Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sneak Peek #3 & We The People...

The first line of the constitution of the United States reads:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

At this point it should probably read something like:  We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union have instituted more laws, rules and standards than any other country in the world." 

It's true we have laws for everything.  Things you can't even imagine.  Now obviously the big ones are important.  If you commit murder or steal something, you go to jail.  These are good laws.  However there are some laws still on the books that make little sense...for instance in Oxford, Ohio it's illegal for a woman to undress in front of a picture of a man.  In California you can own one bear gallbladder, but to have more than one is illegal.  Go figure...and why would you even want one?  Laws like the last two would be pretty hard to enforce, and I seriously doubt anyone is trying to, but yet for some reason they were turned into laws, probably by well meaning people who saw a need for them.

Aside from the laws set down by government we also have rules that we need to observe.  If you go out into the world at any given time, chances are you will come across signs that instruct you on what not to do; "Keep off the grass," "No loitering," "No smoking," etc.  People usually make these rules with the best intentions for all.

If you adhere to a religion you mostly also have a set of standards you try to stick to.  We don't always succeed in sticking to them, but we try.

On top of all that you have probably instituted a set of personal rules you try to live by.  For me, one of those is that I don't ever bother getting even with people.  I figure if you do something against someone intentionally you have already done a disservice to yourself and chances are it will come back on you later, so I don't have a need to seek vengeance.  I have other rules I live by, but that's just one of mine.

Our lives are filled to the brim with laws, rules and standards we try to live by.  But yet this isn 't enough for some people.  They feel a need to "organize" and set yet more laws, rules or standards for some of us to adhere to.

I have noticed that in the art and crafting world the topic is raised quite often that a set of standards should be created for the specific genre that we work in.  It usually springs from someone being disturbed by something someone else has done.  Then the general discussion ensues of what should be included, what shouldn't.  Who will set the standards, etc. 

I have to be honest, I have a really hard time with this idea.  Art is so subjective, and I don't think it should or could be standardized.  Now in my little niche of the world, lets suppose for a moment that there actually came to be a set of industry standards for bear artists...some of us have been in business for a very long time so along the way we have already set our own standards by which we create.  That must be working for us since we have in fact been in business a long time.  Customers know, and they won't keep buying our work over the years if it's poorly constructed.  So am I supposed to suddenly adhere to rules created by a group, that I haven't needed for three decades?  What if they decide that something that I and my customers find perfectly acceptable is no longer up to their standards?

Or what if I am on the other side of the fence and I am supposed to be part of the governing body who sets the standards...what right do I have to tell you what you can do in your own business?  That's part of the beauty of free enterprise...you get to make your own rules.  People choose to run their own business in part so that they can separate themselves from the herd and go their own way.  I also have no desire to tell people what they should or shouldn't be doing, I can only tell them what I do and why.  But what you ultimately do has no bearing on my work and vice versa.  So how do you figure out what is acceptable and what isn't?  You can take ten artists, teach them the same technique and have ten different results.  Who is to say what is right and what isn't.

This idea was presented again in a discussion we were having the other day, and someone suggested that perhaps the best thing would be to only buy from artists who have won awards or who are suggested to collectors by other artists or collectors.  Even that to me sounds like a bad idea (no offense to the person who suggested it) because I have never won a real award from the magazine.  But then again...I have never entered either.  *shrugs*  I also know that if customers only bought from recommended artists that a brand new artist would never get a foothold in the community.  Also that would exclude artists who live in a bubble and don't have a lot of outside contact with the world at large.  They are out there, and they are making lovely bears.

Even if we did set up some industry standards how would we enforce it?  Who would enforce it?  If someone for instance chose to hot glue and staple their bears together (no I don't really know anyone who does that, it's just an old joke between a friend of mine and I)...what are we supposed to do?  Go to their house and take their glue gun and staples away from them?  How would we keep them from just going to the store and getting more?  The government can't even make all people stick to the laws they set down by threat of imprisonment or fines.  How could we possibly insure that people were sticking to industry standards?  How could we make certain people were being forthright when they say they are?

Personally I get a little leery when independent people want to start forming organized groups to police the masses in any given set of people.  I wish this idea would stop coming up.  It's no ones place to tell another person how to create...creation is a journey and we all must find our own path.  What works for one may not work for another.  If we standardize the process we eliminate the possibility of someone finding something that will work for them that we had not thought of previously, and we also run the risk of homogenizing the world of art.  We learn and grow when we create, and that process cannot and should not be standardized. 

Also yesterday I had the MRI done on my knee and will give you an update on that when I hear the results.  Lastly...above is sneak peek #3.  I changed up a couple of tiny things on my small bear pattern, and I like it so much!  I hope you will too!  The next piece is nearly done...I will give you a sneak peek of that soon!

Hugs, K.  <3


Amanda said...

I agree with everything you're saying. The only standard to abide with is our own.

Katy Cameron said...

Damnit, off to hide the glue gun...

Hope the MRI turns out okay!

Soggibottom said...

Hum. First comment makes a change for me as I normally miss things... I have only read half of this post and I already have reached under the stairs of the cottage for my soap box for you to stand on...
My nana taught me.... loved my nana to bits.. Want me to bring my soap box around ?
WILL DO.. get high and speak loud... ..... xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Soggibottom said...

Okay third comment then :-) X X X

Kelly said...

Thank you Amanda!

*Laughs at Katy and her glue gun!*

Soggi, I don't really mean to sound like I am preaching from a soapbox...normally these posts are done from an observational standpoint with my own opinion thrown in. Anyone who has read my blog for a long time knows I have distinct opinions on things. Sometimes my opinion is distinctly that we should not have opinions on other artists methods. I have been in the bear artist community for a long time and I have seen these things come up over and over and the effects they can have.

Wendy & Megan Chamberlain said...

Oh well said, totally agree!

Kays Kids said...

First of all I love your new bear. He has the sweetest face.
Your blog is so well written and I agree there would be no new innovations or creations. Plus how would new artists get onto the scene.

Christmas Hugs

Heather said...

You know, it irks me that people think they have the right to tell others how things should be done? Will they start dictating how bears should look?

New bear artists aren't going to emerge if they're suffocated by rules and regulations before they can even get started.

In the bear world, it's just a fact of life that improvement happens through time. I personally sell all my bears I'm willing to sell with the note that I'm a beginning bear artist and am not going to be as wonderful as the "award winners" because I'm still learning... but my bears are playable, and I try to sell them cheaply.

To think that someone wants to try tell me, "Uhm, you're not part of our special club, so forget selling anymore," really kind of irks me.

jenann said...

After retiring early, I joined a few online groups for enthusiasts for an asssortment of interests - bears, dolls, books, various crafts etc. I have gradually dropped out of almost all the groups because of the attitude of a substantial minority of members in each.
It quickly became obvious that one or two folk in each group thought themselves more knowledgeable or skilled than the rest. They made petty, childish claims or verbal attacks on others. Some were labouring under the delusion that, because nobody challenged them, they were the most experienced in their particular field, merely because they had been in group members for so long. Actual skill or knowledge did not always, to my mind, have any baring on this self-proclaimed superiority.
When these people began to make demands that we all should subscribe to their way of thinking, it was time for me to duck out. A childhood in church schools that tried to bend my thoughts to coincide with narrow belief systems made me aware of the fact that such people are afraid to explore anything beyond their own limitted experience, and often caused them to be prejudiced or hate-filled towards anyone outside their group.
I believe (and this could be my own prejudice?!) that everyone should be free to make up their own mind about all aspects of life, unless such freedom can cause harm to others.

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Current copyright laws allow for all work to be automatically protected when it is created. All original artwork, photos, text, logo, descriptions, and derivative works from Blondheart are not to be copied, imitated or distributed in any way. All rights reserved solely by the artist, Kelly Dauterman.

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