Do It Yourself

It's funny moving to Texas because everyone here thinks I am a very crafty person.  Which is great. I love being resourceful and being able to make stuff. But it's funny because I have conversations like this all the time:

Person: Oh! This is fun. Did you make it?
Me: Yep. It was so easy. I just used my paper punch, a little hot glue, and my sewing machine.
Person: Ah... Pinterest right?
Me: Actually, nope. I just thought of that one.

So I have decided that to the non-crafty-person, Pinterest is the ultimate craft resource. The DIY (do-it-yourself) movement had picked up quite a bit before Pinterest was born. Magazines like Ready Made were inspiring young hipsters or semi-hipsters, like myself. But once people embraced Pinterest, there was no holding back.

I love it.  I love seeing how my friends are cleaning in a new way, organizing differently, and cooking really pretty dishes. But it is also kind of sad to me. I feel like all the good craft ideas I had are now part of the public domain. For example, I knew in 4th grade that I wanted to have candles in mason jars hanging from the trees at my wedding. I decided in 9th grade that I would have a little bunch of glass vases with wildflowers for the table centerpieces. My taste and opinions were developed after years of reading Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, and Country Living. It included "field research" at parties and weddings and other people's houses. In my first year of college in an interior design class, I even had assignments to rip out pages from magazines and start my own inspiration book.

But now with the internet, one person gets that idea and can easily spread it to everyone. Ideas get recycled over and over again.
At work a couple months ago, we were discussing whether we should look into the possibility of locking images on the websites that we create, so that they can not be pinned. Flickr already has this option. If you are on blog that has photos from a Flickr stream, you will get an error message saying "This image can not be pinned." The first time I encountered the error, I went to extreme measures to get the image. It's like because they didn't want me to have it, I wanted it even more. So I took a screen shot.
We had a similar discussion in a client meeting with designers at RBMM. They have been working on one of our client's branding for events. They have come up with this really great design style that is all their own. They didn't want to put the event posters on our website because they didn't want their images to make it on to Pinterest. I thought that was strange. I said, "Why wouldn't you want the world to see how awesome your pictures are?" They said, "Because our style will be mimicked and copied all over."
The hardest thing about being a good designer is coming up with great stuff that you haven't seen before. You have to draw the line between inspiration and plagiarism. You need to know the rules about copyrights, creative commons, and what is in the public domain. I think most of us designers see our designs just like an artist views their painting. So when images are put up on Pinterest, then pinned, shared, and repinned... it makes it very easy for people to copy or "re-create." Last year when I was first using Pinterest, I pinned like mad. It was so easy to find so many great inspirations for cards, wedding announcements, etc. But then when I found myself ready to start a new project, I realized I wasn't relying on my creativity. I was too focused on how to REcreate something I had seen before that wasn't from my own brain... sufficeth to say, not a good habit to get into as a designer. It got me thinking and made me realize that I didn't want to just replicate. I want to create my own goodness.

Anyway. I still think Pinterest is great. The best thing it has added to my life is empowerment. I love tutorials and I love seeing the possibilities of something I might have overlooked. Just this week, I was getting ready for work and I tried on one of my many shirts that was handed down to me from a loving elder sister. I love the shape but the sleeves always drive me nuts. They are a weird length, they're puffy, and then there is a tight cuff just below the elbow. I remembered how much the sleeves had bugged me last time I wore the shirt, so I picked a different outfit. Later that night, I thought, "Ok. I can make this shirt work because I love it. It's worth investing a little time into.
I am happy to report that I totally altered the sleeves and I love the shirt even more now. I probably wouldn't have had the motivation to change it, if it weren't for my Pinterest time that day. I saw all these images of altered clothing or ideas for making a shirt more modest, more comfortable, etc. It reminded me that I could do that too.

So I guess to wrap up my long ramble... I think Pinterest usage is a great philosophy for life:
Look for inspiration, learn a few tips, and then go create something that is all your own. 

Miranda's bridal shower image
jar image
ruffle shirt image & tutorial


melimba said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!
Couldn't agree more with you. Great minds think alike, no? :)

bethany jane. said...

I couldn't agree more! I really don't like what pinterest is doing to the craft world. It's good to take a break from it and come up with something original. I'm finding myself using it more and more for just fashion and home. Also, I don't like the idea of pinning something I like, doing it, and then knowing that it's not at all original. Pinterest is turning us all into the same chevron-loving, crockpot-cooking person. I need my individuality!

bethany jane. said...

Also, I have to say I'm soooo grateful I planned my wedding (and designed and made my wedding dress) without the aid of pinterest. Do it. You will not regret it.

emily snyder said...

perfectly said.
i want to see the updated sleeves!

Camber said...

I TOTALLY get this.

Todd said...

I completely agree. I feel like to most people who are interest, just by looking at creative stuff people feel like they are being creative. But the time they spend "researching" turns into time lost discovering by making. That's all I have to say about that

Steven said...

Interesting point. It reminds me of Mark Twain's letter about plagiarism...http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/05/bulk-of-all-human-utterances-is.html Isn't all creativity plagiarism?

Stephanie McDonald said...

You are right Becca. I love Pinterest too, bue I always use it for inspiration or tutorials. I really enjoy the recipes (because I'm not very creative with cooking or baking) But I won't ever copy a craft exactly I see on the internet. I do love looking at pretty things thought.

Natalie Grace said...

Good thoughts

Kanchan Pahuja said...

Hi! I love how informative and great your articles are. Can you recommend a List of Citrus Fruits or blogs that go over the same topics? Thanks a lot!