Tag Archives: artists

Museum Ethics 101

You know I don’t want to have to go here again. You do. But Here We Are. Once again.

Let’s restate this, o n e  m o r e  t i m e.

If you are teaching a class, use your own work to sell or market the class. Your work. Not someone else’s. Doing so is unethical and fraudulent. If you are a museum, make sure the images you are using to sell these classes are the works of the instructor you have hired.

In this day and age you cannot simply say you “didn’t know”, you “thought it was OK”, or that “it wasn’t my responsibility”.  Your desire to “pretty up” your website does not supersede copyright infringement laws.

I thought a museum was the caretaker of art, artists, and artworks. If not museums, then what is your contribution to the art world? What happened to being a good citizen of the art community?

Here is a good set of rules to go by:

You stole an image, used it fraudulently for commercial purposes, and made money from it. You used it on your website to sell workshops. You posted about it all over the web and your various social media sites.

The United States statutory damages for copyright infringement are set out in 17 U.S.C. 504 of the U.S. Code. The basic level of damages is between $750 and $30,000 per work at the discretion of the court.  Isn’t it easier and more cost effective to use your own work?

What?  You don’t have any credible work to show? No work worthy of museum presentation?   Ethics people!!  Do they teach you nothing these days??  Is this how you wish to be known, as someone who steals the work of others?

A letter has been sent.  Screenshots taken. Requests made. Their response?

We’re “looking into it”.

What should happen?
I’m just wondering…

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!

always a pleasure

probably the greatest thing for me is when i see other artists get excited about using something i made in their own work. that’s really always been a thing with me. from way back when in the early 80’s working with the owners & designers at the 1928 Jewelry Company, to Trifari, Eisenberg, Avon and Tupperware (to name drop a few) i’ve always added value and style to the work of others. part of it is just the practical fact that i found i could make a living doing it and part of it is that i like to ignite the embers of creativity in others.

having just finished up the recent quilt show here in Long Beach, i was thrilled to have made the acquaintance of a few more artists and designers who made a beeline for the ribbon with ideas of their own- inspired only by the color and texture of the silk and their own imaginations- what-iffing along the way. i just packaged up a lovely order for Judith Baker Montano whose silk crazy quilting is world renowned. you know when someone just hones in on the best without hesitation and a twinkle in their eye as Judith did upon discovering the ribbons for the first time. i could see her mind working as she chose her colors- the perfect top 4 best sellers without batting an eye- and there were lots of colors to eye! that’s a real pro for you. can’t wait to see what she does with it. too bad i didn’t have her book, Elegant Stitches which i’ve owned for over a decade with me for an autograph! next time, i’m gonna try to get in on one of her classes. she’ll be teaching at Houston as will i in

4  borealis colorways-old gold autumn,purple passion,ecru,midnight

4 borealis colorways-old gold autumn,purple passion,ecru,midnight

with a cup of coffee in one hand and my finger on the trackpad, i ventured a visit to jude’s what-if blog this morning. always a dangerous thing for me, especially in combination with a little caffeine (thanks jude!) and immediately i was off on a what-iff adventure of my own. as noted on my facebook status (join the fan page!) it got me wondering what i would be making today if i wasn’t filling orders and preparing for this weekend’s workshop. oh well, that’s another day- but it did make me commit myself to AT LEAST ONE FULL DAY each month of non commercial work. i can afford that (if i cut out sleeping! -kidding-kinda). there are so many ideas rolling around in my head-things i want to try and experiment with and make.
i hope i don’t lose track of too many of them.
fortunately, if i do there’s always more in the pipeline!
and here is Milo, silk sitting for me. waiting for me to GET TO WORK ALREADY!
milo silk sitting (it's still in it's plastic)

milo silk sitting (it's still in it's plastic)

speaking of what-iffing….what if we got in a van and toured the world singing songs and playing horns?

news from the traveling minstrels is that they are now leaving Germany headed for the Netherlands, Holland and beyond. a little road weary but still alive and singing for their suppers. NPR had an interesting post on musicians who make a living and then there is this on the dangers of signing with a record label.