Thursday, October 27, 2011

Obedient Yet Perplexed

One of the most important aspects of being an editor is protecting copyright. Funny enough, often this copyright rarely is for me nor Irish Quilting's material.

We promote quilting and we share information. Irish Quilting is a window into the Irish quilt lifestyle, as well as it is a window into the quilting world for those in Ireland.

My expertise is in writing and managing content and a team--not in patchwork nor techniques--this is one of the bigger misconceptions of my job. It is however, correct to say, that my primary focus is to surround myself with expert patchworkers and quilters. And, it is their copyright material that is my top concern.

Can I print it? Is it ok with them? Does the content convey accuracy and relevance?

Whenever quilts are submitted, I find myself repeating..."we CAN ask". Irish quilters, new to the quilt business, frequently say, "it isn't original, it can't be used". As a business focused on promotion of quilting, I urge exploration and compliance. From Eleanor Burns in America to Annie Downs of Australia, we have been permitted to print copyright material other than our own. I like to believe these professionals believe in the same promotion of quilting. However, as proprietors of unique property, it is only correct they be given credit and compensation as they wish. And yet with such righteous entitlement, there has yet to be an owner of copyright material say no.

However, we have had a professional deny permission after the fact. Oye vey. Permission was given in writing--as it should, which makes the encounter sour more. Making matters worse, this copyright is for 'technique'--a gray area in itself.

Before print--we know this particular professional and her views--we sought written permission, despite that many would argue whether technique is even covered under copyright. The professional has since surfaced exclaiming permission extended only to a photo of the quilt. A photo? A photo of a quilt made by a technique that is purportedly covered under her copyright? Now, why would I do that? Only print a photo of quilt that was made with one person's design and another's technique? The quilt design is not hers and lordy, I haven't the heart yet to tell the original designer about the professional's absent mindedness...did I mention, initially, the professional originally denied ever writing to me. I had to send a copy of her own correspondence back to her! Oye vey.

Meanwhile on other places on earth, there are oodles of creators replicating works. The TV is bursting with these 'Ink' reality shows--every episode the artist is inking some Disney or Harley Davidson tat. And just the other day I watched a restoration show where the artist refurbished a Hershey's candy dispensor, logo and all. The artists are accepting payment for these works and, you know, the Discovery channel is writing them a check.

I wonder, who is minding those copyrights?

At the very least, they should mention copyright and how it's handled--it would make those of us, obedient and tortured in compliance, feel better.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just Imagine

A beautiful Irish quilt on the horizon.

That's the cover of our next issue and it's coming soon!

(don't you just love that chair?)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Designs of Another Time

Has anyone else have preconceived notions about antique Irish quilts?

Much as quilting's history in Ireland has been distinctly without a business angle (as in America's patchwork growth and background), my intrepretation was narrowly constructed of quilts that were created out of need and necessity. Some years ago I viewed quilts made of wools and heavy textiles--100 years old stitching recorded the worn remnants of soldiers' uniforms.

Completely sterotyping a persona without more consideration or creativity, I pictured patchworkers of the Irish 1700s and 1800s with little or no design zest, piecing together remnants for warmth and practicality. Fabulous Ulster quilts with red applique dabbled in creativity but without presence, my mind files the olden Irish quilts as ultimately, a utiltarian need.

Last Monday, a viewing of quilts greatly broadened my notion of long ago Irish quilts and their creators. With special permission and guidance, four 1700-1800's quilts of Dublin's Collin Barrack's Museum lie before us. (Unfortunately there was no photography allowed.)

Two quilts were of hexagon piecing. Among six smaller hexagons circling one, great care and design was obvious as it was a multitude of design within designs. This hexagon piecing was clearly a product of fussy cutting, a kalidescope design. In a conceited effort to validate my earlier intrepretations, I do think the size of hexagons, ie., 2" shapes, were inherently scrap fabric in a time when quilting fabric was indeed remnants. However, the creators of these intricate designs and thoughtful coordination of prints and patterns certainly elevated their 'scraps' into contention with any of today's designers' work.

I had the pleasure of viewing these antique quilts with Cathy from City Quilter and we both were really impressed as several prints within the fabrics stood out with familarity. It was amazing to see how perfectly matched are today's designers' reproduction fabrics. Several prints, I felt, were dead ringers for Jo Morton's designs--or at very most, a great-great-great aunt of Jo's!

The shaped edges of the quilts were tidy hexagons kept together with aged, yet still invisible, whipped stitches. In continuing awe we also saw several 'bed covers' covered in colourful embroidery.
Imagine how this impeccible stitching was done in a time without electric lighting!
Honestly seeing these quilts really changed how I visualised quilters in 1700 Ireland. Really, once upon a time they were doing a necessary task--now I can very nearly hear design details shared among these creative ancestors.
Just imagine a time with no rotary cutters, no fusible web, no lamps. These quilters were amazing, nothing short of magicians!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fulfilling Quilters' Quest in Ireland

Our industry is small in Ireland, so when I see the quilting forces working together, it is a great thing!

Check out Karen's blog--Karen is a regular contributor for Irish Quilting and for several other publications. Her designs are always colourful, clean and new for inspiring experienced quilters and beginners. Today she blogs about Quilters Quest, an Irish quilt shop in Belfast Northern Ireland.
She's even doing a great giveaway. Be sure to visit her blog and visit Quilter Quest online.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Big Apples in the Fair City

Monday this week myself and Dermot from the office had the pleasure to visit with Dale and Cathy of City Quilter. They had been visiting in Ireland and we were delighted to meet up in Dublin.

(I have previously met them in Houston and have regularly followed their Manhattan adventures such as creating City Collection fabrics and opening the latest and ONLY Art quilt gallery in NYC!)

Though they had mere days of a tour, we were honoured when we could meet up for a few hours at their hotel. Dermot had been forearmed and planned a little stroll and a visit to the Museum at Collins' Barracks.

Cathy Izzo (City Quilter Owner) Alex Ward (Curator) and myself

Now many here in Dublin know this museum is closed on Mondays. So we were really thankful that Dermot was able to organise a private viewing of some very old antique Irish quilts, categorically filed, "decorative textiles". (I am almost scared to report on this, being I don't want to annoy our lovely currator with similar requests... but it is too good not to share).

Dermot really turned on the charm and with special instruction we went on to view five gorgeous incredible quilts dating from 1700s to early 1900s. Museum quiet and closed, our Currator Alex had to unearth the secure textile boxes, schlep them to a vacant room and find space enough to unfold and layout for viewing. She really went above and beyond to share with us and our friends from the Big Apple. It truly was a grand gesture from the Fair City. My two favourite peoples: Dubs and New Yorkers!

These quilts were exquisite. Hands in gloves, Alex reminded us that photography was not allowed, so goes this blind post. We also want to stress that quilts are, indeed, found on show at the Country Life Museum of County Mayo and NOT in Dublin. So if you want to see incredible textiles like these of olden days of Ireland--olden as in hundred years old--do visit the Country Life Museum in Castlebar.

Dermot is here on left with Dale Riehl (City Quilter Owner), Alex Ward (Currator) Cathy Izzo (City Quilter Owner).