What is Design?
January 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Last term, my daughter Lauryn decided to a) work for a design & enterprise scholarship; b) sell her bracelets at The Beaderie (in October only); and c) run a stall at her school Victorian Christmas Fair in late November. First off, no prizes for guessing that Lauryn’s stall would sell her beading creations. All this was in aid of the school charity to raise funds to buy equipment for the maternity unit in Lamu, Kenya. Happily, Lauryn has been very successful with all of the above. These projects, unlike previous ones, have triggered interesting discussions. Mainly around “What is design?”
Is it copying or is it taking inspiration to see what others have done, or learning techniques and patterns, and then making them your own. Lauryn spent a lot of time looking at the work of others – from their beading creations for jewellery and decorations to logos, branding, packaging. We’ve also attended lots of classes and Lauryn has taken to to beadweaving chevron bracelets in a multitude of colours and variety of materials. Which led us to the discussion of what is inspiration and design. Was simply changing the colours of the cathedral beads a new design? I argued not. She then started using Malachite rounds and Lapis Lazuli with crystals which turned the chevron woven bracelets more special.
But was this enough? We talked about it loads as she worked on creating her stock for her stall. Then I came across this blog by The Crafty Retailer:
The Fine Line Between Artistic Inspiration and Crafty ExploitationColor. Texture. Design. I am a big fan of visual stimulation. I spend hours each week surfing the web — popping in on artsy blogs and conducting countless google image searches to discover the best of what is happening in the crafty world. The time spent in this creative revery is always a treat…throw in a cupcake or a glass of wine and I have myself a Happy Meal.While this sort of research is important for business purposes, there is a secondary benefit as well. Oftentimes, I come across a piece that ignites my own creative spark and I will obsess for days until I find an opportunity to give birth to my own creation. Sometimes my finished piece reflects the inspiration that I received, other times the connection would not be obvious to anyone but me.So—when does INSPIRATION cross the line to EXPLOITATION? While the line is a fine one, it is often quite murky and not particularly absolute. It makes for a lot of hard feelings and wasted energy for artists involved in a dispute over a design.
For me, it was the realization that my daughter was just 12 and still learning – or should I say already learning about artistic inspiration. That I couldn’t expect her to immediately grasp all the issues when clearly adults are still debating this subject. My role is to support her learning but also to give her the space to work things out for herself.
For Lauryn, she gained the insight into how artists and crafts-people feel about their work. Watching her and looking back through her portfolio of bracelets and other beaded items that she has created, I see, with pleasure, how her designs have evolved over the past few months. The progression has been amazing and fascinating. I’ve caught myself thinking: “Wow, where did she get that idea from?” with the answer being: “Somewhere, in her head”.
Lauryn’s on her creative journey; And I think she’s on the right track. ♥K