Upset Artist

I feel it’s necessary to continually inform people that I “DO NOT” make the figures I use in my work. Whether I’m at a Show, on line, or in person, I make sure I state this to my customers.
Recently, I bought a figure I liked very much, on the internet, and used it to create a really wonderful piece. I thought the artist that made the figure would love to see what I’d done with their figure, so I looked them up, found an address and sent the artist some pics and all the info. on the piece, as I’ve done many times in the past with others.
I received quite a response. Very unexpected. The artist had a fit! Accused me of plagiarism, putting my name on their work, and making money off of their long, hard efforts. They said to “destroy” the piece, and NEVER use one of their figures again!
This was quite the opposite reaction I’d hoped for. I would never try to take credit for another persons work, and it’s why I specifically state the figure artists name with the description of each of my pieces. If the figure itself has no name on it, I state “artist unknown” in the piece description.
I do sign each of my pieces, but in no way do I claim credit for the figures. I buy the figures and use them as needed. Sometimes I will modify them by removing or adding things to them as needed, but I’m very careful to state this. I always leave exposed, when possible, the artists name if it appears on the figure. Sometimes, if it’s underneath, it gets covered up. I’ve also thought, that by giving credit to the figure artist, I might drive some traffic their way.
I also explained to them that the figure, although being a very important part, is just one part of my piece. The mineral and crystal specimens are quite expensive. The fitting together of all the pieces, the extensive metal work, some then have lighting installed, and many have beautiful handmade and finished hardwood bases, all must come together to create one piece. I can’t “mass produce” these things. Each one truly is a one-of-a-kind.
I think it compares to an artist buying paint for his painting. He doesn’t “make” the paint, or his canvas, or his brushes, but he buys and uses these things to create his painting.
Many artists work very hard designing and creating these figures. And in some cases, where the pieces are reproduced, they create jobs for many highly skilled people. It’s hard enough for an artist to make it in a very competitive world without having their work stolen, or copied.
So I wrote back to the artist, apologized, and agreed not to sell the piece, and to never use their figures again. They then responded with an “Apology Accepted”.
So , once again, to all concerned, “I DO NOT” make the figures I use in my work! Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tom S.