Glass Disks - Inspiration & the Question of Copying

I have been a long time fan of famous glass mastermind Chihuly. I saw his work for the first time in a garden exhibit on an overseas trip to London with my mom. We were in complete awe over just how majestic and fanciful it all was.

What really captured my heart was the masterpiece on display at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. I could have camped out on the floor and stared at the ceiling all day long if they would have let me.

I cannot deny the influence it has had on my own glass work - though on a much smaller scale. No room for crucibles and glassblowing equipment in my tiny urban home studio.

My latest obsession is making glass disk beads. So much fun color and movement packed into such a tiny little package. They remind me of the colorful blown glass disks I love so much. 

lampwork glass disk beads

Who inspires you? Are you afraid of accidentally copying someone else's work? 

This question plagues new artists of all kinds ... but the simple truth is that unless you are intentionally trying to reproduce another artist's work and sell it as your own, it is okay to admire and draw inspiration from others. 

If you take a class or purchase a tutorial and use that skill and information to incorporate it into your own style that is the goal. We cannot keep any art form alive unless we train up the next generation. If you use that skill and information to try to replicate another's work with little to no variation, that is considered copying ... and an unethical thing to do.

Even better, if someone inspires you and you admire their work and some aspects of it come out in your finished product ... then always give credit where credit is due. Nothing is more flattering than having someone say their art was inspired by your own. Be creative. Be inspired. Give credit.

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