Turning Archive 2007

A lesson learned and a point well missed

russ Fairfield
>The 3-Evils of the Internet forums are - Inspiration, plagiarism (copying others), and whether what we do is art or craft. These are always circular arguments that end with hurt feelings, anger, people leaving the forum, and in the worst case people have been locked out of the forum.

As usual, the recent discussion of inspiration and copying occupied a lot of space and time over two or three days, but completely missed the point.

The point being that real artists DO NOT copy another artists because they DO NOT use another's art for their inspiration. The common trait of all of those we look up to as the true woodturning artists get their inspiration from the greater world outside of woodturning. The artist has the imagination to be inspired by their own dreams, nature, animals, plants, rocks, math symbols, microscope images, human activities, ancient art forms, other media, or something as simple and everyday as a road sign.

What they DO NOT do is copy each other, and neither should we.

The lesson learned is - turn wood, have fun, and don't worry about it. People looking at your work will tell you if it looks like you are copying someone else, and congratulate you on your originality if it doesn't.

There is a second lesson. A common argument is that the artist should expect his work to be copied when you have paid for a class or demonstration. If that is why you are in the audience, you are there for the wrong reasons. You should be there to learn a new technique or skill that you can use to make anything. You should not be there to learn how to make a specific something.

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