UPDATED on 5/28 at 12:40 pm EST.
I need to get this out.
I started writing this yesterday, but wanted to take some time away and come back with a fresh mind.
Have you ever felt so misunderstood that it just made you want to cry? Hell, have you ever felt so misunderstood that you actually did cry?
Well that is exactly what I have been experiencing and feeling these last few days. It is why my stomach is churning and my mind feels like jello these last few days. The fact that anyone would think I would malicious (or even knowingly) duplicate another designer's work or attempt to do harm to another designer's livelihood by posting a tutorial is extremely hurtful to me, considering the amount of time and dedication I have put in to this community, over the last three years, that I love so much.
But that's not what I want this post to be about, so I will end that there.
If you are visiting this post expecting to see a tutorial for a diy necklace from Anthropologie, I have removed it (after a great deal of thought). This was a decision that I made completely on my own.
Ultimately, now that I know that the necklace was handmade and not a mass-produced piece being churned out of the factories, I don't feel right about showing people how to make it for less. Although, I enjoy writing tutorials here as often as possible, it is, and never will be, my intention to ever do anything to hurt the art + handmade community and the people that make this community what it is: an amazing and inspiring place.
I do not condone the copying and selling of another person's work ever, and while I believe that creating something for personal use that is not intended for resale is a bit of a blurry line, I believe that taking down this tutorial is the right thing for me to do regardless of the original intention.
For those that have been a part of this dialogue on my blog and Ellen's blog, I want to say thank you for sharing your thoughts on a topic like this one, which is filled with emotions and very strong varying opinions. Whether I agree with what was said or not, I respect each and every one of your opinions. BUT what I cannot respect or condone are the few hateful remarks that have popped up on my blog in the comments below, in my inbox, and on Ellen Baker of The Long Thread's post about this controversy, who created the series I was a part of.
I have never thought that anger is a good way to get your point across. And I never will. *To everyone who has sent me a kind email or comment, I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Your words meant so much.
>>>I invite you to read Ellen's post, entitled Shades of Gray, right here: http://thelongthread.com/?p=8064
There is now a long-running dialogue (60+ comments) about this topic on that post, filled with varying opinions. So, if you're interested in this topic, you should pop over there and read it. The positive thing that has come out of all of this has been the dialogue that has started. You are also free to continue sharing your thoughts here in the comments below and I welcome all opinions, as I always have.
If you are confused right now, let me explain. If you already know the story, you can go ahead and skip to the end...Up until this point, I haven't felt the need to explain myself because I know my intentions were good, but after some of the comments and mud slinging that has been going on with a small group of commenters, I now feel compelled. This is the short version of what happened...
Thursday I posted a tutorial for a look-alike Merit Badge Necklace from Anthropologie as part of Ellen Baker of The Long Thread's May blogger series for "knock off" week (which was intended to be fun and joyful). *If you know Ellen or her site, you know that she does amazing things for the handmade and diy community. I usually post original tutorials of my own designs, but I thought it was an interesting challenge and the time frame for that week in particular (there was a different tutorial topic every week for the month of May with various bloggers) worked best for me because I was out of town earlier in the month. So, I chose a necklace from Anthro that I liked and knew I could figure out how to recreate it and I did just that. The problem is that that necklace from Anthropologie was actually handmade by a designer and then purchased by Anthro to sell in stores and online. I DID NOT KNOW THAT WHEN I CREATED THE TUTORIAL. It was an innocent mistake. When I found out that these necklaces were most likely made by Fort Standard, I contacted them immediately and received a prompt response. Gregory sent me a very professional and thoughtful email back. No name calling, just communication between one person and another. I then sent him another email and offered to take the tutorial down, out of respect for him and his business partner and their designs. And I also invited him to share his thoughts on this topic with you all in a video or audio conversation that would be posted in the place of the old tutorial. As of Saturday at noon EST, I have not heard back from him. But I decided to remove the tutorial anyway because that's what feels right to me. I will keep you posted if I hear back.
I imagine I will receive some criticism for taking the post down as well. And maybe even some nit-picking over the words I have chosen for this post as well. And that is life.
Please visit the talented designers at Fort Standard: http://fortstandard.com/
Call to action...
I want to move on from this and get back to the positivity that I feel it is my mission to spread, and issue a call to action to anyone who is reading this...
There are a lot of great things happening around us everyday. Sure they get mentioned and casually passed around, but no where near as often (or as viral) as something that pisses someone off, which reminds me of Stevie Koerner's "A World of Love" series that Urban Outfitters ripped off. One tweet about that started something HUGE (1,000's of tweets huge and a HuffPost article) and it was amazing that so many people were able to come together around the cause. So powerful!
>>> I would like to ask each of you who reads this to take a moment and think about one positive thing that is happening in the handmade community right now and tweet about that, or mention it on your blog, or whatever. Just share that good thing with someone else. Let's see if we can turn those good and great things happening around us into something just as powerful and HUGE!