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Monday, July 23, 2007
Better Weather & Copyright Controversy
Well, yesterday dawned well overcast and cool but the sun was out by noon and so were the denizens of Chester. The streets were busy with car, motorcycle and foot traffic and the evening repast on the lower deck at the Rope Loft was pleasant with plenty of company. Joey asked me to leave after I paid the bill as there were two young ladies in the vicinity he wanted to talk to without his mother hanging around so I complied, walking home alone. I ran into him as he was on his way home and I was walking the dog. So, did he talk to the girls?? Of course not. Sigh.

Today the skys were only partly sunny at dawn but it was warmer than it has been. It's supposed to be like yesterday but, so far it's gotten more overcast rather than less. Oh well. Once I get Joey up at 10am we can head into Halifax for some shopping and to visit my folks and see their completed condo at Summer Gardens for the first time.

Now, for the copyright discussion. I am not a very confrontational person but I have to weigh in on this. Two other bloggers in the SAQA ring have posted their opinions. Susan Brubaker Knapp of "Blue Moon River" (http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/2007/07/pondering-copyright-issues.html) pretty well covers my feelings on the subject: if you want to use an image of one of my pieces for a NON-profit use, feel free but I would appreciate credit. Do NOT try to claim one of my images as your own (like anyone would want to but, hey, someday someone might) and don't sell one of my images because I would strongly object to that.

Alison Schwab of "Greetings from Montevideo" takes a much different and narrower view. She blasts a quilter for posting a picture of a nontraditional quilt top made in response to a "Gee's Bend Challenge" Now, I am not going to go into the issue of copyright with respect to the large controversy over the use/abuse of the Gee's Bend quilts and quilters. What I do take issue with is Alison's attack on the challenge. What I am addressing is this statement by Alison (and no, I did NOT ask for permission to quote her- I have provided you with a link and have credited her with it and that should be sufficient. If it isn't, too bad; sue me.) And I quote: "What really bothered me (Alison) that is that the name of this town/group has been used by a quiltgroup (on the other side of the world, no less) for a challenge that could just as easily and much more properly been called something like an" Improvisational Piecing Challenge".

And the problem with using that name is???? The challenge was to make a quilt top INSPIRED BY the Gee's Bend quilts, NOT copy them. Good grief. Have we become SO anal that we can't be inspired by someone or something else?? If we can't be inspired, how are we ever to create ANYTHING?? I guess Alison's work is entirely fresh and new; sprung fully formed from her brow (oh drat, there I go stealing again) and she has never derived inspiration from anyone or anything else. Well, good for her. Wish I could claim the same but I can't and I don't know too many others who can (actually, I don't know ANYone in the modern era who can). And the challenge wouldn't have meant much without the Gee's Bend reference (Alison's suggestion to call it an "Improvisational Piecing Challenge" seems awfully nebulous to me). And I think the title "Gee's Bend Inspirational Challenge" makes it pretty clear that the resuts are NOT Gee's Bend quilts and there is no attempt to mislead anyone.

Oh, but wait, it gets better! She goes on to say: (and, again I quote without permission) "And the other thing that has always bugged me is how some people use the names of other (usually deceased) artists in the titles of their own works. Quilters especially seem to freely do this, with particular favs being Klimt, Klee and Huntderwasser [sic](sorry H - not sure of the spelling of your name - forgive me) If you are claiming to be producing original work not copying anyone else's designs," (you will have to go to her site for the rest of the paragraph).

So, first she tells us we aren't allowed to be influenced by anyone else and now (it appears) that IF we (heaven forbid) ARE influenced by someone else's work we should NOT acknowledge it. Hmmm......And anyone who notes in the name of a piece that it was influenced by a famous artist is "sleezy."

Gee Alison; tell us how you really feel.

Frankly, I find her entire post to be insulting and a very passive-aggressive attack on some quilters whose work I love. But that is beside the point. Alison calls herself "picky." I would use other terms. But, she IS entitled to her opinion and that is what blogging is all about. But, if you're going to attack someone don't be so circumspect, name names! give your readers the opportunity to see for themselves and make their own decisions. So, I give you the example of a piece by Dijanne Cevaal at: http://www.thefiberconnection.com/dijanne.html; please note her piece entitled: "If Hundertwasser Had Lived in the Otways" To be honest, if I could afford it I would have this piece in my collection. And the challenge piece is by Monica Johnstone and can be seen here: http://monicainmichigan.blogspot.com/2007/07/learning-from-other-quilters.html ; and just to nit-pick- Monica is in Michigan, not Oz (yes, she is FROM Oz but...just had to be a prig)....I find Monica's piece interesting but, as she herself points out, not nearly as "free" as the Gee's Bend work. Again, the influence is there and noted- she isn't trying to pass her work off as being a Gee's Bend quilt.

So, NO ONE use ANY of Alison's work as inspiration and, if you accidentally do, make sure to not mention her name. But feel free to be inspired by, influenced by any of MY work. Just say "Teri made me do it."

teri
posted by Teri Springer @ 8:50 AM  
4 Comments:
  • At 9:16 AM, Blogger Monica Johnstone said…

    Hey, Terri, it's me the infamous new Michigander. I agree that inspiration and influence are important to art--they are part of a larger conversation, they are a dance. Attribution is a wonderful thing--through it we claim our hero or our nemisis. I heard Jane Sassaman speak recently (a treat) about her many influences including William Morris. She learns from and extends the lessons of these artists in such new ways that she isn't derivative--and in turn many are vitalized by her work. It's like nature really.

    --Monica

     
  • At 6:19 PM, Blogger solje said…

    Amen. and it never ceases to amaze me those that use images they have personally taken at various galleries (from those that allow picture taking), street fairs, or even studios not their own and post on their websites/blogs (possibly giving credit, some I have seen haven't)... yet the big controversy on QA about taking pictures of quilts and posting is a big no-no, even when attribution is given.

    I think in order to be able to claim complete originality, one has to live in a closed box. I will admit that I didn't know of the names that were given that many create art as inspiration from, but inspiration is far from a terrible thing.

    Reminds me of something I saw on the news the other day about two guys who work out of an old church and develop ideas and new creations (Swiffer is one of their developments). Apparently they are closest to Thomas Edison in the amount of patents they hold. Their quote is that there isn't anything new under sun, they simply work to make what is already there BETTER.

     
  • At 7:40 PM, Blogger Gerrie said…

    You crack me up! I loved this post. Remember Lura Schwarz Smith's quilt - Seams Like Degas of the ballet dancers - it was selected as one of the 100 best quilts of the 20th century. Shame on her for using Degas in the title - : )

     
  • At 10:43 PM, Blogger Karoda said…

    Its been awhile since I visited your site but I'm sure glad I popped over and caught this post and here is a high five for it :)

     
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About Me

Name: Teri Springer
Home: Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada
About Me: Studio Art Quilt Associates for the Atlantic Canada Region (New Brunswick, Newfoundland/Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island). Quote:Apples and Wine: Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree. Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they sometimes take the apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy. The apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, they're amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who is brave enough & smart enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree. Now Men... Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it's up to women to stomp the hell out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.
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