In my December 20th post entitled Copy Cats, I included a link to an article on copyright as it applies to quilters written by Kathleen Bissett. You can read the article in its entirety here. With Ms. Bissett's permission, I will be quoting passages from this article in upcoming posts to illustrate some of the issues which hound me as a designer. Continuing on with the issue currently at hand, the Michigan quilt shop owner taught my New York Roundabout design at a well-known quilt retreat. In the widely distributed brochure, "her" beautiful quilt is given a position of prominence. Not only is it dead centre, it's the only workshop project pictured. And why is that? Because that quilt design is not only visually appealing, it is UNIQUE and sure to attract a good crowd of participants to the retreat who are tired of quilting the same old thing. Not only is the quilt pictured, but the owner is given a nice write-up on her quilting accomplishments. In her article, Ms. Bissett writes: "Since there was no reference to me or my pattern, the implication is that the artist is the designer." That's certainly the case here: everyone reading this brochure or attending the retreat believes that this shop owner designed this quilt herself including the retreat organizer; she was shocked when I contacted her to tell her otherwise.
Back home in Michigan, the shop owner continued to present workshops on the quilt. Again, with no reference to my original design, she assumes all credit. Financial gain aside, frankly one of the more rewarding aspects of what I do is the feedback I receive from quilters. Whose ego can't stand a little buoying from words like, "I never thought I could make something like this myself - thank you for your hard work." Sadly, those words all went to someone else...someone who did not deserve to hear them.
Sincerest thanks for all the comments, phone calls and emails of support...one of which contained this quote: "Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes."