Inspiration … The best flattery … A Glasgow Rose for #MACKINTOSH150

Designing is the arrangement or pattern of elements or features of an artistic or decorative work or other… says Collins dictionary ! Forgetting about the creative process of the artistic brain to initiate unique arrangement …

It is a wonderful process where the brain analyses elements, processes them and creates a unique concept/design… I wondered for a very long time exactly where the process starts and finishes. When did I start being inspired ? but more importantly when did some of my creations start inspiring other “creators” … the old story of the chicken and the egg.

The real question of today’s designers challenge in creativity is “Should you feel threatened or flattered” if your design “inspires” others…

To what extend should they ask permission if they modify the design… it is true that the copyright laws are very specific on what constitute intellectual property and what breaches it… But all this is beside the point… the point is they like it enough to “inspire” themselves from it and you feel threatened by the process…

My first creation when established in Scotland almost 30 years ago was a Mackintosh rose. Stylised, simple, 11 petals, 9 squares in the centre, 20 cuts in total, don’t I just remember the process? my first ever stencil, hand cut on top of a newspaper, in a brown stencilling card on the corner of my kitchen table for an order for The National Trust for Scotland, in 1991, the year Homes and Gardens the magazine decided to feature my work !

Could you ever believe how many roses and squares you could supply? Hundreds of those went to the New York MET in the late 1990’s for the Mackintosh retrospective exhibition… How flattered can you get when your “one of three” stencils features in the shop of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Arts… and the Chicago Art Institute.

Could you believe how many people could get “inspired” by it… Ever so slightly different designs started emerging, may be a couple of elements, is that enough? Did I mind?

In the 1990/2000 stencilling companies were eager to offer a complete their stencil design offer and Mackintosh was becoming popular … The Laser Cutting Services .. The Stencil Library all incorporated a “similar” rose … this one with a 4 squares center but still the initial shape … did I feel flattered or used ?

Always the same story… I do like being asked ! So few people ask nowadays, in this era of mobile phone instant photos.. many just point and click !

Big Rose

Mine … and some of the others below …

Pintarest and other social platforms do not help with their openness and free access and I find the photo of my stencil on many pages attributing it to Mackintosh himself… forgetting, ignoring that I had was responsable for the original drawing of that one.

I do like inspiring … I don’t like being taken advantage off and I like being asked and quoted … there is a trend nowadays to just use without thinking a bit as if a google search has become the open source!

In 2018 I seem to have inspired many but few have taken the steps to ask and even fewer acknowledged … am I getting old to feel tired by the lack of respect for one s creative process …

The big Mackintosh rush of #mackintosh150 seems to have put pressure on many to come up with a suitable rose … and why not recycle mine … I am still interested by the fact many are using to create themselves though …

The millinery département of North Kelvin College used the 9 square rose in the creation of a stunning hat part of their Mackintosh Cat walk last week in Kelvingrove…

The Mackintosh club used the 9 square rose for their 150 roses installation celebrating Mackintosh’s birthday …




I guess one has to apply the “when in Rome” … and rejoy at the fact your creativity process carries on via someone else s work for the public enjoys it … and move on !

Oh ! Have I said that I am trying to generate a living out of being creative ? So this changes the goal post … every time you take without asking … it’s a bit like if you plunged your hand in my purse and stoled a tenner … it’s not a nice idea !!!

On that one ! Should you make a living out of my creativity without asking leaving me out of it ???? I will leave you to answer yourself !


Betty x


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