One More Thing About Copy + Right, Part II

Sorry I couldn’t get all this in last time–I always have more to say about stuff than I thought I did when I started. So, continuing (and you might want to go back and re-read Part I)~~

Some people grouse about the cost of workshops. I hear this a lot, often as justification for sharing the class handouts with their friends or giving the online password to their art group, giving them access to videos and instructions so they won’t have to pay. The only people who say this, though, are the one who haven’t done it–who haven’t designed and prepared and taught a workshop at a major venue. It’s not just the prep work, the handouts and samples and kits. All of that is a huge amount of work, sure, but the part you don’t see is the part that comes before that, when the artist/teacher is taking what they’ve learned through years of art-making and distilling it into a project they can share in a limited amount of time available in a workshop. The best teachers make sure that you come away not only with a new skill and all the necessary information, but with the sparks of possibilities for incorporating it into your own work. They work really hard at this, and they provide the rest of us with something both invaluable and intangible: the inspiration to create.

This is priceless, and we must never forget it. As long as we have teachers willing to teach us what they’ve discovered, our world will keep expanding in an amazingly exciting way. If, however, we thwart those teachers, well. Most teachers are teaching because they love teaching, but they’re also doing it to earn enough money so that they can spend time in the studio creating art and experimenting with new techniques. If we take away that source of income by stealing their workshop handout and projects, we’re depriving them of the income they need in order to do that. If they can’t make money teaching workshops, then what? If they have to go to work in a bank, their time in the studio is going to suffer. Then it snowballs: not enough time in the studio leads to not enough time to experiement and create new projects, meaning there are no proposals for new workshops. No teaching gigs. No new techniques being shared.

We all suffer.

Those are the things I want you to think about every time you wonder, in the back of your mind, if it’s OK to use something created by someone else, whether it’s an image or a project, a technique or a song. If you’re in doubt, ask: What would Roz say? Or ask the teacher: back in The Day, I wanted to teach a fabric stamping technique I’d learned from a company owner, using her stamps and her paint–I wanted to do it locally, as there was nothing being offered here in West Texas. So, being me, I called her up and asked her. It couldn’t hurt, right? I figured she’d probably say no, and I was prepared for that. She said “Absolutely! Would you like me to send you some stamps and paint?” It was fabulous, and I went ahead with my classes feeling really good about the whole thing–I knew I wasn’t doing anything even slightly wrong. I was happy to make some money teaching (plus free stamps! and paint!). She was happy to have me spread the word and hook more people on her cool stamps and fabulous paint. People locally were happy to have a workshop. Good vibes all around. And that’s what makes this whole mixed media world so wonderful: the ways we work together to spread the joy of creating.


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