Thursday, August 10, 2006

Belle Chrysanthemum

As you have very possibly seen, Amy Butler has a new fabric line out. It is just as lovely as her previous lines, and maybe slightly more funky. Anyway, I was checking them out and noticed that the "Chrysanthemum" print looks almost just exactly like this tablecloth I picked up at a garage sale for 50 cents. Here's the Amy Butler print at repro depot in the mustard colorway. Neat, huh? I think I have found Amy's inspiration.What will happen to this tablecloth? Not sure. It has a couple of grease stains I couldn't get out. Maybe I will be ambitious and make a grown up pinafore apron for tie one on. Maybe.


Blogger Judy said...

Inspriation? That's a dead ringer if I ever saw one! Think she paid the original designer??

Be very careful about what you purchase, her new fabrics come with a notice on the selvedge that states they are for personal use ONLY.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

That is *uncanny*. If she didn't pay off the original designer she owes that person a check.

As for the grease stains, if you're like me and Lady Macbeth ("Out, damned spot! Out, I say!"), try treating the spots repeatedly with either bar soap or Zout and throwing the tablecloth it with your regular loads of dark laundry. Persistence pays off. I've gotten many a grease stain out with moderate amounts of plain soap and tons of persistence.

7:43 PM  
Blogger mo said...

I agree with Judy! Thats a pretty liberal interpretation of "inspiration"! Your tablecolth is darling!

8:19 PM  
Blogger Di said...

I agree- that's not just inspiration. That's a copy.
I hope she's paid for the right to use it and call it her own!

2:39 PM  
Blogger Ibby Bee Quilts said...

Wow! You are, great find and deal!

3:04 PM  
Anonymous mangetsu said...

And a great find!

8:45 PM  
Anonymous kathy said...

I keep telling my daughter to work on her original art instead of tracing (why do kids like do to that so much?). Guess I'm just not business minded enough :)

9:29 PM  
Blogger k8tykat said...

definitly a copy. the only thing she changed was that red rose. so i guess the inspiration isn't as fresh as i had thought. everyone is inspired by everything else.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

I was browsing the net for fabric the other day, as you do...

When I happened to see this Alexander Henry fabric at equilter:

Then not an hour or so later, I stumbled across a vintage fabric website, and what did I see? This, the original 50s Barkcloth version!

I think it's pretty rude to pass off someone else's work as your own.

The Alexander Henry website attributes the design to "Nicole".

5:45 AM  
Blogger mimulus said...

that 50's barkcloth thing is too freaky to be acoincidence. I bet the antique person bought brand new cloth, washed it, aged it and is sellign it at $75 a yard. IT happens all the time on ebay..things that are antiques on ebay I hav recently seen at marshalls or Ross for a fraction of the porice. Caveat emptor.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Tami said...

There was a shop in Burbank, CA that sold pieces of antique/vintage fabric to apparel designers to use in their clothing lines. It's done all the time. Nothing truly new under the sun. But still it's funny to see something that's so close to the original. At what point does "inspiration" collide with copying?

12:34 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

If you look closely at the "Barkcloth" version - there are subtle differences, especially in the expressions on the people's faces. Alse the cloth clearly looks to be barkcloth rather than lightweight cotton.

I wonder though, just how long copyright exists on designs? Does it have a time period, before it becomes public domain?

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to textile design, designers have been working anonymously for centuries, lifting designs from one another and from other sources constantly. I've looked through pattern books to find fresh, modern-looking designs from the 18th century, which is awesome, and a real eye-opener on how design can be timeless.

Having said that, it's super lame for a well-known contemporary designer to pass off someone else (even Mr/Ms Anonymous)'s design as their own copyrighted creation. And whatever happened to "fair use" with fabric? I know I'll be more careful about how I spend my money.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Amy Butler said...

Hello Everybody!

I hope my note finds you well. I just wanted to share some information with all of you in response to a thoughtful comment by a fellow blogger on quilter' The anonymous blogger asks
" I wish she would tell us about her inspiration" in reference to my fabric designs, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do just that.

This person is referencing a vintage table cloth of the same print I recently worked with in my Belle collection. Yes, It's not uncommon to find a documentary swatch of fabric in two places. I combine vintage designs that are purchased through documentary swatch houses, so they make sure the design is in the public domain and copyright free. It has to do with the age of the design. The various fabric houses purchase their designs at different markets, so it's easy to see overlap with usage in multiple companies, and still be able to find the original vintage swatch. A few years ago I bought a piece at a fabric show and noticed a Ralph Lauren designer buying the same piece, I decided not to use it just in case. Using vintage documents is a very common practice in the fashion, home decor and quilting fabric industry. You may be familiar with several of the quilting companies that create pure " reproduction fabrics " meaning they use the exact antique fabric and many times the same coloration. In the cases of my designs where I use vintage documents , I make significant changes from the original inspiration.

I use a combination of heavily-manipulated and changed documentary designs, some just the way they are (usually re-colored, resized), and many of my designs are completely original art. I re-color, resize, and basically combine and collage my collections using the best of the past and present. I want them to feel 'familiar yet surprising' and so there's that outside chance one of my prints, or part of a print it could appear on your grandma's kitchen wall. I started out years ago hand-painting all of my own designs, but found the look of combining those with vintage was a great blend. I'm sure the blog author wasn't aware of this arm of the design industry, or how common it is to find overlap.

I hope my note is helpful and I'm so thrilled that people are passionate enough to make comments as it's an indication that they care about their creative endeavors and their creative community.

Please write me any time, I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Sewing!

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Twirly Girl said...

Interesting clarifications from Ms. Butler. So does that mean that she takes a design that was previously in the public domain and copyright free and essentially claims the rights for herself? Like how a number of contemporary music artists (Rolling Stones come specifically to mind) bought up the rights for lyrics and music by old blues/folk/jazz musicians who felt that their music was part of the public domain free for interpretation by fellow artists.

I'm paraphrasing Lawrence Lessig who has written several really interesting books and teaches about the history and development of our present mindset regarding intellectual property, copyrights, and patents. It made me realize that all this copyright stuff is all about who can grab the biggest piece of the pie the fastest and how we're all goaded to think of everything as a commodity (including ourselves and our talents) rather than part of a community of creative, generative individuals.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Heels said...

It is common practice to lift something from the public domain and make it one's own, I think. Look at Dover clip art and, if you have great interest in fabric and textile design, particularly at the Phaidon-like massive new, expensive coffee table book that's nothing but uncopyrighted designs ripe for the taking. If I can find it, I will link it.

I think if you have an interest in vintage, then it can be about who gets to the good stuff the fastest, but I like to think that when it comes to creativity and copyright and women in creative businesses, it's about genuine talent and (the part that always gets me, although I guess the talent part might, too, heh) discipline in growing a business.

So, if a textile artist rounds out her collection of originals with an appropriately fitting vintage piece, it doesn't bother me, but I can see how it might bother some. I'm probably not in the majority with that thought, I realize.

The "for personal use only" is a whole other chestnut, isn't it?

9:34 AM  
Blogger sharon said...

I'm the antique dealer who sold the 50's original barkcloth at $75 a yard - yes it was original and old!!

Nicole bought 4 yards from me for "bedroom curtains"! Of course I have no control over what a customer does with fabric - and it's up to them to determine if there's a current copyright before reusing the design.

But the user "mimulus" has no right to say I bought new fabric and sold it as old - first she should visit my site - - and see what I sell. NO repros, all genuine vintage fabrics!


10:58 AM  
Anonymous Susan said...

So how do you determine if the fabric is copyright free?

6:34 AM  

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