I would like to share something that has happened this week
Many years ago I won a prize at FOQ with a large bunch of flowers. They took hours to make, but more importantly ages to design. It took hours to get the sizes of the patterns correct and I made many flowers perfecting the technique
In 2012 I went to India and met Fiona at the Stitching project.
We worked together for the next 6 months developing my patterns, sourcing fabrics, testing the patterns, employing graphic designers, and working out how I was going to sell them.
We worked hard to make sure that we put back something to the local community in India by getting the bags made by a cooperative etc and employing local people
I started selling the kits and they sold well. I taught how to make the flowers etc
So you could pay £12 for a kit or pay the same and attend a short workshop
Not a lot really
So does this give you the right to take my idea and my patterns and then start teaching how to make my flowers?
You could photocopy my patterns, and use them or you could trace them and put your name underneath and then it looks like you designed them (that would have taken only a few hours and little expense)
An ex student this week alerted me to the fact that there was an image on a website that sold fabric that you could get a free download pattern to make what looked exactly like my flowers
They were my flowers and they were accredited to a lady who had apparently attended one of my courses.
I was then sent another email from another quilter who alerted me to the fact the that the same lady has been teaching how to make my flowers and has made up kits for students to make it easy for them
I know this happens…but what has upset me so much is that the patterns are so badly drawn, the flowers look awful and the instructions even worse.
My instructions were really clear and designed by a graphic designer.
I think it would have been better if she had sent me an email and asked if it was ok to teach how to make them. The group could have bought a few kits.
I would probably not been too happy but I would have said yes.
I have had many quilters who at the end of a class ask me if it is ok to teach my techniques to the rest of the group back at home…..well at least they are honest. I usually say I’d rather you didn’t but I can’t stop you.
The saga goes on…re the fabric supplier
They were taken off their website, and an addition put that I was the designer then I was sent a link by another lady.
I looked at the instructions and then contacted the fabric supplier to say please take them off the website as I didn’t want to be associated with such badly written and presented instructions
The owner was most apologetic again.
I have sent my original instructions to go on their website, I guess I have had to accept this as I have almost sold out of all of my Flower Kits and I would prefer to be associated with quality instructions and ones that I wrote.
I have been offered a voucher to purchase some fabric. Its for quite a lot of money, and have been asked to design some more projects.
So in the end I am reasonably happy but it has started a lot of discussion
So am I protected by copyright?
Not really as I would have had to take someone to court.
With so many patterns on the internet, so much access to projects, utube, etc etc how can we the teach and make a living using techniques that we spend hours perfecting?
In future….Can I suggest if you want to copy one of my projects, or make a quilt exactly like one I have made …..just ask. If you do copy, remember that the internet is good for sharing what people do and the many members of quilts group also share what they see and do. I will hear about it eventually.
I am sure that when I taught in South Africa the students on the class were asked to sign a declaration that they would not copy, teach or reproduce the teachers techniques, but I can’t remember. Anyone else know about this?
I think it is time we started to write articles to inform, educate those who are unable to come up with any original ideas, that it is not good practise to copy or rather rewrite projects and teach them.
The way forward is for me, is to keep coming up with lots of new projects and let go.
Fortunately I have more ideas than time to make them.
Yesterday we went to see the Tour de Yorkshire come through Halifax. Here are the riders coming up Shibden wall – so steep and cobbly
Here are a couple of new Journal Quilts
This one is based on a photo I took in Italy
This one is all hand stitched and is based on Guatemalan clothing. It was a pleasure to make. All stitched whilst on trains listening to books on Audible