Thursday, 26 September 2013

right of reply

i don't like to be negative about craft. it's something that brings me joy, and my many crafty pursuits are always calming, restorative and fulfilling to me. they're part of what makes me happiest in life.

similarly, i have always found communities of crafters to be positive, encouraging, and uplifting collections of people who inspire and support each other. most handcrafts are things you need to learn by being apprenticed to others, and whether they're online communities or real life sewing circles, i've learned almost everything i know from people who have been kind enough to teach me.

disappointingly, these groups sometimes contain people who are unkind, and work against the spirit of respect and camaraderie that i always take as given when i'm interacting with other crafters.

recently i organised a swap on i've participated in a lot of swaps in the past, and made a heap of friends through exchanging handmade goodies.
the brief for the swap was to make a 4 inch embroidery hoop for your partner, and as an example i used a photo of a 4 inch embroidery i drew, designed, and stitched for my best friend back in 2011.

it looks like this:
it was painstakingly designed, and went through several drafts to ensure it was perfect before being stitched. i was really proud of it, and happy to give it to my friend at the time. it seemed a very good example of the kind of thing i was hoping we could all achieve in this swap.

in the original swap thread, a user claimed that the image i had used was actually her own. i assumed it was an honest mistake (though i have never mistaken someone else's work for my own in the past, and it seemed a little odd to me at the time):

she didn't reply. i figured she'd realised her mistake and there was no more to say about it.

some weeks later, in a related thread (the gallery of completed projects produced in the swap), she tried it again, only this time saying my image (the exact same one) wasn't actually hers but just looked a lot like hers. the clear implication was that i had copied it. her comment is underlined in purple in the image below.

i posted the project on craftster when i completed it in january 2011. you can see it here. the date is clearly printed at the top.

i also posted photos to flickr. they're also dated. see them here, here, and here.

the crafter in question posted photos of her version of my piece to her blog in a post made in january 2013 in which she displayed her crafts from the past year.

and here is her photo of her version:

my work clearly preexists hers, and as you can see, the image is reversed, showing that it was printed, traced, and stitched directly from my original.

now, i honestly don't mind people sharing crafting ideas. it happens all the time.
and it's not like this person has taken my design and tried to profit from it, so the harm done isn't drastic.

what i take exception to is the implication that i have tried to pass someone else's work off as my own and lied about it. as someone who designs and sells patterns i am utterly scrupulous about this, and having my integrity questioned is not something i'm willing to stand for.

i'm not going to have a debate on craftster, because it's not in the spirit of the community, but i'm really hurt and frustrated by this, so i've had my say here, in my own online space, so i can feel that i've at least got it off my chest.

(thank you to siobhan and renae for helping me dig up my old links. i love you both x)