I was recently asked to do a bit about copying of patterns and designs and all the contention that involves. Obviously I feel quite strongly on this subject, it being my baked-beans on toast. So I’m on a bit of a mission today, for several reasons, well life in general as it goes. These words are just my humble opinion and I don’t wish to offend, but as my Gran would have said ‘if the cap fits please wear it’…….
But due to a few happenings to me and others this week I’m going to expand the topic to small businesses and public behaviour as well. I’m not looking for a sympathy vote here or I wouldn’t be continuing with my choice of vocation, for that’s what it is to me. I design, make & teach patchwork & quilting and other crafts as a therapy for others, my choice. Simple as that. I love to see people creating their own, I like to think I help them with their skills and enthusiasm to succeed, (I have enough enthusiasm for a lot of people!) that in itself is my therapy.
I wanted a comparison that I could relate to, so here are my personal thoughts…….My Dad was one of the last antique silver restorer makers, apprenticed trained in this country, proper stuff. People paid him for his years of training, skill, knowledge, expertise, whatever you wish to call it, his work was valued and paid for, basically because people couldn’t copy him unless they had an extreme skill set. Traditional designs were everyone’s realm, his own designs were his own only. What’s the difference between him and myself?…… the tools are out there for you to borrow or copy my hours of training, skill, knowledge, expertise and by-pass the paying bit. This equates to stealing, Some of the biggest established websites & groups seem to make this easy and acceptable in my opinion. (It’s also why we get a bit twitchy at people taking photos of our work without permission) I’m quite sure when I started out many years ago I borrowed stuff as well, elements of others designs and thoughts, I now know just how much work & financial outlay there is in designing and producing patterns, I was truly ignorant at that point, young and busy playing. Now I see it differently and am quite ashamed that I was guilty of theft. So my call to all: please now look at all of us small Bod’s as silversmiths, worthy of payment and the occasional curry on the table instead of baked-beans.
………..( I remember counting 103 hammers, mostly made by Dad for specific jobs, he could make a teapot from a single sheet of silver with just hammers…….)
Moving on though, (and I’m very aware this isn’t everybody public), but now I’ve mentioned small Bod’s, we can and do make mistakes along the way, we’re just one person trying to do everything that is involved within our design businesses, everything. This generally takes over our very lives, every aspect and we’re often expected to be available 24hrs (please remember, its my choice to continue as such) but I do ask that you treat us with a modicum of respect when we get it wrong. We appreciate it you know. In fact we usually try harder to rectify stuff than bigger firms, our reputations are everything to us. Please take your complaint to the root, ie: come to us in person please, don’t go shouting things publically because you’re having a bad day. Give us a chance to sort stuff, we’re not just a number within a big firm, we’re the only number within an individual working unit and rarely deserve public ridicule.
I’m aware this week of two complaint examples at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. One complaint was a vile, rude ranting over an issue, that could be fixed easily, fortunately I wasn’t on the receiving end of that one, but my good friend was. At the other extreme, I was made aware privately, politely of an error I had made last July that could have caused me great embarrassment (a pricing typo). I was given the opportunity to explain and fix (thank you that lady, you know who you are). Everyone’s happy, I can continue without stress. My friend however was forced to react in a manner she wouldn’t normally and was stressed too-boot. Unfair.
On a first day of work when I was a kid (a Saturday job with Sainsbury’s) I was given the usual run down of stuff, but one training quote has stayed with me all of my life and I try to live by it, I may get it wrong on occasion but the best bit of advice of my working life…..
“Behaviour breeds behaviour”
Happy P&Q folks, enjoy your therapy, I do!
Abbie xxx (they put me in the bushes with my quilts…….what’s that all about?!!!)