Globalization-not all I hope for

Coming this October I will be in Houston, as usual, manning my booth at the upcoming International Quilt Festival selling my shibori creations. I will also be teaching a shibori techniques class which I am pleased to report is full. ( If you want to try to get into the class at this point you will have to be put on a waiting list or check the “classes for sale” board on site.)

Additionally, I will be presenting a one hour lecture Thursday morning from 9-10 Am before the show begins speaking to the global issue of connecting traditional crafts and craftspeople to contemporary artisans and their work.
My talk, entitled Silk and Shibori-Touching the past and moving forward requires registration and an $8 fee. If you are a teacher at the show or have other special affiliations I believe the talk is free but you still have to register. I have been doing a lot of thinking about this topic-not just recently but really ever since I started this shibori adventure.

WARNING! Reading beyond this point might bore you to death, cause seizures, bring on depression, or other unforeseen malaise.
(don’t say I didn’t warn you)

Over the past 3 years I have used the internet to learn, inform, and share many aspects of shibori-mainly focusing on Japanese shibori and contemporary artisans as well as my own work. I have happily devoted myself full time to this endeavor and am doing my utmost to make a living at it-combining studio work, marketing and selling, and teaching to make ends meet. I also try to be aware and respectful of the work of others as that is how I too would like to be treated. I find that to be the case at least 95% of the time which adds to my faith in humanity. But sometimes that faith fails me and I feel slightly abused as I did this morning while sifting through my email.

Here is what I saw:

Globalization breathes new life into Shibori craft

Globalization breathes new life into Shibori craft

-most if not all the shibori shown here are photo-shopped copies of my textiles. Their website claims:

“It has been a long and successful journey for fibre2fashion since our inception in early 2000. From 1000 visitors a month we have grown to more than 1.9 million visitors.”

As I have also mentioned before, I am a big fan of Google alerts. Once again I was alerted to an article on shibori-Globalization breathes new life into Shibori Craft-sounds interesting no?. Clicking over to see if there was any new info I might glean from the article (there was not), or to see if it was worth posting a link for my readers here (not in the context I would like it to be), I was no longer surprised to find a commercial entity trying to make a dime off of the use of my copyrighted shibori images. I could go through the usual machinations- contact them, ask for monetary reimbursement for a one time use, request removal, ask for attribution, SOMETHING! I could wait for a response that likely will never come and if it does it will claim they didn’t know they weren’t permitted to use it, didn’t know how to get hold of me, think I should be happy for the exposure-and on and on.
If you get the PDF version of the article, you will see this-also my image:

I might feel differently if there wasn’t a profit motive on the part of the grafter (graft-unscrupulous use of one’s position to derive profit or advantages; extortion.) but the “article” covers no new ground and simply looks to take advantage of the rising interest in shibori to sell membership and advertising on their website. The company, based in India, can’t really claim ignorance as a look at the BOD’s claims a long impressive list of law, marketing, management, and IT degrees (to name a few). One of the board members even specializes in “workshops based on modern research in management, semantics, psychology, behavioral sciences, Western thought and Eastern wisdom. They motivate the participants to realize their full potential, and facilitate successful business agreement, increased productivity and teamwork.” I am sure that my images are not the only ones being “borrowed” nor will they be the last. But I have contacted them and suggested a price for use of my images. Only seems fair. I’ll even gift them some of my silk shibori pocket squares to wear to their next board meeting should they decide on some monetary compensation.

I also might feel differently if I wasn’t working so hard to make things fall into place and create the $ to make the final booth payment, buy my airline ticket, pay my phone bill, order supplies, blah, blah, blah.
So I guess this is another bitch session- sorry about that – just feel the need to get it out and expose this sort of thing once again as it keeps cropping up and getting under my skin. I know I shouldn’t let it. Perhaps they will surprise me and restore my faith in the last 5%-I’ll keep you posted.

On the brighter side-
As a maker I am thankful for so many things including:
-Stampington for seeing the value in the artists they feature in their magazines by actually compensating us for articles and features we write.
-other bloggers (too many to name-you know who you are) for the networking they provide
-Quilts Inc. for careful and knowledgeable management of their shows throughout the years and their appreciation of both vendors, customers, artists and teachers equally.
-for customers who pay on time and allow me to continue my work
-to my etsy customers around the world! including all the men who order pocket squares from me- so nice to include you as members of my shibori world (shipping an order to Dubai today!)
-to the universe for allowing me to be me and do what i do

Thank you!

10 thoughts on “Globalization-not all I hope for

  1. kfbphoto

    Thank you for introducing shibori to me, I had not come across it before. I will pass the word.
    Copyright thieves like bans and accountants are destroying creativity in favor of their short sighted greed.
    I always chase these people and pass on any information to anyone I think has had their work stolen. Keep up the fight
    Thank you again.


  2. jude

    dammit. not again. i am getting more and more aggravated with all this. i suppose you just have to expect your images to be coveted since they are so magnificent… i really can’t see why permission cannot be requested, or compensation of some sort be offered…i mean what is the freakin’ problem?


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      i wish i knew. i suppose it has something to do with the fact that these days we expect bad behavior like this and are more surprised when the opposite occurs.
      we as individual artists are easy targets for this sort of thing-the worst part of it being that it makes me feel very seriously non-creative.

      i’d be lying if i said otherwise. keeping up the fight? i doubt i have the energy for that.

      if any local arts advocacy groups wanted to do something actually helpful, they could provide a service to help artists fend off these sorts of attacks.


  3. Miriam

    Glennis, please consider more ways to make money from your photographs. As I quickly went back to a couple of your Flickr images (after reading this post) I realized I’d love a couple of framed posters to hang in my sewing studio – posters made from your photos. Before this moment, I’ve never considered giving up wall space but your images are inspiring. (I admit, I’d have trouble making a choice.)
    I’m a fan of your shibori work and have bought a few yards of ribbon from you, so please continue your shibori work. I’m just suggesting that you do more to use your images as a revenue source.
    I’m sympathetic to your frustrations and think it is right to document what has occurred with your images but hate to see this eat away at your energy or impede new work.
    Best wishes for future success,


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      thanks for your concern. i do offer select photos as photo greeting cards as well as an annual photo calendar of my year in shibori. I’d be happy to have the image of your choice made up in a wall piece- flickr offers this and prices are posted. contact me if you would like to order one.

      there isn’t a chance i will stop doing my work. but the continued stealing of images makes me question how much effort i will put into publishing my work online in the future. in the past i enjoyed sharing my photos on flickr and on my blog but i realize that when it ends up costing me my creative drive that something has to change.


  4. neki rivera

    oh no not again:(
    i hate it when people are so greedy and anxious to make $$ . it’s indecent.
    as jude said asking permission only takes seconds and it comes with the gift of integrity.
    sorry that you’re going through this.


  5. kfbphoto

    If you are having problems with people ripping off your images for their own use, try using a watermark embedded in the image. If this is done carefully it does not detract from the picture and will in most cases stop people using it for their own purposes. forgive me if you already know. If you don’t know how I can guide you through.



  6. shibori girl

    Hey Glennis,

    I finally got caught up with your situation after our conversation yesterday, and now understand your issue. Not only did they steal your remarkable image, but then defaced it before republishing it!

    I hope you find some way to keep adding your inspirational images online, as I find myself getting lost in them. Possibilities flood through my mind…

    Good luck with this, and with maintaining some mental peace at the same time,



  7. shiborigirl Post author

    thank again for all the positive thoughts and suggestions. gonna cut and ship your ribbons today kate. shiborigirl to shiborigirl! haha

    and kevin- i do know about the watermarking thing and went through a phase where i did that for a while but was annoyed at the extra steps. perhaps i will contact you off-blog for some suggestions on how to super streamline the process. that would probably be very helpful. as a photographer, you probably have a lot of answers for me! I did go ahead and set up a Qoop shop for image selling-wondering what you think of that…..


  8. Sandra

    First time visitor to your lovely site and enjoying myself. Re. the photo theft, a couple of suggestions. I use Picasa and it has a feature where I can put a watermark in my photos so each photo has on the bottom. Probably all photo programs have similar features but I’ve found it to be useful.
    There is a $10K US fine for stealing photos; not sure how you’d go about collecting but a lawyer is, probably, involved. Copyrighted photos are considered personal property and subject to litigation if it can be proven they were stolen.
    It’s sorrowful when folks steal and I figure they deserve all that moldy bread and wicked karma they are bringing back to their doorstep.



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