Archive for the ‘art quilting’ Category

Insalata, a Food for Thought Quilt

Friday, April 17th, 2015

A short while ago I shared with you a first peek at my new quilt, Insalata:

Insalata, (c) 2014  Sarah Ann Smith.  Premieres April 10, 2015, at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.

Insalata, (c) 2014 Sarah Ann Smith. Premiered April 10, 2015, at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.  Size:  40 x 42.5 inches.  For sale.

When I made the tomato quilts that were the featured project in my workshop DVD for Quilting Arts, From Photo to Threadwork, including fabric collage and machine quilting (see here for the DVD or here for download), I knew I had one more tomato quilt in me.

I grew up in a town called San Anselmo, California, and mom lived there until she moved to Maine in 2008.  She and two friends would go out for lunch once a month, and often went to a restaurant called Insalata.   So she took me there, too, when I visited.  I LOVED the Chicken Fattoush salad, inspired by Lebanese and eastern Mediterranean cuisine!  I also loved the artwork.  The restaurant is in a building that, when I was a kid, was the Crocker National Bank.  If you were alive in the 60s you remember those banks with the really high (like 2-story) ceilings!  What to do to decorate the place?  She painted the ceiling a dark brown, used something warm colored on the walls (don’t remember what) and had some over-sized paintings made including some of persimmons that were each larger than a beachball.  The canvas wasn’t stretched, but hung from gromments/hooks on the wall; these pieces were easily 4-5 feet tall and over 12 feet wide.

Detail of raffia "roots" on the shallots. Insalata by Sarah Ann Smith. (c) 2014

Detail of raffia “roots” on the shallots. Insalata by Sarah Ann Smith. (c) 2014  Click for larger view.

Detail photo 2, Insalata, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.  Click for larger image.

Detail photo 2, Insalata, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014. Click for larger image.

Each of the tomatoes is about the diameter of a beach ball!   So now I think I’ve finished with tomatoes.  For the time being.  Hope you enjoy!  And if you like this one, please be sure to visit the slideshow on the SAQA website of the entire Food for Thought exhibit, here.

The new Food for Thought catalog from Studio Art Quilt Associates.  Available to order here.

The new Food for Thought catalog from Studio Art Quilt Associates. Available to order here.

My pages in the catalog.  Great layout and design on the pages--love the enormous detail photo on the left.  The booklet is about 8.5 inches square.

My pages in the catalog. Great layout and design on the pages–love the enormous detail photo on the left. The booklet is about 8.5 inches square.

SAQA Food for Thought Exhibit online!

Monday, April 6th, 2015

To coincide with the debut of the Food for Thought Exhibit ( blogpost coming soon), Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) has published an online slideshow of the exhibit!   The exhibit opens a multi-year run at the National Quilt Museum in  Paducah, Kentucky, and runs from April 10 to July 8.

Insalata, (c) 2014  Sarah Ann Smith.  Premieres next week at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.

Insalata, (c) 2014 Sarah Ann Smith. Premieres next week at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.

If you love the slideshow, you can also buy the catalog, which is beautifully done.  I’ll blog about that later this month!

Quilting the Garden: Thread Coloring the Flower

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

In my last post, I told you about my new series of workshops.  Click here  (or scroll down) to read the previous post.  The first workshop, From Photo to Flower Collage, can be a one or two-day workshop.  This time, it will be two-days (click here for more information, there are just a couple spots left).  The second workshop, ThreadColoring the Flower (click here) is booked this time as a one-day class.

The Pink Water Lily from my ThreadColoring the Flower workshop.

The Pink Water Lily from my ThreadColoring the Flower workshop.  www.SarahAnnSmith.com (c) 2015

The water lily photo for the workshop. Photo (c) SarahAnnSmith

The water lily photo for the workshop. Photo (c) SarahAnnSmith

The Close up of the wild Day Lily, also used in the workshop. (c) Sarah Ann Smith.  PS:  Sorry about all the watermarking and copyright notices--after the incident where someone created derivative copies of my work, I'm being even more  diligent about marking stuff.  So sad to have to do this!

The Close up of the wild Day Lily, also used in the workshop. (c) Sarah Ann Smith. PS: Sorry about all the watermarking and copyright notices–after the incident where someone created derivative copies of my work, I’m being even more diligent about marking stuff. So sad to have to do this!

Again, students begin with a choice of two images:  the pink water lily or the orange day lily.  This time, however, students choose in advance which flower, because I provide them with a photo printed onto cotton sateen (done at Spoonflower).  Why?  You know how you go to a workshop, and are lucky if you get the top done in time to begin quilting at the end of the day?  I wanted students to have the entire day to learn how to use and blend the thread so that they learn the process.  If they begin with the image already on the cloth, they can get straight to the thread-coloring without worrying about “messing up” the top on which they worked so hard.

Along with the approx.  11 x 14 inch photo-on-fabric, the kit includes five spools of Superior Threads 40-wt. trilobal polyester thread for quilting the flower (students need to provide their own greens or purchase additional–I wanted to keep the cost of the kit down by requiring only the threads needed for the flower), and stabilizer to help prevent distortion from the dense stitching.  We’ll talk about tension, needles, stabilizing for dense thread-work and more.  However, if students wish, after working a bit on the photo-on-fabric, they are welcome to switch over and start quilting their collaged flower (if they were in the Photo to Flower Collage workshop, of course).

Detail of the Pink Water Lily shows the dense stitching.

Detail of the Pink Water Lily shows the dense stitching.

For my Water Lily quilt, I took a second photo, cut it up, and used it as a frame for the small quilt.  The Day Lily is simply quilted and aced, as are most of my art quilts, with no border.

Quilted DayLily.

Quilted DayLily.

I’m so psyched about the trip to North Carolina–I’ll get to meet internet friends who are taking the class, and spend THREE DAYS with some of them, plus visit Program Chair Debby Harwell, whom I met in a dyeing workshop with Carol Soderlund (at ProChem in Massachusetts) lo these many years ago.  This is gonna be a blast!  I can’t wait to share what the students do.  Now, I just need to figure out how to take photos and blog from my ipad!

Quilting the Garden–NEW Workshops! Photo to Flower Collage

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

I am SO excited to share with you the first of two new workshops that will debut with the Charlotte (NC) Quilters Guild next week!   The first workshop, From Photo to Flower Collage, can be a one or two-day workshop.  This time, it will be two-days (click here for more information, there are just a couple spots left).  The second workshop, ThreadColoring the Flower (click here) is booked this time as a one-day class.

Orange Daylily collage in batik, part of the Photo to Flower Collage / Quilting the Garden workshop

Orange Daylily collage in batik, part of the Photo to Flower Collage / Quilting the Garden workshop

I designed these workshops so that a guild can book what will work for their guild:  a single day or a two-day  workshop for either of the two.  With a little added content, the workshop can be expanded to a full five days allowing students to really work in depth, with one-on-one assistance, to create their own collaged and thread-colored art quilt.  I’ll post in detail about the ThreadColoring workshop in two days.

The students learn how to see value (light and dark) and how to translate the imagery in a  photo into their own working pattern.  I provide two photos, the day lily (taken by the roadside near my home) and the water lily (taken by me at the Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor) for the Day 1 class project, which will finish about  9 x 12 inches:

The water lily photo for the workshop. Photo (c) SarahAnnSmith

The water lily photo for the workshop. Photo (c) SarahAnnSmith

The Close up of the wild Day Lily, also used in the workshop. (c) Sarah Ann Smith.  PS:  Sorry about all the watermarking and copyright notices--after the incident where someone created derivative copies of my work, I'm being even more  diligent about marking stuff.  So sad to have to do this!

The Close up of the wild Day Lily, also used in the workshop. (c) Sarah Ann Smith. PS: Sorry about all the watermarking and copyright notices–after the incident where someone created derivative copies of my work, I’m being even more diligent about marking stuff. So sad to have to do this!

When I created the class sample, I wanted to do one in fabrics students can get, such as the batiks in the example above.  However, I also wanted to try the image using only hand-dyes.  This next sample is just that.  I used one of my thermofax screens, Squiggles (available here at Fiber on a Whim) and textile paint to create the green on green background on my own hand-dyed fabric.

Another verion of the daylily, made exclusively with my own hand-dyes and thermofax screened hand-dye.

Another verion of the day lily, made exclusively with my own hand-dyes and thermofax screened hand-dye.

And no, I don’t know which one I like most!

Here is the water lily, made from both commercial batiks and my own hand-dyes:

Pink Water Lily (c) SarahAnnSmith

Pink Water Lily (c) SarahAnnSmith

The second day in this workshop, students will bring their own photos (or use my second photo), select one, and create their own larger art quilt.  I’m so excited to be able to teach my collage process and help folks learn to see and create their own artwork by understanding some of the basic elements and principles of design with strong composition, lighting, and fabric selection.

 

 

Copyright and Copy-Wrong–someone’s work looks SO like mine

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Well, it finally happened.   Someone has made a couple quilts that look exactly as if the person saw my two quilts pictured here and copied them without permission.   And she is calling them “original art” and protected by “her copyright.”  Sigh.  I asked her nicely to give credit, she refused (letter below and boy is it mean–letter removed under threat of legal action by the author), so have written to Etsy to request removal of the two “copy” quilts.  Like I really wanted or needed this headache?  So I decided to write this post to share what has happened to me so that both new and experienced artists might learn from what has happened.  I would add that I totally *encourage* my students to use my patterns and make copies–that permission is given in the pattern.  But these are my original art, not patterened, and may NOT be copied nor derivative works made.  Read on!

I made this quilt, A Sense of Place::The Wall, in late 2006/early 2007.  It was published in 500 Art Quilts (ed. Karey Bresenhan, Lark Books), has been exhibited and is on my website and on my professional member gallery at SAQA.com

I made this quilt, A Sense of Place::The Wall, in late 2006/early 2007. It was published in 500 Art Quilts (ed. Karey Bresenhan, Lark Books), has been exhibited and is on my website and on my professional member gallery at SAQA.com

This is a companion piece, The Tree, which was in the FiberArt For a Cause cancer fundraiser (and sold on Gold Donor Day, thank you again K. McNeese!)

This is a companion piece, The Tree, which was in the FiberArt For a Cause cancer fundraiser (and sold on Gold Donor Day, thank you again K. McNeese!)

From the artist’s Etsy shop and website, it looks as though she is serious about starting a career in textile art (good for her), is working at it (ditto), but is still on the first part of the learning curve and hasn’t quite figured out what is “her.”  That’s fine–all of us have been at that point!  That’s how we learn.

QUICK UPDATE:  both Etsy and Pinterest reviewed the person’s postings, my work, and have removed the two items that were problems.  I have to give BIG kudos to Pinterest, which removed the pins of the two quilts in question in less than 3 hours!  and to Etsy.  Etsy responded so kindly — really impressed.  End of Update.  Moving on!

This kerfuffle started on Sunday evening when I received an email from someone I know by name and have met once, briefly, in person.  She wrote to tell me she had seen a piece that she thought looked just like mine and  the artist in question had them for sale on Etsy.  After checking out the Etsy shop and the artist’s website,   I then wrote to said artist and offered to let her continue to sell these works as long as she removed the “original art” and copyright notices since they appear to be clearly derivative of my work and credit me with the original design (and link to my website).   I’ll post my letter to her in at the end of this post, then her reply to me below that, but I will NOT publish her name, Etsy shop or website here. I SO wish I could share a link to her Etsy and Website because you’d see clearly why I feel the works, while not identical, are so clearly derivative (and yes, I have screen shots of her Etsy and web pages on my computer in case she decides to get litigious).  Once you read her letter, you’ll understand why–talk about vicious.  Sheesh.  Anyway, I feel fine publishing the content of the email because it was sent to me, and is therefore for me to do with as I see fit despite her request that I not go public with it (why?  wonder if she realizes how bad it makes her look?).  Unfortunately, she declined my  offer that could have solved this whole mess. I don’t know how I could have been any more gracious or helpful while still defending my own rights politely but firmly.

The artist, in her reply to my inquiry to her (through her website), was very angry, spoke about synchronicity (when two people in different places do the same sort of thing at the same time) and more.  I agree that synchronicity happens, but in this case the two pieces I found are so similar to mine which were made years earlier than hers:  colors, composition, subject matter (trees in winter), down to a wall of colorful stones fused onto black, a wall that extends across from one side to the other, that it defies credulity that this could be synchronicity.  Are winter scenes of trees with bare branches in snow common?  Sure!   Am I the only one who plays with a colorful palette?  Of course not!   But all of those things, down to the stone wall constructed in an identical manner?  Nope.  I’m not buying that one.  It is entirely possible she saw my quilt in the 500 Art Quilts book and was not aware that it was in her mind when she made her pieces.  But to say the similarity is synchronicity strains credulity beyond the breaking point.

There is a ton of stuff on the internet about copyright law in general and US copyright law specifically.  And I am NOT a lawyer.   But I do know that I and anyone I know who has seen her works and mine have immediately seen that her works **appear to be** a blatant copy.   I’m OK with people copying provided they do so with permission (she did not ask or have that), such as my students and people who purchase my patterns, and they respect the original artist and her legal rights.  In fact, I asked a few folks I know (some who know my work well, one who doesn’t) to make sure they see her Etsy listing to corroborate my version of events and tell me that they feel the works are copies–not identical but clearly copies. The artist –in her letter to me below (NOTE:  letter removed due to thread of legal action by the author)– even said perhaps I copied her and noted  that she made her pieces “a few years ago.”  Mine were made in late 2006, years before “a few years ago,” and the copyright statement on her Etsy listing says copyright 2013-2015.  Clearly I could not have copied what she made years later.  Whether she copied intentionally or unwittingly is not the point; she simply refused to acknowledge that her works are derivative.

Tuesday I wrote to Etsy to ask them to remove the two items in question since clearly the person who made them has furiously rejected my offer (see below) and won’t make things right on her own.  I don’t know what will come of it, but I am pleased to say that within two hours of hitting “send” on my email to the Etsy legal department I had an initial response.  I’ll post later with whatever transpires.

LESSON:  watermark EVERYTHING.

LESSON:  Go through the hassle of learning technology.  Just this past few weeks, in an online Photography class with Ricky Tims, I’ve learned how to embed my copyright information in photos, so henceforward all photos I post will have the copyright in the digital metadata.

LESSON:  Nothing will keep people from copying, or help those who don’t wish to listen or understand that what they have done is wrong.

LESSON:  You just gotta keep making your art and move on.  But you DO need to speak up, loudly, and defend your work and your rights.  So that’s what I’m doing.

LESSON:  For those of you new to art and art quilting, learn.  Learn all that you can.  Copy if you need to do so to learn, but be respectful.  And learn about copyright.  There are links below in my letter to the artist that take you to the source (for those of us in the US):  the US Copyright Office.

LESSON:  Document everything.  The fact that I blogged about these quilts in 2007 helps.  The fact that the metadata (digital encoding) on my photo files shows they were taken in late January 2007 helps.  I keep all my working drawings, patternings and notes in a manila envelope for each quilt, dated and tucked into a file cabinet.  Glad I do!  These two quilts were more spontaneous, but I do have the blog and photo info.

LESSON:  If something happens and one is as upset as this person clearly is in her letter below, perhaps one should stop and wonder WHY.  Perhaps she deep down realizes that the similarity is more than accidental and is upset that she has been caught out and called on it?  Who knows?

LESSON:  There are good people out there who alerted me to this.  We take care of each other.

So if you’re up for reading even more of this stuff,   my letter is below, followed by her response.  I leave you to draw your own conclusions.   Her words speak very loudly, but they may not be saying what she hopes.  They do say a lot about her.  It’s a shame, because she is clearly working hard and diligently at something she loves.  I hope she will learn from her mistake, and also learn that this is a small community and word gets around.  Again, I will NOT share her name.

My letter to her and her reply (with identifying information removed) are quoted below in their entirety.

On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 8:57 AM, Sarah Ann Smith <my email removed to nix more spam> wrote:
From: Sarah Ann Smith <my email removed to nix more spam>

To ARTIST
Subject: HerWEBSITE Contact Form

Message Body:
Hi NAME!  Welcome to the world of art quilting!   I stumbled across your Etsy listing of a couple quilts, the XXX-NAME-XXX series, that look exactly like copies of my A Sense of Place: The Wall and A Sense of Place:  The Tree works.   Hmmm…  not good!  Especially since you are claiming copyright to these as original works when they are clearly derivative of my copyrighted original works.

I’m not about to be a big bad meanie.  I understand that you are somewhat new to art quilts and perhaps don’t understand copyright, copyright law, and some of the nuances because, frankly, it is somewhat complicated.  I’ll add a few hotlinks to US government sites that explain it at the end of this message.

Someone who saw your work immediately recognized the pieces as a take-off of my work, so it is clear that you were inspired by my work.  THANK YOU for liking it so much you wanted to copy these pieces.  We all learn by copying those who came before us.  However, to be blunt, it is not right for you to state that your SERIES NAME pieces are original artworks and subject to your copyright.  In fact, that is illegal (check those links at the end of this message).  In asserting such a claim you are in fact infringing on my copyright on my original artwork, created in 2004.

Because you are just starting out and probably do not understand fully how copyright works (for example, changing something 10 percent is a fallacy, copyright is still copyright), I am willing to let you display these works on your website and sell the existing works if, and only if in any place where they are published (including your website and Etsy shop), you remove the statement that they are original and copyrighted by you , and add a statement that they are “based on original artwork by Sarah Ann Smith at www.SarahAnnSmith.com” and that I have “given NAME  permission to sell these three works only.”  Further, you may not make any further works based on my artwork.   I know each piece takes a lot of time, and respect your right to earn a living.  But I also need to protect my own ability to make a living from my art.

Here are three hotlinks that may help you understand copyright:
http://www.copyright.gov/
http://copyright.gov/help/faq/index.html
http://www.cendi.gov/publications/04-8copyright.html

This link http://copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf  talks about Copyright Basics and is quite helpful.  It says in part   “Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusiveright to do and to authorize others to do the following:
• reproduce the work in copies or  phonorecords
• prepare derivative works based  upon the works”

Your quilts fall into the “derivative works,” and are therefore not legal.  As I said, I’m willing to let you sell these, as long as you remove the statement that they are original to you and add a statement that they are based on my work, with a link to my website.  These statements need to appear any place on the web or in a gallery/craft show/shop, wherever, that you display or sell your NAME OF SERIES pieces.

Your work is lovely, you clearly love color and fabric as much as I do.   I’d like to encourage you to keep learning and listen to your own muse.  No one can make YOUR art as well as YOU do.   Copying is a good way to learn, but making your own original art is even better.

I’ll check your website to make sure you have complied.   Thank you for attending to this promptly!  We’ve all got better stuff to do –like make art– than deal with copyright violations!  Cheers, Sarah Ann Smith.
This e-mail was sent from Artist’s WEBSITE

And here is her astonishingly virulent reply to me, in its entirety, but I have removed names ( it’ll be obvious where):

 

LETTER REMOVED, 3:37 pm March 13, 2015 under thread of legal action by the author.

 

And back to me:

Enough said!  I find it curious that she refused to even go look at my works, since she would have seen the similarity instantly.  Maybe she didn’t want to know the truth???  At coffee with my BFF yesterday, I showed her the other person’s pieces on my phone, and (because they were little on the phone screen) my BFF at first thought they were mine!   How clear is that?   Anyway, let’s hope Etsy does the right thing.  I am sure the artist will not remove  one that is on her website, but frankly that one is simple a generic winter scene and doesn’t have the stone wall, so it doesn’t bother me.  It’s the two on Etsy that are clearly deriative.  Now, on to more fun things to do with my life!