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Big Blue Saw Blog

Steal ideas, don't borrow them

In an essay by the potter Dick Lehman, he makes the point that if you are inspired by someone else's work, you should steal their ideas, not merely borrow them. You see, when you steal something, you make it your own, whereas when you borrow something, it still belongs to the original owner. Borrowing is mere plagiarism. But stealing, standing upon the shoulders of giants, is critical to the creative process.

From the original essay:

If, as some have suggested, there are no new ideas in the ceramics world - only discoveries of new ways to develop or assemble the old ideas - then may we all discover much and be indebted more. Of all our artistic vices, "stealing" is among the least. A more telling character flaw is the laziness associated with "borrowing." May we all pledge to borrow less and steal more.

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