I took a screen printing workshop this weekend. It was a stenciling method I hadn’t tried before, and was a lot of fun. It wouldn’t work for all of my designs, but for some it will be a much quicker way of making a screen. And I learned some tips about squeegees and ink, so all in all a good use of a Groupon and a Saturday afternoon. And I came up with a new design for the purposes of the workshop, so that will be debuting here and in the shop soon – yay!
But there was an odd note to the class. At the beginning, when they were going through what kind of designs would work for this method and what wouldn’t, they showed the work of some people who had previously taken the workshop and left prints behind. Imagine my surprise when the instructor flipped a page over and there was my owl design staring me right in the face in bright orange. Yeah. Someone apparently couldn’t think of their own design and had run across my shop or blog before and decided to just use one of my designs as her own. It didn’t turn out very good, as that design doesn’t translate to stencil too well (too many bits floating in other bits that wouldn’t be attached to the stencil proper), but still. It was surprising, in a not good way. And the person who had done this signed the print, as if it were her own original work. >:-(
You better believe I wrote that name down (or took a photo with my iPhone, whatever). I took to the internet after the class and determined that she doesn’t appear to be reproducing it or attempting to sell it anywhere, it was apparently just for the purposes of the class. And this stencil technique doesn’t yield a permanent screen, so she’d have to completely remake the stencil if she did want to continue reproducing it. But even taking that into consideration, it still threw me for a loop and was upsetting. She wasn’t a past customer, and I didn’t recognize the name from the blog world – she doesn’t even follow me on Twitter. So she’s just some random person here in Austin that hasn’t supported my shop or blog in any way but felt free to reproduce my work. In the midst of my Googling, I did find her contact info; I’ve half a mind to email her saying that if she wanted an owl print in bright orange that badly, I do offer custom color options. Too far? I’m torn between insult/irritation/wanting her to know she was caught, and just letting it go since she’s not profiting from it at all. Hmph.
In other less angry-making news, this afternoon we’re getting new edging done on our front flower beds. No more black rubber border nonsense. We’ll have proper stone edging now. And then I will go to town and plant more hard-to-kill cactus type things (the ones on the back patio have survived the past few weeks, which gives me hope).
How was your weekend? Fellow shop owners, have you ever had to deal with quasi or flat-out plagiarism?