I read an interesting article in a blog I follow where the blogger was distressed that many of the quilt shows she goes to now do not allow photographs to be taken of the quilts. And if they are allowed, those photos cannot be reproduced (i.e. placed on a blog or even emailed from the photographer) without expressed permission of the quilt maker. It got me wondering, is sharing within the quilt world dead? Has commercial enterprise taken over in an area that has traditionally been predominantly free of financial entanglements?
I'm not saying that there hasn't been in the past money made from the art of quilt making. The 1930s quilting revival in the United States is a prime example of industrious women coming to the forefront of grassroots business designing and selling their quilt patterns. I certainly believe designers have every right to market their original designs. But have we gone too far in our attempt to 'protect' and copywriter every single twist on an old idea? I for one fight the urge to cave under the constant barrage of marketing hype every time a 'new' pattern design hits the market (which, lets be honest, is 99% of the time just an old pattern presented in a slightly different way) or someone introduces a new and improved whatever....when my old and lousy has been doing the job for me just fine for years. It's really a fine line to walk in my opinion from over commercialisation to fair market expectations. Perhaps as I learned the skill of quilt making from my grandmother and not from a fee paid class, I have a different attitude toward the art itself. Quilt making for me is about creative self expression as well as an opportunity to share freely amongst like minded quilters. Again I not suggesting that quilt teachers give away their time and talents. There is a time and place for everything. Which leads me back to the original issue of photographing a quilt and sharing these photos with others.
I share that bloggers frustration at not being able to photograph an exhibited quilt and then later share and discuss its merits and deficiencies among my peers. I ask you - how many of us can really reproduce the spectacular quilting creations highly skilled quilters produce by just taking a few photos? What ever happened to just being flattered that someone even WANTS to photograph your quilt? My feeling is if you don't want anyone to 'steal' your design or ideas, don't place your quilt in the public arena. Keep it at home on your bed or wall. Quilt shows are not museums and unless you're a quilter with your own solo show, you're not a paid artisan. If you're putting your quilt in an exhibition I assume you want people to see it, faun over it, admire it. It's almost like a celebrity saying I want all the attention and adoration that comes with fame but don't take my picture unless I say you can.
This is just my two cents worth so don't send me hate mail. It's my opinion and you know what people say about opinions.....they're like a------s, everyone has one.
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