Wednesday, 13 July 2011

quando, quando, quandary

Sorry if I have been a bit lax in posting lately but the headspace has been a bit muddled and there has been a lack of photos. Last week was all a bit mixed up and I feel like I have a 'hangover' from that. With one thing and another I'm not getting enough time in the studio and it's effecting me, making me feel antsy and angst-y and annoyed. I'm probably needing my yearly break two months earlier than normal this year.
After having very stupid issues yesterday when working on the blanket quilt panels (sewing too many rows on and not feeling like there was enough variety in checks and colours) I went out dumpster diving today and filled the back of the car up with woollen blankets. Home now smells like a wet sheep with the rugs drying on every door and banister. I've been doing a bit of late night glove dyeing trying to catch up on some orders that need to go out. There are still mountains of blankets piled in the kitchen and I have dyepots ready to be heated up in the morning. I am attempting to plan my day tomorrow. The overwhelming need to be in the studio versus the overwhelming need to dye gloves- quandary.
Saturday was a curiously busy day punctuated with visits from a lot of friends I haven't seen in ages. It was also a day of strange occurrences at the end of a week of ups and downs. I've been trying to work out how to deal with a situation that happens quite often in the shop, I view it as being about 'shop etiquette' and especially about shop etiquette when the shop is designer/craftsperson/maker owned and run. Last week I was forwarded a press release about someone in Sydney obviously using my blanket quilts as 'inspiration' for their new range and this particular person likes to come into the Cottage when she is down in Melbourne. Then on Saturday I had a woman in who came to the counter to buy a tea towel shopping bag, as I wrapped it she said 'my mother has lots of these tea-towels' (nothing wrong there, we get that often and expect it with the materials we use) then she went on to say ' I'm going to copy this bag when I get home- but don't worry I come from Queensland'. I have to say I was lost for words and had that brain freeze moment of being totally unsure of what I could say that would let her know how wrong and impolite this comment was. Some friends have suggested that I should have asked her to leave the shop but I find that in these blogging days it is very hard for someone to get away with righteous indignation when it would end up being portrayed as 'how dare that bitch throw me out of her shop?!'.
I think owner/makers have a great deal to put up with dealing with a generation or two used to mall and chainstore shopping. I know I am going to be copied (we have had some doozy happenings in the shop with people blatantly  on the prowl and, yes, we can pick them without a word being spoken- in fact that is one way the radar goes off, when they won't talk to us or look us in the eye), I accept it but really I don't want to know about it. If you are intending to copy something then please have the decency to not discuss it whilst in my shop. Whenever I have commented on the issue of copying or plagarism I have received rather nasty emails from total strangers having a go at me that my work is not original and suggesting that I either trawl the internet for ideas or that I don't look at the web enough to realise I am not unique. The whole point of Cottage Industry is about using reinterpreting traditional products and skills but I still work on creating these products from start to finish, I design and sample, I draft the patterns and search out the skills and techniques I need to utilise to make the finished product. I don't have time to sit in front of my computer 'researching' as some people seem to do, I'm too busy trying to find the time to get everything I need to do done.
So this is the 'background interference' that I have had to work with lately. I'll probably get some snarky email come through that I will 'write' a long and witty reply to in my head and then end up feeling empty and drained and won't bother actually typing and sending.
At least it will keep me amused whilst I sit at my sewing machine.


  1. Raaaaarghhhhhhhh! Right with ya Pen!
    Silly and thoughtless "lady!" No imagination of her own my friend.
    Mmmm, wet wool, can be smelly can't it! Hope you are feeling better,

    Sarah x

  2. I cannot believe people who blatantly rip-off the work of others - just comfort yourself that they are sad people without an original thought and will come and go pretty quickly.
    Also Pen your things are of such unbelievable quality and beauty and imagination that I could just as easily hang them on the wall as art as wear or use them.
    I think your style is well known now, so the janey-come-latelys look like the weak copyists they are.
    don't let the thieves/plagiarists ( because that is what they are, make no mistake, if they are trying to profit rather than just make a little piece for fun) get you down.

  3. I agree with library girl. Your style is definitely well known now. I like to think I can spot your things from a mile away! And the quality of your products is what makes us keep coming back for more!

  4. oh pet, what a downer! Makes me feel supremely embarrassed that I came from Brisvegas... My mum always said (when I copied my sisters) that copying was the most sincere form of flattery... hope it makes you feel a bit better. xoxo

  5. Marjee's right, but it doesn't help the brain cells working overtime on how to assassinate idiots! Stupidity will fail - karma etc.


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