I recently came across this on Donna Downey’s blog, Simply Me. It just resonated with me so deeply that I thought I would share it with you.
As I browsed through Donna’s blog, I thought about how this amazing mixed media artist personifies the word sharing. Her posts are filled with tutorials and videos sharing her love and passion for her art with others. Wow.
I started making jewelry back in the early 90s. At that time, there was no internet, no bookstores in my small town, no jewelry classes, no artists’ groups. As you can imagine, I knew what I wanted to do but I just didn’t know where to start. So, I traveled to a craft show about 45 minutes from my home, hoping to meet some artists, namely jewelry artists, who could give me some advice on where to start. I had an experience there that I will never forget for as long as I live. I wandered around the show and finally found the table of someone who made jewelry. As I was admiring her work, I asked her how she got started and where she purchased her beads and components. She literally hissed at me, “I worked hard to come by that information and I”m certainly not giving away any of my secrets to you!” I was stunned and left the show in tears, thinking I had done something really wrong.
Over the years, I’ve thought about that experience and discovered what a great teaching it’s been to me. In the years to come, whenever I was asked that very same question at a show where I sold my jewelry, I freely shared all of my “secrets”, where I bought my beads and components, often writing down the information about the bead shows I attended every year. Yes, I did have to work hard to obtain all of that information but I wanted to share it with an open heart with as many beginning jewelry artists as I could.
It’s amazing how a negative experience like that will stay with you and shape your future. Have you ever had a similar experience?
Karen, I am a huge fan of Donna’s.. I subscribe to her blog and adore her weekly “inspiration Wednesdays” videos. You should check out her YouTube videos for more. I, too, have had the experience of someone saying to me, after I asked them how they “did that”,.. she said “i’m not going to tell you, you’ll take my idea” (and she is a 2nd cousin of mine). Told me a completely different story about her. Sad. That’s why I love to share my ideas and tutorials with others. I love doing that. Great post, my friend.
Yes Judy, now that you mention it, I do remember you talking about Donna years ago at a guild meeting. I’ll definitely check out her Youtube videos! Yes, it definitely does say something about a person who reacts that strongly to a simple, innocent question like that. That is one of the many things I love about you, my friend, you are such a kind and generous spirit! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Love this philosophy!
I believe this is a quote from Paul Arden, a British advertising creative director who died in 2008. I agree with the sharing of ideas and am grateful for the generous online artistic community. I think the relatively new polymer clay art has rapidly evolved because of willingness to share.
I’m not sure, however, why Mr. Arden used the word “covet,” which usually refers to a wrong desire for what someone else possesses. “Hoard” seems more appropriate. But what do I know?
You’re a kind and gentle soul. It’s a shame sometimes we encounter selfish people, but in my experience kindness and gentleness goes a lot further than stroppiness. In my work, trying to figure out painting or photography techniques, I’ve had similar encounters with selfish people but they’ve been outnumbered by the lovely, helpful people I’ve met.
Great post Karen. I frequently say that there are no new ideas just a reworking of old ideas. We take our inspiration from so many sources and are influenced by so much outside of us. I always enjoy seeing someone’s face light up when I share with them a technique I used to create a piece. There was a time when I would hesitate, then realized that a technique or process in another person’s hands will never look like mine. I’ve definitely encountered the “protective” (or possessive?) artist at shows & elsewhere. Some are better about explaining their rationale for not sharing than others. Personally I find that it takes much more energy to be “secretive” than it does to share. Besides, my Mom always taught me that it was nice to share. 🙂
I share your sentiments completely. I also picked up that same hesitation to share information about suppliers when I first started beading and buying supplies. I could somewhat understand why someone would maybe want to protect their own ideas, but suppliers? Good grief. Personally I agree with the idea that imitation is the highest form of flattery. I’ve had people say things like “don’t post that picture, people will copy you”. Wouldn’t that be kind of neat if they did! I think some people operate out of the idea that there is never “enough”, whether it be money, attention, accolades, whatever – so they feel threatened when they feel someone encroaching on something they feel is “theirs”. When you operate out of a sense of “abundance”, you realize that there is plenty for everybody. And yes it seems like it always comes back to you at least double!