sharing that information, and the implication was that I was terribly rude for asking) but with the advent of pay tutorials it seems like the first thing many people ask themselves when they stumble across something new is not "what can I make with this?" but "can I sell this information?" and I think that's unfortunate.

I feel like I'm just rambling now.
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  #28  
Old 2012-11-12, 12:19pm
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Kalera:

I don't think you're "rambling"--I think you're "musing" (a product of contemplation, deep thought, reflection.)
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Old 2012-11-12, 1:04pm
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One more thing...Kalera:

The "idea hoarding" that you mention is a good example of what I consider to be actions without pure intent. I classify idea hoarding as valuing self-interests more than the growth of the artistic community. [BTW, the antithesis of idea-hoarding would be your "Ask me Anything" thread. Now THAT was an extremely generous and much-appreciated gesture. I can't begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading it! I use it for reference all the time. Same thing with Dawn's Raku tutorial. You guys rock--thank you! Those threads exhibit a tremendous generosity of spirit--which, by the way, I believe shall return to you through the immense respect and loyalty of your readers.]

Personally, I very much value the growth of others with similar interests. I have no issue sharing a single bit of what I have learned. In fact, one of the most important things I know about learning is that some students need to see one, two, three or four DIFFERENT WAYS to do something before they learn it. For that reason, finding two or three tutorials on the same lampwork technique is not a surprise to me.

Furthermore, as new products and materials emerge and tools are refined, I would expect to see revised tutorials appear. (Aren't we all lucky that there was more than one math textbook published throughout history? The MATHEMATICS BANK hasn't changed one iota since the beginning of time. Yet, new discoveries are made and shared constantly. And gosh, when it comes to artistic interpretation, how many times have the movies "A Star is Born," "Anna Karenina," and "King Kong" been remade?)

In summary, I believe that the universe has a way of rewarding us for all of the giving we do with a pure heart. (our gestures, actions, comments, thoughts, etc.) But, I know that not everyone feels the same way.

Dix
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Old 2012-11-12, 4:56pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalera View Post
but with the advent of pay tutorials it seems like the first thing many people ask themselves when they stumble across something new is not "what can I make with this?" but "can I sell this information?" and I think that's unfortunate.
I wonder if that is because it's difficult to sell the actual glass beads for a true financial representation of the effort involved.
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