Integrity ~ It’s Pretty Important

Integrity is the adherence to moral and ethical principles; the soundness of moral character and honesty.  It’s a trait that is highly regarded in my household.  I’m sure that stems from my husband’s military service.  It’s definitely a trait that my husband and I expect our children to possess.  Today I was faced with a situation that left me angry and a bit saddened at the same time.  I’d like to share my experience because I think it’s a very important issue.

As quilters and crafters we naturally see inspiration in lots of different places.  I personally love to look at wall paper, art, rugs, flooring, TV, magazines…you get the idea.  Inspiration is all around us.  We draw from our life experiences and create wonderful works of art.

One of my original designs inspired someone.  It’s flattering, right?  Kind of, but it’s also disheartening when the person posts pictures and doesn’t give credit to me for the design.  And it was clearly created based on my artwork.  This particular design was one that I drew, with the help of my husband, and spent hours getting just right.  I then used the drawing to create a whole cloth quilt.  I worked very hard and even entered the quilt in last year’s MQX show in Springfield.  I was shocked that someone would basically copy what I had done and not give credit to me for the design.

The truth is, her quilt was awesome.  I actually really love it.  But at the same time I’m also quite mad because I spent hours drawing it and quilting it.  I feel completely violated.  In the end, I did say something to other person.  That was very hard for me but I felt it was necessary.  An apology was offered and I’m moving on.

I’m not writing this post so that you all leave negative comments toward the other individual.  Please refrain from doing so.  On the contrary, I’m asking that we all do better in giving credit when credit is due.  It’s our duty to have integrity, especially in this industry.  There’s a fine line between being inspired and completely copying a design.  If you want to copy a design, ask the original artist if they mind.  I maintain that I love her version of my quilt and I would have been much happier had she given me credit for the design.  I worked very hard to create it.  It’s not really fair for someone else to claim the glory of my hard work.

One final thought, I love sharing my quilting adventures.  I’m so happy I get to do what I love everyday and share it with like-minded people.  I love inspiring others.  I just ask that if you plan on copying something that I personally drew and quilted (for example, Me and My Shadow or Owlene), please ask me.  Those quilts are original designs that take me a very long time to design and draw.

Integrity….let’s all have some!


15 thoughts on “Integrity ~ It’s Pretty Important”

  1. You are absolutely right! I think that every quilt, especially one that is entered in a show or posted online anywhere, should credit the designer of the pattern or the designer who’s design inspired the quilt. Many designers resort to legal action when their designs are copied with no credit going back to them. Hurtful, but also, copying someone is the sincerest form of flattery…all depends on your perspective! But, bottom line, integrity in all things matters! Thanks for using this as a teaching moment!!!

  2. I’m so sorry. It is hard to be a designer in this industry because of the DIY culture we work in. I try my hardest to come up with original designs or to do due diligence in giving credit where credit is due. One of my favorite quilts is one that I found as a print on Pinterest. I was thrilled when the artist was excited to let me write it into a pattern. And that is more than often the true case of how it typically goes. As designers we pour our life into our creations. They express a part of who we are. And when someone copies it you feel violated. I’m sorry you had to go through that experience. But I am glad you said something so that you can help be an advocate in the design world. I’m also glad that she apologized. I hope her apology gave back part of what was taken from you.

  3. This is disappointing. I’m glad that you were able to talk about this with the person in question. Unfortunately this is a problem I see all too often in creative industries. It can be difficult because people often think that they have an original idea without realizing that they’ve seen it before. And then there are people who just don’t see the need to give credit when they copy something.

  4. Agree, agree, so much agree! We don’t have enough clear accepted etiquette around these issues, and I believe it’s part of a greater issue where the rapid growth of technology has outrun the natural progression of relevant social and ethical rules. We learned really quickly how to share photos of our work, but not quickly enough the rules around how to share them, when and how to credit, and what is and isn’t ok in terms of sharing and drawing from someone else’s work. Thanks for this post: I think it’s important to talk about this stuff so that we, as an online community, start building rules and ethics around these matters.

  5. I dont understand people, no matter what I make I always credit the blog or website as well as link for the pattern,, its called manners, and as the old adage goes, credit where credit is due.

  6. Wonderfully put 🙂 It must be disheartening when something like this happens, but kudos to you for taking the appropriate action and moving forward!

  7. I’m sorry you were faced with that situation. Currently I am working on a project inspired by something I found online. I pointedly linked back to my inspiration because I thought others would see it another way. I recently realized that my link was incorrect and made sure to correct it. There’s nothing worse than that stomach drop when you realize someone has taken your idea without credit.
    **Found through the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Hop**

  8. I wrote a very similar post a couple of months ago, after assisting with judging at a quilt show and seeing several quilts that should have given credit to the photographer for the photo they were “inspired” by, the designer whose work was copied, or the graphic artist who created the original artwork….I love the last sentence in your post – let’s all have some!

  9. I’ve been going through our ‘HIVE’ members in the New Blog Hop, and happy to be visiting you! I am in total agreement on what you have said in this post. There are people who neglect to give credit, and those who will sing your praises. We spend hours and days and weeks designing until it’s perfect to us. It’s a shame that giving credit where credit is due often is over looked. (intentionally of not)

  10. Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective. Your approach to the situation was very responsible and mature. It’s disappointing when proper credit isn’t given and/or when your work is used without permission, but all to common within the realm of quilting. Perhaps your post will draw attention to the issue, and encourage others to make more ethical choices.

  11. That was such a classy way to relate the experience and reiterate the message of crediting our inspirations. I try to do so every time I adapt something (or outright copy it IF the original creator says that’s cool with them). I worry about the times I might accidentally reproduce something I’d seen in the past without realizing I’m really copying instead of creating from scratch. It doesn’t sound like this instance is that case, though. ;D

  12. I’m really sorry this happened to you. I’ve had This situation happen to myself recently, so I know how frustrating and annoying it is, when someone takes your own personal work and runs with it and then gives no recognition of the original design source. It’s good you said something, perhaps the person in question will be more aware of crediting original artists of their work, should they choose to duplicate someone’s creativity again.

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