[Clayart] Copying,stealing and honoring

Bonnie Staffel bstaffel at chartermi.net
Fri Jul 15 19:48:21 EDT 2016


Going back over my years of art education, starting with the Saturday free
children's' art lessons at the Toledo Museum of Art, those were the happiest
days of my childhood.  I learned about color, painting, and studying the
many antiquities in the museum. We were given many assignments, one to copy
one of the great paintings in the gallery. I must have been out of my mind
when I chose a very involved painting of a lot of trees and forests. I
preferred painting people. One I think I still have is an abstract young
girl at the beach. As we had a model, we could plan our own background.  It
pleased me as to its outcome. 

 

Then as a young adult when I Ieft my home to be on my own, I went to evening
classes after work to study with a famous artist who had retired in Toledo.
On the urging of a fellow resident of the YWCA she was raving about his
teaching techniques. There he set up still life collections and I learned
how to create glass transparency as well as silver reflections, teaching me
to SEE beyond the sparkle. As I had planned to become a commercial artist as
a career, these were important things to know how to paint. 

 

Well, other things followed through my studies in various locations, I
learned the responsibility of ethics in being creative. 

 

The point of my story on my return from the South, is that I became involved
with a local gallery that wanted to show my work, and even offered studio
space to rent. The owners of the gallery were both potters who had worked
for a well known sculptor in our area. He had definite ways of portraying
his work. Well, the wife of the couple, did use this learning experience but
she created objects on her own. The husband never experimented in his shapes
and used the same glazes he had used twenty years earlier. Then they had two
kids. One showed an interest in working in clay so he was urged to copy the
forms his grandfather (also a potter) had made. He chose just one item  made
it over and over again. As he grew he decided to pursue clay as his career
choice. I don't judge him for copying a family design, but long after I left
the gallery involvement, I visited it one day looking for a particular
potter's work of which I have a collection. I kept finding what looked like
this potter's work but learned it was the work of the son of the owner.
Copied to a tee in forms, glazes, way of designing, but signing his own name
and no mention of the original potter. As far as I was concerned this was
just plain plagiarism. How could the son of the owners know any better when
his family used others work as their source of design? 

 

I have lots of stories of this relationship over many, many years. But the
close friendship we once had is now destroyed. 

 

Thanks for listening.

 

Bonnie

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://webpages.charter.net/bstaffel/

http://vasefinder.com/bstaffelgallery1.html

DVD  Throwing with Coils and Slabs

DVD  Introduction to Wheel Work

Charter Member Potters Council

 

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