Tuesday, December 15, 2009


2. a. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated" (Richard Kain).
b. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.

[French ironie, from Old French, from Latin īrōnīa, from Greek eirōneia, feigned ignorance, from eirōn, dissembler, probably from eirein, to say; see wer-5 in Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Right after I posted my pattern here yesterday, I went trolling etsy as I'm wont to do. I search through my competition which is becoming quite the sizable group. I'll tell you one thing most of us appear to have in common, mutual respect. Each tatter has their own style and niche. While we technically compete against each other, I find out work more complementary and rarely do we cross over into anothers core demographic.

I've also offered a nice handful of patterns now with just a few strings, clearly noted. While i have never minded competition that drives me to create new things, I do not want to compete against, well...my own things. As a precaution I try to state that my patterns are for personal use only. I hope this does not make me appear stingy, but it seems prudent to do so. I say all these things merely as the set up for the aforementioned irony.

So, as I mentioned, was trolling etsy, when what do my eyes spy, but necklaces worked up in my patterns. Yep, one of the ones I offered to help people learn needle tatting on Instructables. Then I checked the whole shop, which while containing original pieces also contained a couple of collar necklaces with the same pattern as my Portrait pieces. Now on that note, I must add a disclaimer. Those collar necklaces were in fact one half of a vintage pattern, so there is every possibility that another person saw those patterns and did exactly what I did to make them necklaces. Though in conjunction with the clearly mine necklace, it looks a little more like a case of, oh I could do that too. Again, I do not own that pattern, but I did in fact come up with the exact stitch counts in the other.

You'll notice I'm not naming names...yet. I've sent a rather stern message to the offending pattern and though I've not yet heard back I'm looking into having etsy remove the listings. I know that in the end they are probably only hurting themselves. I hate to be all negative, but as I mentioned on the twitter yesterday, the greater issue from all of this is the inclination to never offer a pattern again and to remove what I have offered. I'm not going to do that at this point, but the thought occurred. The thought also occurred among other crafters to not share their designs in the future to avoid this sort of thing and that's a shame. As a maker, I think most of us feel inclined to share our knowledge, to pass down information, to be a community, but the rampant theft of ideas make us pull up the welcome mat and lock ourselves inside.

To those who would take ideas and claim them as your own, simply disregard the original creator as irrelevant or profit from others hard work without acknowledgment thinking that there is nothing wrong with that, I have a moral lesson for you.
Often the shortest path leads nowhere.


Trinity Lea said...

i love your designs, and i love your patterns, and i am SO grateful that you have offered them to those of us who want to learn! my intent is to practice until i know enough to create my own patterns, and THEN start selling, hopefully successfully, and not in your niche! :D
I DID make 2 of your flowers from instructables as christmas presents tho!! i havent yet had time to try the necklace tho! and your MASKS!! OMG, some day I will buy one from you, hopefully custom-made to work with glasses!

Crafty Mama said...

I agree with Trinity, except the glasses part. :) It's terrible that something good you've done to help many learn to tat (me included) can be used to bite you in the butt. Some people have no class. I would love to learn enough to start creating my own designs, but until then I'm eating up all the patterns available to me and giving most of it away. My jewelry box has more thread than metal these days.
Thank you for what you've generously provided! I hope this nastiness gets resolved easily.

Clemintine said...

First, I hope that all this wont keep you from sharing your work. It seems like very few tatters will show off how they made their really cool stuff, and while there is risk, I think most people have enough grace not to sell someone elses work.
Granted, how many combinations of rings and chains are there.... but still.
Plus.. and this is just me being snarky... her work isn't half the quality of yours. It seems that most of what I saw was adopted from other patterns that are on the net. Maybe one extra picot or an extra ring.. but the same pattern none the less. (if it is the same shop I saw anyway, which I assume it is.) Personally I think thats cheating.. but that's me. And I am one who is notorious for getting half way through a piece and deciding its too much like the orriginal inspiration and scrapping it.
god I ramble...
At any rate, I really hope this gets all cleared up, I wish you much luck with it!

Gina said...

First I'll say I was surprised you offered the patterns you did. Most designers don't offer a free pattern that is making them money until the demand for it peters out. They do often offer something along the same line, usually a very simplified version.

I don't sell my work so I'm not an offender, but to be honest, I've never understood why anyone (including big businesses) offers a pattern for personal use only. Making a living is as personal as it gets. I understand it cuts into your profits and I'm don't mean you shouldn't be upset. It would be nice if everyone played "fair" but the way the system is set up, it also encourages people to make money in any way they can. I don't know what the solution is. I wish I did and I wish this whole copyright thing didn't exist as such a negative issue. Many fine (almost genius) tatters and other craftspersons have stopped doing their work because of this issue and I can't help but wonder at the loss.

Krystle said...

I do agree that we all have our "niche" in tatting on etsy. For me, it's great to see the art grow and expand. But I too do not understand why people don't respect common courtesy among crafters. We all inspire eachother.....I can't say I'd be doing what I do if it had not been for the tatters I've met online.

Crafty Mama said it well. Some people have no class.

I do sincerely wish you well in your endeavors.

Kelly said...

I've been following your Etsy shop and blog for a while now. I'm both sympathetic to you during this recent situation and and a little fearful for myself.

I took up shuttle tatting a year ago today and needle tatting this week. I knew from the beginning that I eventually wanted to sell my own pieces, and given how easy it is to unconsciously mimic someone else's work, I've largely restricted myself to finding, using, and riffing off of vintage patterns. You've mentioned using vintage patterns in the past, and I own enough now to see where some of your work comes from (in fact, one of my future pieces is similar to one already in your store--it's a pattern I've loved since I first saw it and tatted it).

Eventually I hope to step away from using vintage patterns, but at the moment I consider it a step in my own tatting development.

I've loved your work ever since I first saw it. The tatting itself, how you photograph your pieces, that you name them. You've set a pretty high bar, one that I intend to at least aim for. :)

So, thanks to tatters like you, my goal this year is to get my own Etsy shop up and running, with my own vintage-inspired work. (Your mask business is completely safe from me, I think.)