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question on using someone else's pattern

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  • question on using someone else's pattern

    So I have seen some really inspiring carvings here and I have a question. What is the protocol for doing a carving based on someone else' design? I realize that I could just do it with out anyone being the wiser, but that is not my style. Do I just ask the person if I can do something based on their image? Just curious.


  • #2
    I suggest you ask for their blessing if not their permission. I did. Showed them what I had been doing.

    Learning by Designing Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art. Volume I. Jim Gilbert & Karin Clark.
    There are even drawing lessons in this text which describes all four of the different art and carving styles.
    Among other things, I wanted to decorate the sides of a very large cedar umbrella stand with formline carvings.

    Jim Gilbert had died. Karin Clark gave me written permission to use anything and everything in the book.
    Ironically, the umbrella stand wound up in southern California during the drought!


    • #3
      If the pattern is published in a book or magazine, or freely offered on a web site, then you can assume the owner/publisher expects the readers will make their own version of the carving. However, if you wish to sell or re-publish your work then you will need to get the consent of the owner of the pattern.


      • #4
        Thanks for the responses. I was thinking more along the lines of what I see here. For instance, I see someone carves a figure and I would like to try it. Not published, not a pattern that is sold, but an original that someone creates and posts here on the forum.


        • #5
          In that case, just ask them.


          • #6
            If I am doing something in the style of another person, but not an exact copy, I sign it on the back, saying "In the style of John Doe'" "a la John Doe," "In the Manner of John Doe," as the mood strikes me. Just to give credit where credit is due.

            While always best to ask permission, sometimes it isn't possible, or even necessary if not making a copy, but it is always honorable to cite the source of your inspiration.
            Last edited by Arthur C.; 06-14-2017, 10:50 AM.


            • #7
              Here's my slant on it......No one is going to carve the same caricature, figure, item.....etc, the same way. Every time it's duplicated it is going to come out looking slightly different either because of talent, style, or artistry. I go on the theory that if I carve something for my own benefit and don't post it on Facebook or here on WoodCarving Illustrated or any other location where others will view it then it doesn't matter. ing or displaying a carving or a pattern on the internet is like some kid posting sexy pictures of themselves. They are there forever and ever and ever. Even after we pass on to the great divide. So in the above instance I'd carve away and enjoy myself without guilt.

              Now, if you intend to post photos of your carving somewhere on the internet or even at an art show then it would definitely be honorable and courteous to give mention as to where you got the idea or from whom you obtained the pattern. Even though the carving may look 40-50 percent different then the original it's still not your original idea.

              Selling your work is another matter. If you intend to reproduce an artist's work with intent to profit by it, even if there is no copyright, in my mind, it's only right that you obtain his or her permission to do so. Of course you could always carve copies of the work,never post photos, never let any other carvers know where the idea came from, and sell you work at art and craft shows but you may lose a few karma points in the process, as well as experiencing a guilty conscience.


              • #8
                You should ask first. There is a real good chance that someone will recognize the style or subject matter as being similar to their own or someone else's carving design and it isn't a good idea for people to think you are swiping their intellectual property. Some carvers make their living at this and get quite upset when their designs are "taken". Some don't even allow photographs of their work, unless you are buying it! And unfortunately, many artists are even having to post photos with a watermark, because others have stolen photos for their own websites and posted carvings as their own work. People say that if you change two or three things on it, then it becomes your own design. While there is some truth to that, I still prefer to give credit to the original designer anyway, because they deserve it!
                'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"



                • #9
                  I think it's a good idea to ask if it would be all right to try your hand at doing someone else's idea. I'd be willing to bet 99.9% of the active carvers on here would not only give you permission, but most would be honored that someone liked their carving enough to want to do one like it. I've been a member of this forum for 9 years now and have asked many (perhaps 15-20) members if it was OK to try one of their ideas/ pattern and have never been turned down. There was one very good caricature carver who used to get a bit upset if someone did anything that resembled one of his "originals" but I haven't seen him on here in a long time, so I guess he must have another place to display his talent ...just my .02 cents worth...


                  • #10
                    I agree with Mike and Wayne. You should definitely ask first. Carvers put a lot of thought and effort into the design of their carvings, and it's not right for someone else to just "pirate" their work. The proper thing to do is to ask permission first, and also to always recognize the originator of the design when you display your version of the carving.

                    I have seen my work (and photos) copied on the internet loads of times. Some carvers have asked permission, some have not. Personally, it rather offends me when I see copies of my work done by carvers that haven't asked permission...and the funny thing is...whenever someone asks me for permission, I gladly say 'yes' 100% of the time. I just want the courtesy of being asked. Even if someone hasn't asked my permission first though, I don't mind as long as he/she gives me recognition when showing his/her version of my carving. I'm actually flattered to see that someone thinks enough of my work to want to duplicate it.

                    The point is...ask permission first, and give recognition in the end.
                    Keep On Carvin'
                    Bob K.

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                    • #11
                      This consideration should extend beyond other's carvings. Sometimes the source of inspiration is a painting or ceramic decoration. For over 40 years I have carved reliefs based on graphic designs of M. C. Escher. As far as I can tell, Escher never carved a relief. Lots of woodcuts, but they were used to make prints. I haven't asked for permission because he died in 1972. The foundation that was set up to catalog and protect his copyrights has been active in fighting commercial copies of the lithographs, but not derivative works. I have been diligent in noting Escher as the source of my ideas even though many viewers recognize them immediately. When on public display, the theme is usually "Escher in Wood." I do not sell any of these works.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the advice from everyone. It seems that all on this board have the same good ethics. Refreshing! Thanks again!