Is It Acceptable To Copy?

Soapmakers are endlessly showing photos of their work on social media.

When someone develops a new swirl or technique that knocks our socks off, other soapmakers immediately attempt to copy it. Is this a lack of imagination on the part of those who copy or is it  an acceptable practice? Are we unable to think of something original or does our copying serve a purpose?

In all honesty, as much as we value originality, studying the methods of those considered masters of their craft and duplicating them is a time-honored method for mastering art of all kinds. The process trains us to be observant, to plan our work and to become disciplined, all great qualities and prerequisites to creating. It is from this and practice that we not only master various techniques, but are inspired to create our own.

This concept is easily applied to soapmaking and further, to any cosmetic—bath fizzies, lotion, body butter, and so on, or candle. Beginning with the basics, learning from the best and progressing to the point where you develop your own original touches is only natural.

Don’t forget, of course, to thank those who have taught you. Acknowledge their influence on your work, whether you have spoken to or worked with them directly or have read their writing, studied their photos or seen their videos.

I have said all this because we want you to copy. You could be embedding, carving, hot processing or molding, surprising yourself at how good you are. Our Design Mania issue debuts on May 1st, and you can not only learn new techniques, but you can enter your work in a contest and perhaps be the winner of fabulous prizes!

Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
Beth Byrne, for Making Soap, Cosmetics & Candles