Ancient Chinese Secret...

Here's a story: about 4 years ago, I had just started leaf casting, and was deciding to actually make a small business out of it, when I went to a local arts and crafts festival. One craftsperson really impressed me- she made ornamental - gosh, I don't know what to call them- towers created by gluing old crystal bowls, platters, candy dishes, etc. into sculptures as tall as I am! The glue/adhesive she used was extremely strong plus was crystal clear- I could not tell they were glued at all! I asked the artisan what kind of glue that was. She answered," Oh, we had to research for a long time and had to try many different ones until we found this one. This will not yellow and is very permanent."
Hmmm, notice something? She never DID actually tell me what it was! Then it hit me (slowly, being new as I was to the art business) that of course, she would be stupid to tell me what she used - if I liked her product so much I may purchase one, but if she tells me what she glued them with, I would just leave and make my own! As I was in the process of doing the same thing, researching and testing different products (and already my work was
looking more refined than the usual leaf castings I had seen), I decided that was
going to be my policy - I was not training others to be my competitors! Of course, any one could do what I did and discover the same recipes and supplies I use, it's just that they have to put in the same effort I did! No one helped or trained me at all.
Certainly, that's not all there is to it - an old saying is you should welcome competition in your field - if you are really good at what you do, others will not be able to match the quality.

My casting...

...NOT mine! :o)

I do feel that way, but i also realize that while most of my customers understand and recognize the quality of my work, some do not! I have heard people tell me a dozen times, "Oh you must be the one whose work is in (store name), they look exactly the same!" When I check out the leaves they're referring to, I'm always shocked! They are either unpainted, rough cement, or colored with a quick wash of paint or stain! While they are kind of cool in their own way, they are NOT even CLOSE to what I do. so if someone can't tell the difference, they may buy someone else's leaf castings in place of mine.I guess that's the point of this post - I have been contacted by many people lately about my giving them tips on how to do their own leaf castings, and, although I feel bad, it ain't gonna happen! But this post is, I hope, a good explanation of WHY...

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