Friday, October 10, 2008

Design "firsts"

For years I've been making a polymer clay "bashful" santa ornament. I think the first time I made him was in 1985 or 86.

I was doing a craft show and a friend told me about a tee shirt she saw with a naked santa holding his hat over his "package". She had seen this shirt at another show and kind of scribbled the design down for me to look at.

I loved this idea and at the next craft show I had several bashful santa ornaments ready to sell.

This was not my original idea, but I had never seen anyone do them in clay. For awhile, I was the only one that I knew of who was making them in the Detroit area. Then slowly, I began to see them in other clay artist's booths. Did they copy from me? Did the tee shirt guy copy from them, and I from him? I don't know.

By the 1990s I started to see them at Claires, the jewelry store. They were little earrings made in China. I wondered where they got the idea from.

When I joined ebay in 2001, I started to sell the naked santa in my auctions. It was a good seller and naked santa had a good run.

One day I was in a forum and noticed someone was upset about her naked santa design being copied on ebay. I began to read the thread and found out that I was the offender! The irritated ebayer ranted on and on about me. I posted a reply, explaining that I had been making the naked santa for years and that I didn't even come up with the idea. She finally calmed down and even to this day, we periodically send each other emails. She lives only a few miles from me, maybe she saw my naked santa at a show and was inspired. I'll never know.

Over the years I've seen lots of different versions of this naughty santa.

I've often wondered though, who came up with this idea first?

Benjamin Franklin said, "
Originality is the art of concealing your sources” Isn't that the truth!

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