Turning Archive 2006

A case FOR "plagiarism"

>I just read through all of the recent discussion on "plagiarism" on this forum and a similar thread on the WOW site. Besides noticing that half of those commenting about it didn't know how to spell the word, I also discovered that I have a contrary view of this topic.

This my argument from the "other side" of the plagiarism issue.

My first problem is that we are telling everybody that it is OK to copy the classical forms of ceramics, glass, and other mediums. This is telling everybody to look at the same forms that I did, but don't copy them into wood, because I got there first.

This is also telling them that we have to go to the other media because there are no "classical" forms in woodturning. I think this is a very myopic view of woodturning as an art form. It ignores that there are such things as the Ellsworth vase, the Jordan pot, the Osolnik candlestick, the Michaelsen hat, and the list goes on. We have been looking at these forms for almost 20 years (that I know of) in the AAW and other magazines, and in galleries, and they are always presented to us as being the ultimate in the art of woodturning. Haven't these forms transcended the individual who originally made them and haven't they become the "classical" forms of woodturning? It seems to me that they are. As such, it follows that anyone who aspires to being a woodturner would want to copy them, just as we are telling them to copy the classical forms of other media. It seems to me that these forms have risen to a level that is above ownership by an individual. Those whose name is associated with them should be honored that this has happened. Yet, all they are doing is complaining about it. Is their complaint not that this has happened, but that they didn't get paid for it?

It all gets down to what this AAW stuff, the classes, the teaching, and the Symposiums is all about. Is it about people having fun at woodturning; or is it all about selling stuff??

If it is about having fun at turning things from wood, then there is nothing wrong with someone copying a "classic" turned wood form, just as there is nothing wrong with copying similar forms from other media. Everyone likes to achieve some level of acclaim among their peers, and we can't all be another famous woodturner in the making. The closest that many of us will ever get to fame is having someone at our woodturning club refer to ours as an "(fill in the name) form". I see nothing wrong with that. When that happens, I take it as compliment that I have done something.

If this is all about selling stuff, then it is all about the money, and we have all suffered the loss for it having come down to that.

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