LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION VS. BEING A COPYCAT

Are you inspired or a copycat?

Before trying to find out where the thin line between inspiration and plagiarism lies, it is important to realize one thing: copying is as old as we (humans) are. This is what we do and this is how we learn: we watch what the others are doing and then we imitate them. We move forward by making improvements and introducing adjustments but, in fact, no creative work would ever be done without copying first. Now, if you think this is an excuse good enough to copy other artists as much as you like, you better know that you are wrong. Because our natural and subconscious tendency to copy is one thing and a conscious creative or artistic process is something completely different.


Inspiration is good. And important.

We all need inspiration, no matter who we are and what we do. But inspiration is something elusive and maybe this is why it’s important role sometimes is being overlooked by people obsessed by uniqueness and originality. Some people believe that in order to create, the inspiration has to come from a totally uncommon idea; something that no one has ever thought of before. Yet, when you look at the creators of the greatest art, inventions and ideas, you will see it is quite the opposite.

You are getting influenced by the surrounding world and there is no way to avoid it. Your creativity is not coming out of the blue, it is being born from all the things you have seen and experienced so far, also from the art you admire and from the people you respect and interact with. As an artist, you can’t help but be inspired by other artists – and there is a big chance that you will inspire others in return.
You might want to check our earlier post 40 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY.


 Plagiarism is bad

Plagiarism has very little to do with inspiration. While inspiration opens new doors to you, shows you new possibilities and  gives you motivation to go beyond your everyday routines and limitations, plagiarism only confines you to reproducing the things that have already been done. And you also have to realize that copying other artists’ ideas or designs in order to gain profit or fame is nothing else than theft.

Although sometimes it may look like the easy way out, or a way for you to show off and seem smarter and more talented than your fellow artists, plagiarism is in fact very destructive to your artistic career. It can have consequences you have never thought of and may cost you a lot. First, by simply copying you do not move forward in any way. You miss opportunities to learn and practice new skills, you also miss chances to receive honest feedback on your own work. And if you get caught your integrity and artistic performance will be questioned, and your good name will be lost.

Really, honesty is much better a way for an artist, even though the results sometimes come later and can be less spectacular.


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10 STEPS TO MAKE PHOTOGRAPHY YOUR KEY TO SUCCESS

10 STEPS TO MAKE PHOTOGRAPHY YOUR KEY TO SUCCESS

 

 10 STEPS TO MAKE PHOTOGRAPHY YOUR KEY TO SUCCESS | Handmade in Europe

 

Everybody has heard the importance of great photos before, that’s because they can make or break one’s shop. But on their way to improving their shops people very often come across enough “do this” and “never do that” tips to become quite lost and confused.

If you are not very experienced with product photography, this post will give you 10 easy to follow steps (and a lot of resources) that will help you with bringing your photos’ quality to a whole new level. And if you consider your photography good it still might be worth reading as there always are new things to learn.

Before going further please note that this is not a tutorial on a particular photography technique. It is a guide that will help you in finding your own creative way of photographing your products.


 Step1: Look around.

Take a look at some successful shops (or the ones that you like), and not only those selling products similar to yours. See how people photograph different sorts of products: pay attention to the composition of the photos and to their quality; notice the way of lighting the products; check the backgrounds and the props. Check the old listings in the shop (you have big chances of finding them among the sold items) and see what has changed in the shop’s photography along the way. Try to figure out why certain tricks work for certain products while some others don’t. This exercise will help you in judging your own photos, it will also show you that there are many different ways of photographing similar products.

Having done the exercise above take a look at the photos in your shop (or on your disc) and evaluate them in the same way. Note down the things you like about your photos and the ones you don’t like at all. Also take notes on technical mishaps, like bad lighting, blurriness, any imperfections you see and would like to get rid of. Doing this be critical and also be honest with yourself. If something is bad call it bad, otherwise you won’t be able to improve it. And if something is good, don’t forget to note it down as well.

So, by now you should have a list with all the strong points of your photography vs the weak ones and you should be able to see what areas will require more of your attention than the others. Keep your list and all the notes for the future – they will be of great help at the time of evaluating your progress.


THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN EVALUATING PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY

  • General quality of the photos (sharpness, colors, contrast).
  • Composition: how are the products positioned? are they fully visible or cropped? if cropped, does the cropping look accidental or intended?
  • How is the product lit: are there any shadows on the photo? if yes, are they very obvious or not? are the shadows distracting? can you see reflections on the products? if yes, do they seem to be accidental or intended? are the reflections distracting? are they necessary (in your opinion)?
  • Are the products popping out on the photos or are they blending in with the background?
  • Background: is it neutral or rather strong? patterned or not?
  • Props: are there many of them used? how are they used? do they make the photo prettier? are they complementing the product in any way? are they drawing your attention away from the product? are they giving you the sense of scale of the product? are they necessary (in your opinion)?
  • Models: aren’t they distracting? how are they presenting products? how are how are they posed? how are they styled? how are the photos cropped?

Keep in mind: Product photography is a TOOL, it is not the PRODUCT. You cannot look at it in the same way as you look at art photography. It is not only about aesthetics. It is about presenting the product in the best possible way.

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MEET AN ARTIST: KARIN PICHLER OF CREATIVE CROCHET SHOP

Karin Pichler of Creative Crochet Shop on Handmade In EuropeWe’re taking you to Salzburg, Austria today, where Karin Pichler, the owner, designer, photographer, shop manager and PR manager of CREATIVECROCHETSHOP lives with her husband, 2 daughters, and an adopted doggie. Think of old mountains, nature, immense sunflower fields, and you can picture her surroundings.

Karin was always crocheting and knitting, and 2 years ago she turned her hobby into a business. In a nutshell:

I started with selling hats and slippers. I tried different online platforms, Etsy, Dawanda, Ravelry, Crazypatterns.. My designs were my own, and I shortly also offered tutorials and crochet patterns, at first in German, now most are translated to English also. Nowadays my offers expanded to custom made items, most items are made to order in any colour combination, and I started a jewellery line for knitting and crochet fanatics.
A few months ago I joined HIE to get my own site, and now have my own shop with everything centralized.

Knitting, sewing and crocheting was running in the family, which is why Karin started early.

I learned the crafts of knitting and crochet at a very early age.
Handwork was prevalent in my family, my grandmothers and my mother sewed, knitted, crocheted and embroidered constantly. They always made clothes for us and for our children’s dolls, too much clothing! Handwork was constantly present – which has strongly influenced me.

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40 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY

40 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY

 

 

It is creativity that produces invention and innovation.

It is creativity that makes our lives more fun, more interesting and more full of achievement.

It is creativity that is so often expected of us at home and – especially – at work.

Everybody wants to be creative but many people believe they can’t, just because they were not born that way. Many others believe that creativity is all about those aha! moments which sometimes happen to other people and never to them.

Here is a great news: creativity does not come from nothing. New creative ideas are grounded in ideas and knowledge you already have. Another great news is: creative thinking can be enhanced by external forces, and it’s not necessarily reliant on “good genes” or natural ability, as many people believe.

Here you can find 40 great ways to give your creativity some boost, just try some of them and see what is working for you.


 1. Relax

Relaxing and ‘doing nothing’ can be extremely beneficial for your creativity. States of being and inactivity allow the creative potentials of your mind to manifest themselves. They allow your insights and inspirations to flow.


2. Sleep

Sleep is quite essential for the growth of creativity. Our sleeping brains continue to work on ideas that we are struggling with during the day and it is very much likely that after 8 hours of rest we will think about our experiences in a whole new way which will lead us to finding solutions more easily. Sleep helps to consolidate memories and sharpen thoughts: our memories are restructured before they are stored and creativity appears to be enhanced in the process.


 3. Listen to classical music

The brain functions better and is more creative when listening to certain songs and compositions. For instance, Albert Einstein found listening to Mozart compositions helped his thinking, though he never understood why. Now it has been scientifically proven that the brain’s performance and creativity increases from the positive effects of certain frequencies which are characteristic for classical music.


4. Play piano

Apparently piano playing reduces stress more than other creative art activities. Since stress is one of the most common factors that can block creative thinking playing piano will help to ease and clear your mind so that it can be freer and more creative.


5. Exercise

Going for a walk or doing other physical exercise on a regular basis can really get your creative juices flowing. When we are physically active the body loosens up and our mind becomes freer which makes it easier to come up with new ideas and solutions. However, the effects of exercising are not everlasting and they drop when we are completely at rest.


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