Blogging, sharing and other peoples work

Today’s post is in reaction to several comments I have had on my own posts about Charlotte Buch workshop and then reading Kneeks post which you can read here. This subject has also  been debated in every artistic/creative group I have attended .

First I want to say that we are all our own masters and must do what we feel is right. I am in no way judging anyone who does not do what I do. My way is what sits comfortably for me. Each to their own.

When is sharing stealing? Who owns the right to what is taught and learned?

I am sure many of you will have taught some one to do something and they have gone on to share it with some one else.

How do you feel about it?

Did you feel they had diluted your knowledge, stolen a workshop sale or were you happy you had taught it well enough that the student felt confident to pass their new found knowledge on?

Now we have the Internet and blogging, new techniques can be on twitter as you experience them. Is this good or bad?

Artists/makers work hard developing new skills and techniques. For some teaching at workshops and selling books on their techniques is what pays the bills. It is their intellectual property. Isn’t it?

This is a sticky subject- blogging and sharing workshops.  I recently blogged about a Charlotte Buch workshop I attended. I was as descriptive as I could be without actually giving her techniques away. There were a couple of reasons for this:-

  • I paid handsomely for it – why would I now give it away.
  • I am aware this is how she makes her living and that she developed these techniques herself.
  • She was a generous teacher, very open and happy for us to take notes, photos etc.  Nothing was kept from us. ( I have known teachers who keep somethings back)
  • If she wanted it to be out there she would do it herself. i.e she would have tutorials on the net.

I didn’t hold back as I wanted to keep her secrets so that I could charge others at my own workshops, because it was poor or because I didn’t learn anything. I just chose not to, it is my blog, not a teaching aid or service where I am bound to tell all. You may do as you please on your blog and I respect you for that.

Now I am not saying that if you share everything from a workshop you have attended on your blog then you are wrong. What you do with what you have learned is up to you. In fact I think you do have the right to write about it as you paid for it. You paid to learn those skills and use them.

I would also be a terrible hypocrite as I love reading these blogs, especially if it is a tutor or technique I am interested in and I often can’t wait to see each stage in detail. But for me this would only enhance my need to go learn with the master.

We all have techniques which were sourced from somewhere else as well as those we developed ourselves. Its just that you make these tutored techniques our own, we develop our own style .

If you don’t want to have others passing your secrets around, keep them sectret. If you don’t want your techniques shared, don’t share.

Which now brings me to Kneeks experience. Being banded from blogging or taking photos at a workshop she paid to attend. WOW.  I find this shocking. She paid a lot of money and was treated very badly.

Was the teacher is aware of how bad the workshop is and therefore doesn’t want this to get out? Or perhaps she is teaching some one else’s techniques and hasn’t changed them to make them her own and is deep down uncomfortable? Or perhapes she feels her techniques are valuable and doesn’t want them on the net for free? If it is the latter she should state that there is a ‘no picture’ or blogging policy on all advertising and be upfront about it. Even then you would be hard pushed to MAKE people do this and when it comes down to it why would you want to? It gains you money whilst your students leave feeling oppressed.

I am very forgetful. I have to record everything both visually and with notes. I would have been RAGING not to be able to take my own photographs.

I feel we tutors are tainted by this ‘artist’ and Kneeks experience means she will think twice when booking a workshop again. This tutor has damaged feltmaking workshops as when you are booking a workshop there is a huge element of trust. You are investing a lot of money, time and effort in the experience. If it falls short there should be some-kind of recourse.

If the course is badly taught, poorly set up, not as advertised, the teachers skill is low for the level being taught or you are treated badly then you should get your money back.

If the disappointment is because the skills/techniques being taught are below your ability  (this can happen and has recently happened to me) it is difficult. You have chose to take the class and the onus is on you to research the suitability of the content. But  should this be the case then the tutor should ensure that the student is happy to explore the techniques further. Sometimes it is hard to find time to develop and explore at home and so this can be a real gift.  I always think that time to play is priceless.

The tutor should make every effort to ensure you get value for your money in some way.

Personally I love to share, I love when I meet some one and they have learnt something from some one I taught. I feel it is a great compliment. I am not stupid and so I know that good news travels fast, good techniques faster. I am open to feedback  as I am also constantly learning.

My partners comment:-

” Surely blogging is the best advertisment, it helps overcome the unknown for students because all they really have to go on is word of mouth. If you are good at what you do then you should welcome bloggers with open arms. Surely?”

He is not a blogger or a maker. But sometimes he is clever.

I would love to hear your views and will publish all comments ( I will take out any sweary words though)


2 thoughts on “Blogging, sharing and other peoples work

  1. Very well said Joni. You’ve made some excellent points regarding the cost of attending a workshop and retaining some value in it. My hurt came from the attitude of the school placing the blame for my upset back on my shoulders and openly brown-nosing this teacher, knowing that her name has prestige and hoping she would return. As a parent, I try to teach my children how important it is to take responsibility for our mistakes. Learning to say I made a mistake, or I wish I hadn’t said such and such is really important and clearly not practiced by all of the adults around us. thanks for continuing the discussion.

  2. I agree with you, Joni, + I think you were very generous in sharing your experience from the workshop. If anyone can put two and two together, they could figure out Charlotte’s techniques from your posts. I would share even less. Her classes are available for anyone.

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