Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I won a carving contest.....kinda

Bookmark and ShareI was recently sent this photograph taken at the Miami Valley Woodcarvers show in Middleton Ohio.  Those of you familiar with my spoons will recognize a number of my designs in this shot as well as designs from Mike Davies, Laura Jenkins Gorun, Alun Davies, Sion Llewellyn and others.   None of these spoons has been carved by me or any other of the aforementioned lovespoon carvers.
You may also note that nowhere is any credit given to any of us for our designs.   This is a big problem in the world of carving and is one that never ceases to disappoint me.  I'm flattered when someone likes one of my designs enough to try carving it....but when it is shown or sold and I am left uncredited, then my pleasure sours and I can't help but take offence.

To add insult to injury, the blue ribbon winning spoon on the back wall is also one of mine.  Now normally when you enter carvings in competitions, there is an expectation that it is your own work... and that should include the design of the piece.  Likely, the carver of this award winning spoon would argue that because he changed a detail or two at the crown, the design is now original.  I would argue that is akin to me recording ReBEL, ReBEL and arguing it is no longer David Bowie's classic hit REbel REbel because I have added my own personal emphatic touch.

I work very HARD to create my designs and as a reward for my hard work, I earn an income so modest that your average Walmart greeter would turn his nose up in disgust.  To see others presenting my work as though it were their own robs me of even enjoying the pleasure of being properly credited as the creator of a design!  It is disrespectful,  hurtful and more than a little disappointing.

Here's another picture from the same show.  As you can see, I'm everywhere yet nowhere.  It's a little bit upsetting!
But saddened as I am, I still have to laugh that I can win a woodcarving blue ribbon without even sending in my work!!

The vast majority of the time, the carving community is chock-full of welcoming, warm-hearted people who love to share their passion.  Unfortunately, there is sometimes a bit of a blurred line between sharing a passion and taking a liberty.  I really do hope that whoever has carved these spoons just doesn't understand what this kind of appropriation of designs means.   Maybe in future, I'll get acknowledged for my design work and maybe even get a share of the ribbons!!!

In case you'd like to see my humble little version of this 'award winning design', here it is below:
(And by the way, the little hummingbird at the top of the blue ribbon spoon comes from yet ANOTHER one of my designs)

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Dave. Sadness is very much the right word. Even if he means well, the fact that he doesn't know to very clearly give credit where it's due is evidence of an epidemic problem within the carving world, that really scares away more truly good artists from entering the carving world. It's a real disservice to us all. A unique and extremely appealing design sense is a rare thing, so it's a little incredible that one wouldn't want to very actively credit the originator of that aspect of a carving. It's not like the person doing this doesn't know that he's copying your work - it's like he's going through your book, and making every spoon in it. A fun project, I agree, but there should be a big sign saying "my attempt at all the spoons in Dave Western's Book," or at least a by-line on all those little labels indicating the designers. It's hard not to be saddened and upset by this, but I really do hope this fellow means well, and wants to help, not hurt, the lovely tradition that is the Welsh Lovespoon. Here's hoping just a little education is in order - how he hasn't been educated already, I don't know, but he can certainly be educated now. And if he is intentionally violating our copyrights, well - then - that's another story, and again, just sad. Anyway - well done, creating so many designs in a display that obviously attracted lots of attention! ;)