For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors .







''the use of traditional often time consuming process alludes to the devotion of a mother''. c K. A. Ruane 2007







Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I give up?

I had wanted to show you these in a better frame of mind. I have enjoyed making these although they're not finished yet. My intention was to turn these into zippered purses, smaller pieces in order to try and kick start something in the shop because it's dead there at them moment. I'm just not in the mood anymore though. It's quite hard working in isolation, trying to build something and feeling like you are not getting anywhere. All my pieces take a long time to create, they are informed by years of study at Degree level and a lifetime of stitching experience be it at primary school or making pretty things for my children when they were small. There is a level to which I will not go though, I will not give my work away for a pittance, making zero profit and handing over pieces which each contain a measure of my knowledge, my experience and many, many hours of my work. I have reached this state of mind after events of the last few days, people questioning my prices, people infringing and ripping off my copyright. Take the piece top right on this page, the pink piece with the hexagons. Aside from the fact that the materials used are silk and the best quality threads and gingham fabric this piece took me approximately 2 days to make. The price...around £40. Now I am no mathematician but that equates to a very low hourly rate of less than £2 an hour. Please....give me a break...I just won't do it for any less. You get a gardner, a mechanic, a shop assistant to work for that if you can, I doubt it. Non of this is aimed at those of you who know where I am coming from, who support me, who empathise with me but I really need to say it incase some of those it is aimed at stop by here anytime. Then we have the blatant ripping off of my images that I talked about yesterday. I have given this person the benefit of the doubt, I have e-mailed her twice, left comments on her blog, (I have now removed this link) and nothing. I am reliably informed that this is not a blog as we know it, merely a stepping stone to her contact details in order to buy her work. I used those contact details last night and sent a text message to her mobile (cell) phone, yes I texted Brazil and even that didn't work. I removed the pictures she was using from my flickr page, what happened then, she is using different ones now. I am so upset about this. What next? Close my flickr account? Well maybe, I may just do that. I have contacted Flickr support for advice and await their response. Blogger abuse report? well the first thing they tell you is that these matters could end up costing you $100,000. Three pincushion sales a year won't cover it. So there you have it, I feel like throwing in the towel, putting my hands up and getting the white flag out, I've just had enough.


****I have now placed my name on all the photos she is using. I will work my way through my whole flickr stream eventually putting my name on every single one. Thankyou so much for your support. ****

37 comments:

Carol said...

It is so sad that people like this exsist. I hate that sort of nonsense. There should be a way to deal with them. What about water marking your pics? Lots of photo editors have this facility?
as for the working in isolation, not giving away work for a pitance, having work informed by arts degree - I hear you I feel what your saying totally. I have been trying to find an exhibiting group in South Wales for a while now with no avail. I feel like I am in quick sand and if you work ful time to make the mortgage serious artists reject you and your work as a hobby..... grrrrrr wish I had words of wisdom for yu. All I wil say is your work sings with quality and are exquisit pieces, stik to your guns and someone will notice. I sight Purple missus and Kayla coo as excellent examples :)

PJ said...

Hand crafted items are difficult to sale because people are not willing to pay for your time. Your work is too beautiful to just give up - you are too talented. I'm pretty new to blogland but have seen many who "write" their blog and/or names on all the pictures they post - maybe that's something you could try. Hang in there, all is not lost!

Dolores said...

Take a deep breath. Now, relax.
There are many of us who sympathize with you. Unfortunately, there are also those who think flickr and everything out on the internet is public domain. This person is using your images without crediting you but let us hope that she is not profiting from them in any way. I think you have done what you can.
I do hope you keep on creating because your work is so beautiful and so inspiring.

meri said...

Don't give up! Pleeeeeeeease!
Your work is (a stop to find the right word...) so peculiar, singular, rare, exquisite.
Your prices are fair, I'm sure.

About that blog: I think you have to block her at Flickr if you know who she is. and I would like to know who is she too...
No answer to so many appeals (i've sent an e-mail as well) reveals
unfairness

Ijeoma said...

Carol don't give up, whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP! I totally agree that it's really unfair what you have been through. Give her till her next new post to see if she will credit your work.

As for the people questioning your rates, then darling please simply ignore them. Hard as it is to believe, there are people who either don't appreciate the value of craftsmanship which takes years to master, or they just want to take advantage of unknown designers. Obviously they know you are talented and like your work, otherwise they would not be interested in the first place.

So in the future, state the price and don't entertain any questioning, or leave room for bargaining! EVER!

I know I haven't bought anything, but I am a fan of your work. Huge fan!

JUST DON'T GIVE UP! OK?

Miss 376 said...

It would be such a loss to us all if you were to give up. I've had this discussion before with others, about people not wanting to pay for the time and effort that goes into making some of these items. I'm just so sorry this has to happen to you

Ijeoma said...

Karen my darling, I'm ever so sorry for my silly typo. I guess I was in such a rush to post that essay (oops!) of a comment to you, that I wrote the wrong name down. You see the name Carol was stuck in my head from the first lady that left her comment. Either that, or I've finally gone crazy.

Anyway back to the message, DON'T GIVE UP!!!

xoxo

Things Hand Made said...

oh dear ((((hugs))))
Please keep going, people get a lot of pleasure from seeing your work.
joanna

Suztats said...

Unfortunately, not everyone plays fair, and the honest are trampled by the dishonest, and there are always those who wish to acquire beautiful things without paying their value. I'm sorry you've been dealing with these headaches and frustrations. I can only suggest that you mark your photos in future to help protect your copywrite. Not much help for what's happening now, I'm afraid. Please don't allow this dishonest person to drive you away from creating your beautiful art because then she will have stolen from you much more than your photos.

deanna7trees said...

I agree with Dolores. You do what you can and move on. It appears she is not profiting from them in any way. Try and look at it from a positive view. She is promoting your work and leading others to see more of it. Your work is beautiful and I don't think anyone could replicate it even if they tried. Have faith that you will benefit in the end.

lillalotta said...

Oh Karen. No, no, no. None of it is right, and you are so correct in feeling the way you do. I have been in the same place as you, being ripped off, questioned and copied. I don't take any of it lightly, and those telling you to just move on are ( usually ) those who have not been in your shoes. Your work is not public domain, and you must protect yourself. But give up? NO!! Do not let 'them' win. You are and have been one of the few blogs I love visiting, because of the obvious passion and authenticity in your work, and having said that, you should up your prices immediately. Why should you put that amount of time into your 'art' and have people purchase it for the amount that makes you unhappy?

After all that, please do not give up, Karen. If you do, I might as well pack up, too.

sylviesgarden said...

No, no, no, no, you can't give up! You must keep going!
Your work is beautiful and so individual.
I understand what you are saying about your pics but apart from applying a watermark I don't know what you can do.
As for the pricing I was having the same discussion last week with a friend. I think you just have to take it on the chin and I suppose take into account the fact that many people don't realise how long it takes to create such items.
I so wish that I had some spare money so that I could buy some of your work but the girls have bankrupted us with their school uniforms.
Many people appreciate your work and it would be terrible if you gave up.
Big hugs my dear x

Toffeeapple said...

Karen I am so sorry that this is happening to you. I wish I knew a way to help but I don't so all I can say is please do not give up, your work is the best I have ever seen and if I had some spare money I would buy it. Try to keep smiling and know that you are a better person than she is.

Gina said...

Ditto what everyone else has said. Your work is exquisite and worth far more than you charge. I would suggest watermarking your photos though. I remember a link somewhere about how to do that easily and you could probably google "watermarks" and find a way. Make sure your photos are not listed with the Creative Commons License on Flickr because then people do feel free to use them, though it would be nice for them to link back to you in the process. I should follow my own advice. LOL! I think Flickr might even have a resource for that.

Miriam Weaver said...

It's difficult enough to make a living or earn any money in a craft without someone stealing your images. It really doesn't matter if she realised or not, it's the principle! Now you have let her know how you feel lets hope she either removes your images or gives you credit. Don't give up, why let these people win.

connie said...

Oh, Karen I am so very sorry!!! This is terrible and so unfair. Just please don't quite doing what you love and you do so well. Just think about how much you love making what you make and there are so many of us who love it also!!! We may not be able to purchase it but we do love it and your presence here on the internet. It is unfortunate that it only takes one to ruin things and make you feel you have to defend your prices. Pricing is a tough thing and considering what you put into your pieces you have them priced fairly! And they are one of a kind pieces of art!!!

Please don't let these terrible few cause you to change your direction!

We love you and what you do!!!!

Karen Turner said...

Don't give up. I've wanted to say for a long time that I think your prices are actually far too low. You have a lot of support here :-) x

helena said...

I'm so sad about that! I went to that blog and I saw she doesn't have a personal work with a defined line. She put your photos and everyone sees your name! It's disgusted. I will leave there a comment to show my thinking, maybe she'll understand good Portuguese. Do not give up, please. In any case she can not imitate you with quality.
Sorry about my english. I hope you understand my sorry!!!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Karen! Karen! Karen! Please pick up!
I went over and looked and your photos are still there but they are all credited to you now. It says (c) Karen Ruane on each of them. I agree with other comments that since there is a lot of gingham involved in her work there was plenty of room for confusion, but in fact her style is completely different from yours. It's much more traditional, less contemporary, artistic and whimsical. Anyway, job done!
Now, as you know, I have the odd problem with lifting of photos myself. I've never been able to track down where they have gone. You can get spyware but that seems excessive for me, so all I know is that people search for images, get passed on to mine, come back and have a good old look several times and then presumably take the ones they want. As a result I now put a watermark on every photo I put on my blog. I also reduce the size to 1200 pixels across (landscape) or 1100 down (portrait) and I reduce the quality of the image so that it's only suitable for viewing on a computer. I do all this on Photoshop Elements but I see that one of your commenters suggested an online place to do it (pic-nic?). You should definitely do that. I know it seems a pain, and an extra task, but you'll soon get into the swing of it. Obviously you won't want to go back over all previous images and do this, but you can start now. You could also highlight in bold your LEGAL STUFF in the sidebar.
I saw your comment on Rachel's last post about copyright. I thought she expressed it beautifully. I have no idea what the answer is. But I do know that your work is beautiful, that you have a community of people who admire you and what you do, and that here you not only showcase your work and provide inspiration, you are also generous with advice and how-to's. For all that I thank you, and don't want to lose you.
Cheer up!!!!
(PS I'll be showing my completed cot quilt within the week!)
Janice. xxx

Diane Kelsey said...

Please don't give up, there must be a way to secure photos. If enough people complain, perhaps someone will create a solution. Can you stop people looking at your blog?

Rachel said...

Karen, I'm so sorry you're having to go through all this. Your work is absolutely exquisite! Please don't stop! I think some people who don't make stuff themselves somehow expect handmade items to be cheaper, when we all know the reverse is true. And sadly, the stealing of photos also seems to happen all too frequently. You have every right to feel angry! But, I hope you will continue, I for one would miss seeing your beautiful creations.
R x

Jill said...

Good for you for fighting back, but I am sure you could put your time to better use with your wonderful creations. Too many people seem to think that handmade means cheap, well done for spelling this out as well.

Claire said...

The bloody cheek of some people!

I love your new works btw, the colours are glorious :-) I'm in awe of you putting your work out into a harsh marketplace... I've been dreaming about it a bit lately, but I don't think my ego could take it!

Gina said...

Whatever you do don't give up Karen and never undersell yourself. Your work is beautiful. Having taken a look at this other "blog" all I can say is there is no comparison. No one would ever believe she had made your things!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there is a very long history of women's crafts not being considered worthy of a large price. As you said, people are willing to pay gardeners and maids carzy amounts of money but for something labored over for many hours, it's not worth a pittance. Definitely don't give up! Have you happened to have heard of Penny Nickels? She's going through the same thing as an artist of having people offer ridiculously low amounts of dollars for pieces that she labored over. She has a site now, http://thisishandmade.tumblr.com/ where she requests you post a 5 minute video of you crafting. The point being that it takes a lot of time to make any progress. You should check it out!! And contribute a video :)

meri said...

It's over Karen! The slideshow is no more there as well all the comments...:)

Good, very good. I'm happy for you!
It was worth all the protests.
Have a nice day!

(haven't I said today will be a better day?)

hensteeth said...

Hi Karen,
what's what now...can't find any of your imagery on her blog thing now???? Are you ok? viv x

MargaretJ said...

Stick to your guns, Karen. Your work is exquisite and unique, and I'm surprised that your prices are so low! I admire your talent and creativity.

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Hurraaah! I went over there again and not only have all the comments been removed, but so have the photos! Karen, if I ever have any problems I'm going to come over here and have you send in the multi-lingual heavy mob! Well done!

Rachel said...

Don't give up, Karen.

All my blog photos are reduced in size and made just good enough for the computer screen. I don't watermark them, but in the light of your experience I may well begin doing so.

Ingrid said...

This makes me so angry!!
so sorry you have to deal with this,understand your feelings,but please dont give up,we are so many that understand the work involved in your gorgeous embroidery!

kristin said...

i'm a bit late to the conversation as it seems like you've managed to "right" some "wrongs" (good for you!!) no, please don't give up. keep moving forward creating beauty. put blinders on to all the negative comments that come your way. i own some of your gorgeous work and while i haven't stitched the buttons on anything, nor stuck a pin in the cushion, i treasure my artwork from you. i hold it in my hand, feel the natural fibers understand each stitch and appreciate the love and hard work to create such pieces and i am left completely inspired. for this i am so grateful. a friend of mine always said, if someone wants a piece bad enough, they will be willing to pay what you ask...if they are looking for a bargain, they can just be on their way. you deserve to be paid for your work!! don't EVER underpay yourself!!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I'm a bit behind on my blog reading and haven't put my two cents into this conversation - it seems that everyone has already said what I was thinking, so I won't say it again. Just want you to know that your work is worth every single penny and that I know from bitter experience how difficult it is to get a reasonable payment for the time investment.

Kayla coo said...

Hi Karen,
Please don't give up!
Your work is exquisite.
M x

vintagerockchick said...

I agree with all the above comments. Like Gina I had a look at the other blog and all I can say is, no wonder she wanted to pass your work off as her own! xx

Libertybelle said...

Don't give up Karen- Your work is beautiful and unique and worth every penny you ask for it. It's such a pity that someone has to copy your work and can't create for herself.

Nicola said...

I'll just add my voice to the chorus. Your beautiful work should not come cheap. So frequently traditionally female art is not valued sufficiently. I blame the Victorians (c1800s) where this notion of high and low art was really entrenched. And the idea that real art is meant to be 'useless'. All the art we produce with our needles is useful, beautiful and worthy of a fair price. Stick to your guns! As you can see there are lots if us who agree. Smiles, Crewel Treatment.