Monday, March 17, 2014

Is it Spring yet?

I am so ready for consistently warm weather.  We're in that period where it's 70 one day and 50 the next.  Today, it's in the 50's, and our second full day of rain.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day...

This has been a great year for these early bloomers.  I guess where you grew up determines what you call them.  My Mother called them buttercups, my husband calls them jonquils because that's what his grandmother called them, and most people call them daffodils.  Whatever your preference, they are always a welcome sight.  We have thousands of them on our property, thanks to long-ago former residents, who planted them, and lots of cows who fertilized them over the years.  The Bradford Pear trees and the redbud trees are also coming to life. 

I will be attending the Savannah Quiltfest later this month.  I've entered two art quilts in the competition and I have a new piece I made for the GA/SC Retional SAQA exhibit.  I call it "Downtown" and I told you about it in the last post.
I'm also entering 3 art quilts in an art show in Perry, GA in April, called "Arts in the Armory".  It's being held in conjunction with their Dogwood Festival the weekend of April 11-13th. 

I learned a good, but difficult lesson recently that I will share with you so that, if you, too, are an art quilter, maybe you can avoid my mistake.  I was making a small art quilt to submit for possible consideration to be published in a book.  My piece was supposed to illustrate a quote, and so, I thought about it for a long time and finally decided on a subject. 

I usually use either my own, or a family member's photo as a basis for my quilts, but this time, I didn't have one of the subject I wanted to portray, so I searched online for copyright-free photos.  In looking at one site, I was led to another, where I found just the right shot.  I was only using the human figure in the photo--the rest of the quilt was my design.  Long story short, I made the piece, which I liked very much, but I decided that, before I submitted it for consideration, I would just double-check that I wasn't infringing on anyone's copyright.

You guessed it--I had wandered onto a site that included copyrighted photos and I had picked one of them.  At that point, with a deadline looming, I decided to contact the photographer and ask permission to use her image.  I sent a friendly, chatty e-mail and asked if I could use a portion of her photo as a guide for my art quilt.  I thought she might want some compensation, but I never dreamed she would just say no.  She just said no.

I felt a little sick to my stomach when I got her reply, but no is no, so I knew I had to come up with a plan B.  So, I revamped my idea a bit and took my husband out to pose for me (bless his heart), and I made another piece.  I don't think it's as good as the first one, but I submitted it anyway and decided it was a good lesson learned.  I will never use anyone else's photographs (with the exception of a family member) in my work again.

I understand how difficult it is to protect your rights to your work in today's world of everything being on the internet.  I didn't want to infringe on the photographer in any way, even though she probably would've never known about it.  I would have known, and that's enough.  Lesson learned.


  1. JoAnn, I read your story and I want to tell you that there are lots of us cancer survivors out there, and we’re all pulling for you. I had colon cancer 15 years ago – the whole deal, surgery, chemotherapy – and it was the worst time of my life. I had no symptoms; it was just going to be a routine, first ever colonoscopy. Large mass discovered; first oncologist gave me six months to live. Hang in there. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. And btw, I love your work! Thanks for sharing.

    Rob St. Clair

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