Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Yes, sir! That's my Himotaba

I have a google alert set for Japanese Embroidery and every now and then it provides with me an interesting link. Yesterday it provided me with a surprising link. It took me to an events page on a County Council website which is advertising a lecture on "...the beauty and skill of traditional Japanese Embroidery with local experts and tutors ..." at one of the Council's museums.

On the page there is a picture of Himotaba. In itself not very surprising but this is a picture of My Himotaba used without my knowledge. No one sought my permission to use this picture. Not the 'local experts and tutors' (whom I have never met), nor the Culture, Community and Rural Affairs team that last updated the page; and not the county council web team who maintain the site.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

While I am flattered that my work was chosen as an example "... of the beauty and skill of traditional Japanese Embroidery ...”", I am amazed that none of the parties concerned are concerned with observing copyright. I am amazed that they would use an image without prior consent and not bother to acknowledge the designer (JEC) and/or the embroiderer. Lack of any such acknowledgement implies that the work was designed and stitched by one of the named tutors.

After my initial surprise, I wondered if I was mistaken and if this Himotaba could in fact have been stitched by someone other than me. So how can I be so certain that this is my work? Although this phase piece has been stitched by many Japanese Embroidery students, no two will be identical. The design is available on a variety of fabrics; mine is stitched on gold Nishijin. It does not appear gold in the picture but the rich, smooth appearance of the fabric is still apparent.

Then there is the colour of the cords. I have used a traditional Noh Drama colour scheme; so have many others, but there are many variations on this theme. Ruth and I began Himotaba in the same class. We each had the same palette of colours but a couple of shades apart; my set of silks comprised deep, rich tones.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Even if two students stitched this design on the same fabric with the same coloured silks, they would not produce clones.

Given the method of blending from one colour of thread to another, it would be impossible for one embroiderer to exactly replicate the work of another.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The fade-out on the ends of the cords must surely be as unique as finger prints.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Then there is my tassel! When I first stitched the tassel I thought that it looked too mean for the end of the double central cord.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I stitched extra strands between the existing ones to give the tassel a fuller look. This is an adaptation of the original design. I now realise that I my lines of staggered diagonals should be more like those I eventually stitched on Mr Duck’s neck feathers but I quite like the 'unique feature' on my Himotaba.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

When you spend nearly 150 hours on an embroidery, you get to know it intimately! I know that is my Himotaba.

Happy Stitching.


The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Shocking. I hope you confronted those who stole the photograph and used it for their own purposes. And their superiors.

Elmsley Rose said...

I hope that you contact them, and ask for a printed apology!

kbsalazar said...

Commiserations. Sadly it's very common. I've had lots of pix and even whole text sections and detailed patterns reposted without attributions. Sometimes this was done by those with more good intentions than knowledge of copyright law; and sometimes by folk with less honor. Content aggregators are especially annoying in this regard. Please continue to pursue the issue. Your work is beautiful and deserves defense.

Plays with Needles said...

Go get 'em CA!!!!

Christine said...

And, this is why no pictures are allowed at the Center in Atlanta any more. It's become a huge issue for them, as some folks are even taking their designs, redrawing them, and then selling those as JE designs, as if they are coming directly from the Center.

I personally assume that *anything* I put online can end up anywhere, with or without my name/credits attached. It really is just a matter of time before this can happen to anything that's posted, I'm afraid. I'm sorry this happened to you.

Christine in Oakton, VA

Christine said...

Just wanted to add that now when folks send or show me photos of their work, I ask them for their desires in terms of future sharing. Because, even if I do something as innocent as show it to my classmate, who might be working on that same piece and could benefit, I want to make sure that is A OK with the artist/stitcher. Similarly, when I share my photos, I tell folks if/where they can share. For the most part I put no restrictions on them, since my goal is to further the art of JE, at this stage of my JEducation.

Christine said...

Me again - I was just thinking how my previous comments did not truly relay how sorry I am this happened. I am very glad you contacted them, and would hope that they have the honor to remove your photo and submit a formal apology. I know that I would be fuming, too. However, if they'd asked my permission beforehand, I'd be beaming with pride. It's all about doing the right thing. Let us know how this ends up.

Jane said...

Where is this county council? Maybe we should go along to the talk and see what is going on!!?

Rachel said...

I do wish people weren't so lazy about attributions.

Have you contacted them? Asked for - at the very least - a copyright notice acknowledging you?

Christine said...

Is this the lecture in Hampshire, New Forest & Christchurch? Looks like the photo is gone now? One of the tutors is a graduate of the Center in Atlanta, and should have known better.

Angelcat said...

That is a down right cheek, it's one thing to get permission and then use an image but another thing to do it entirely without your knowledge. Glad you managed to get it sorted out though!

Apex said...

Yes I hope you get them.