Bits & Pieces

Bits & Pieces

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?


  1. Oh heeeeeell no. I don’t blame you for wanting to contact her! That is not cool. Isn’t that the worst, too – not knowing who is hijaking your work and doing whatever they please with it. Did you mention this to the instructor? I don’t know what good it would have done, but they might have wanted to be aware. I’m sorry you had to face this. 🙁

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I brought it up to the instructor. Bit of a small world moment. She tried to assure me that the copier wasn’t trying to sell it and probably wouldn’t succeed anyway if she did because she wasn’t very artistic. She also kind of hesitantly said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Ha. I think she was feeling awkward about it and just trying to make me feel better, but either way she’s aware now.

  2. Putting on my librarian hat, as long as she’s not reproducing or making money off your design, it’s considered fair use. I’d definitely keep tabs on her just to be sure it doesn’t come to that, but contacting her would just make you look bad (since she’s within her rights to do what she did). I’m sure it didn’t feel good to see your work like that, but on the plus side, your work is obviously inspiring to other people!

    1. I had thought fair use meant if they were taking something and adding to it/ including it in something else? I didn’t think it meant just a straight up copy. She didn’t add anything of her own interpretation, it was just my design in its entirety. I need to beef up on copyright law.