June 17, 2017

Not so Original

Last night something happened that every designer dreads- I was accused of stealing someone else’s design. And it came in an overwhelming flood of negative facebook and blog comments and 1-star reviews. As I read them, my heart sank and I sat there crying for hours in the middle of the night. I am a very honest person and would never steal, which is why all these comments accusing me of stealing hurt so much. I have never copied anyone. All my designs come from my own imagination. I search google to make sure there aren't any similar patterns before turning my design into a pattern booklet to avoid situations such as this. I did not see a Kitty Potholder like mine anywhere. I was surprised to find out that it is very similar to "Who will Catch the Mouse” quilt pattern in the book ‘Bobbin Country Stitches’ by Dutch designer Els Feteris. http://www.quiltmania-inc.us/books/57-bobbin-country-stitches.html




I have been on the other side of this situation before and I understand how the other designer feels. I have always thought it proper etiquette to email the person directly rather than leaving comments on social media. Now my blog and facebook are covered with comments telling everyone that I steal patterns and sell them as my own, and warning people not to buy anything from me. I work very hard on my patterns. I opened my pattern shop in 2007 and I take pride in what I create. I have come to realize over my 20 years as a pattern designer and quilter, that we live in a big world and more than one person is bound to come up with the same idea. I admit that my Kitty Potholder is very similar to Els’ quilt but I did not copy or steal her design. I had never seen her pattern until last night. I’m sorry that not everyone will believe me but I guess we can’t please everyone. Thank you Maru Nishida for your kind words last night when I really needed them.


Enjoy your afternoon tea & quilted crafts :o)


33 comments :

  1. I'm so sorry this happened to you! It's a sad state of our society that people take to blasting on social media rather than taking time to search out the facts and handle problems in appropriate ways. I agree that two designers can come up with similar designs without having seen each other's work.

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  2. I always say that people who are creative must think a like and there is bound to be similar ideas out there. First of all the log cabin is in the public domain and anyone can use it. I have seen all kinds of applique on log cabin quilts. If you had done a dog or a mouse or sheep instead of a cat, would you have still be accused of stealing? I see similar quilt designs, bag designs clothing designs all the time. Sometimes we might see something and it goes into our subconscious for years and then we have a moment and create something and don't remember where the idea came from. Even if someone takes an idea from someone, as long as they make it different enough with their own changes, it that consider stealing or not?
    There has been many debates online about copyright stuff and I learned that you cannot copyright a pattern whether it comes from a pattern, book magazine, etc. This law dates back to the 1800's! It was determined that a pattern is an idea and you cannot copyright that. The only thing you can copyright is the illustrations and the written text. But if someone does take an idea, creates their own illustrations and their own writing then is it legal. Is it ethical? Well that is another subject, lol!!!

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    1. This is so true. I learned that as well when I was in the other boat and I thought someone had copied me. If they copy & sell your exact written words and photography or illustrations, only then it is considered copyright infringement.

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  3. Ag, this whole "I, me, mine" issue with patterns is like the perfect 1/4" seam ... way overrated!! There is not one original idea on this planet..even if people don't want to acknowledge it, it is still true! The memory of this sad day will not go away quickly, but do not let it hold you back...Chin up! You were given a wonderful talent...use it, and let the rest of us enjoy copying you! Sterkte!♥

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  4. I have followed you for a long time and really admire your creativity and enjoy watching your creative process. It is unavoidable that people will independently come up with similar ideas. I am sorry to hear that others reacted this way. Your work is lovely and it brings joy to those of us who make things from your patterns.

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  5. I have followed you for a long time as well and enjoy your creations. I'm sorry you were hurt and it is bound to happen to all bloggers at some point. I agree with Muis 2 that there is nothing new under the sun. All creative people could come up with the same idea at different times. Those who know you and follow you aren't going to believe the naysayers. Keep creating and know that they will move on to attack someone else...sad isn't it? I just ordered from you today. Hope it brings a smile to you ;)

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  6. I love your blog and work, I love other blogs and other artists ... in some way, you all share some things because, if not, I would not have been drawn to everyone of you ! So it seems logical enough that, around the world, similar works appear ... the honesty and humbleness of your post make me feel sorry for you, and I hope you will find comfort in the people that respect and appreciate you !

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  7. Take this as a great hurdle, obstacle and challange in creative world. Keep doing what you enjoy and love. I have been your follower since the beginning. I know your work has some Japanese influence , whimsy and fun because I love Japanese needlework too. Just be yourself and keep creating. Ignore the negativity. Whatever has happened just let it be. Don't be sad for too long. Loyal fans of yours will support you all the way. Take care and happy designing!

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    1. Thank you! I will be sewing today! Hugs!

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  8. I love your designs. And the finished products you make. But this is not ethical like daryl said in her comment. Would you still want to sell something that looks really the same as someone else came up with years ago? You said you don't steal and i believe you. But now you know. How would you call it now when you still sell it. Well keep up the good work and move on like many said. I wish booth of you the best.

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    1. http://www.logodesignlove.com/similar-original-logos

      Dear Anonymous,
      How easy it is for you to have done the equivalent of dropping an atom bomb into this designer's world, ONLINE, not having had the discernment nor decency to contact her privately and NOW you say you wish her the best and suggest she simply "move on"? I THAT "ethical"?

      One of the most enjoyable parts of the online fabric artist community for me has been that we get to know "real" people and enjoy their personalities and vision. You and your anonymous, harsh condemning comment have brought the ugliness of the general internet into all of our lives. Thank you for that Anonymous, you have truly not made the world a better place.

      I would offer a few suggestions for you: (1) learn to be proud of who you are and show your face and what you stand for to the world. (2) Be more kind and generous. Give people the benefit of the doubt before you drop a bomb of accusation and judgement on them. (3) Realize that there are only so many ways to draw and combine artistic elements. Left to your apparent standard of judgement, all we would have for art is a collection of cave drawings-all the other beautiful creations would be mere "copies" of the original.

      I will finish with your own words : "..now you know...Well, keep up the good work and move on."

      May you think before you post and gain a more generous and compassionate heart is my hope for you.

      not anonymously,

      Jan Kuester

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  9. Please take a deep breath and relax. I cannot even estimate the number of patterns and finished products I see on the web and in books. That someone's pattern would be similar to another person's pattern, is inevitable. That doesn't mean it is intentional. It means you both thought along the same lines. It's the same thing as recipes. If I make a good chocolate chip cookie, and put the recipe on the web, do you really think no one else has published the very same or almost the same recipe? Does that mean I stole their recipe? No, it means we both figured out a good formula for baking cookies. Do you honestly believe that whoever accused you of stealing her pattern is the ONLY person on the planet who made a quilt block with a cat in the middle? I seriously doubt it, especially with all the cat-loving quilters out there. Things like recipes and quilt blocks are in great abundance, and there are bound to be duplicates or similarities in lots of products. Keep doing what you do. It's a cute pattern, and I'm sure there are hundreds of variations of it across the planet in the hands of quilters. I know LOTS of quilters, and I have yet to meet one who steals anything. Quite to the contrary, they are among the most caring and sharing people I know. So smile, put a Band-Aid on your boo-boo, and get back to sewing!

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    1. Thanks Joansy! I will definitely be sewing today :)

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  10. I'm sorry you've had to endure these ugly accusations! I LOVE your designs and the way you make them. They are VERY unique and I've been a quilter for 35 years (and had never seen a pattern like yours)... each person who quilts and designs seems to stand out in their own unique way. And I agree... all artistic minds probably think very similarly. I watch YouTube alot and so many gals will say "this is not my design, I saw it done years ago and have always liked it, so I'll give you my interpretation of it"... and that's fine. Like so many other commenters here have said, how can crafty and artistic people NOT somehow copy others in some way, because we love their work so much! And I would tell you.. to respond to any of the meanness, just put a quick comment and direct them to your blog post here. Leave it at that. That is all you can do. Like another gal said, the log cabin design is so universal, and I'm sure there have been thousands using a kitty or a cat or an animal face in the middle! I think it's so hard these days to come up with anything unique anymore! Keep designing and doing what you do. I love your work and getting to know you and the copyright thing is very complicated for sure. You do your research. That's all you can do! Take care and keep on designing! Hugs.. Marilyn in Oregon

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    1. Thanks Marylin. I'm actually feeling quite positive about everything today. The flood of love and support is overwhelming. I'm off to the studio to sew! :) Hugs, L xoxo

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  11. Lourraine, siento lo que esta pasando,
    ¿porque nos precipitamos en juzgar en vez de consultar?
    Me gustan tus diseños y tu blog y también el de Els seguiré fiel a las dos
    buen domingo

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  12. I love all of your designs (I'm still waiting for you to make a pattern of the woodland creatures). Some people feel they are no one unless they make everything public. Shame on them for not taking it to you privately first. I'm a fan & that is not going to change.
    Jane

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    1. Thanks Jane! The forest quilt is still on the list my friend. I work slowly and there are many things before it ;) Hugs, L

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  13. I have followed you for years... as I said I have been following her fm 2012 and i have purchased some of her patterns and her projects have brought me so much joy and happiness when i gave away the final product as gifts. Thank you for being so genuine and allowing me to have fun, a warm color on my fabrics and so much adventure on my sewing machine. Thank you for your bravery and believe you are stronger and smarter !!! Don't let this ruin your sewing and creative mind. Happy Quilting !!! Your patterns are multiples as beautiful as you imagined. Hang Tight in love ,,LOve Maru Nishida

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  14. Thank you for being forthcoming with this unfortunate event. And that is all it was to me and many others. We accept you apology and please continue to grow your creative being and share it with us for many years to come!

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  15. I eagerly await your every pattern and with the amount of work you put into them it is obvious they are your own. Anyone who reads this blog would know that as well because your lovely personality shines through. Please keep creating and please keep sharing as all your "fans" love your work.

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  16. So much of any designers work involves creative interpretation, things they see around them, things that make them laugh and smile. Dogs, cats, frogs in log cabins or stars or whatever. You design beautifully. Keep designing and sewing for all the people who love your work and in the end the mean people will fall away. I see on Pinterest and other places on line many similar things with individual twists and tweeks. Your kitty is very sweet and happy being a pot holder!!

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  17. I am SO sorry for the way people have blown this whole thing out of proportion. I do NOT feel that your kitty is anything like the other one. I must say, I like yours MUCH better. Why people have to keep doing this to others is a mystery to me. I feel it is their own lack of talent that forces them to do this kind of vicious attack on others. Please make this incident go away by being strong and continuing on with your talent. A lot of us love your work. And please, just delete ALL the negative feedback and concentrate on all the positive. God Bless!!!!

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  18. It is a shame that this is all happening. I imagine the great distress this must have been for you and for the other party as well.

    I believe that our brain stores stuff that we see in a drawer somewhere which we are not aware of. Then, one day, you decide to do something and that information inspires you. That may have happened. Who knows?

    Anyways, the important thing is that you are an amazing and creative person. I believe that you meant no harm, specially because you know how it feels to have stuff copied from you.

    I have followed you for a very long time and enjoy very much all your art. Please, keep doing the loverly projects you do!

    Best wishes,

    Patrícia Bocaiuva

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  19. This situation is truly regrettable. Two very talented artists gave their own delightful versions of a rather straightforward idea.

    Instead of accusing an artist of stealing, why not point to the other artist's version, and share it, and if an artist "stole" the idea, then they would have an opportunity to say they used the original as inspiration, or apologize, or express delight that there is a like-minded artist out there.

    If all artists were judged as plagiarists, based on one item in the body of their work, there would be an extreme dearth of creative folks.

    Your designs are utterly delightful. (You are the only quilter I follow.) You inspire all my creations by virtue of your great design, and when I begin quilting again, your patterns are the ones I will use, not only because of your designing abilities, but because of your generosity in sharing.

    Thank you for choosing to share your fabulous designs, even though some others may judge without knowing the whole story.

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  20. Wow...How generous it would have been for the person to just suggest it..to you personally....what is wrong with kindness...ANd, I must say, that a kitty in the corner of a block is really not that original. i could have done that myself...Can we make this a better world instead of what we see daily in the news...A nice note saying...did you realize, etc...would have been kind...sorry..about it all for you.

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  21. Как говорят у нас в России, "идеи витают в воздухе", это значит, что очень часто похожие мысли появляются в головах у разных людей в разных частях света. Спасибо вам за ваше творчество! Вас очень любят в России ))) И часто повторяют ваши работы. Надеюсь, вы не обижаетесь на это?

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  22. Your cat block is adorable. Her cat block is cute. I've seen lots of cat designs in quilt blocks and to start a "cat fight" over who is most original of a common theme is ridiculous. I enjoy your work and will continue to do so without a hint of doubt that you do your own work. Celebrate the joy!

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  23. dear laurraine....
    many have already posted some of the same comments i would have...i want you to know that i too LOVE your designs. i will continue support your work and creativity and your blog. your intentions were pure with your design. take a deep breath and move forward and know there are so many of us that appreciate your wonderful from the heart designs. janet

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  24. I have sent a message to Els apologizing for the similarity in our designs. I realize that her friends and followers were only trying to protect her, the same as mine were trying to protect me. I thanked her for deleting her facebook posts and I have done the same. From now on, I will make sure my designs are not similar to any of her cute primitive patterns now that I know her work. I hope that she and I can become friends rather than enemies. I am closing the comments on this post. Thank you all for your kindness & encouragement. xoxo

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