5 October 2012

Hurt feelings

Before I toddle off to do household chores this morning I must tell you about a rather upsetting incident which happened a while ago.  This is the story.

I was booked to teach a tatting class.  A few weeks before the class a picture of the piece I was going to teach was put up on the group's web site.  I arrived at the venue to start and was very surprised to have one of the members of the group approach me straight away with the finished item telling me she'd already done it!!  To say I was gobsmacked was the very least.

When I asked how she'd got the pattern she said she'd worked it out from the picture on the web page.

My question is - how would you feel about this?  Why couldn't this person wait for the pattern - especially if they were intending to come to the class anyway?

I suppose it's inevitable that a design can be copied off the internet but surely it's bad manners to then flaunt it in front of the person who's taken the time and trouble to design it, annotate it, then draw it and finally turn up to TEACH it?  I felt really hurt that somebody would undervalue my time and effort in this way.

Is it coming to a place and time now when it's not worth writing down a pattern?  Think how much time I would save and how many more projects I'd get done if I didn't write everything down.  Should we now just make something and put a picture on a site so people can copy it?  Is this the beginning of the end of copyright laws, intellectual property and the demise of respect?  I wonder.


Margarets designer cards said...

I think I would feel the same why did they publish the picture in the first place, would it have been better for them to wait until you had done the class, if she is that good and can work out a pattern from a picture what is she doing in your class. I think she had very bad manners to put it under your nose.

Valerie said...

Oh NO! I feel your hurt. That's utterly rude, not to mention respect for intellectual property and the designer! Surely she can check with you to see if you would release the pattern and she could then tat it.

Maureen said...

Two-edged sword, the internet; but rest assured that there is no way that I would EVER be able to replicate a pattern from a picture, I need it all nicely written out with the i's dotted! -
Maybe your student genuinely did not realise that she had overstepped the mark.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

That would upset me as well, especially since it was a class you were to be teaching. Maybe sneak peeks, just tiny bits of the tatting should be shown, rather than the entire piece. I never would have thought I could figure out a pattern by looking at a picture until I tried the Yes-U-Can challenge at InTatters and the challenge posted by Miranda with the piece of fabric from JoAnn's. I certainly don't think that gives me the right to boldly copy someone else's work, though!

Michelle said...

I'm sorry for the thoughtlessness of this person. Please don't stop writing and diagramming, that is such a gift that you give to so many around the world. You are amazingly talented, hard-working and generous, such a rare combination! The tatting community would suffer a huge loss if you we're to stop.

Jane McLellan said...

Very bad manners. But please know that many of us appreciate the time and effort you put into writing patterns.

TAT19540 said...

I agree. You give us so much that it would be a crime to stop. I think it bad manners and even though there are pictures and she figure it out, there are different ways to do things that we all learn from you! I didn't thank you enough at Tat Days for what I learned from you! Whoever it was missed the greatest opportunity there, to learn from a master! Of course you have seen first hand my attempt at grasping the easiest thing you had at Tat Days .:) please keep doing what you do, there millions of us who need you!

Margaret said...

Some folk just have to 'sandbag' the speaker/teacher. Small minds.

TotusMel said...

When I started learning I did that,worked from pictures that is, but it was because I had no access to a teacher and patterns were harder to come by. It kind of boggles my mind they'd do that and come to a class where they could learn right. Maybe it's a lack of patience brought on by the Internet. I imagine there are more patterns that cannot be figured out from a picture than can though especially some of your tricksy ones, so I wouldn't worry on it becoming an epidemic...I hope.

Crazy Mom! said...

I've had the very same thing happen to me. Makes me crazy.

But you can't let this stop you. I imagine that this person had no idea it would offend, and was only trying to work out some tatting that she thought looked fun to make.

Susie said...

Dear Jane,

I am so appreciative of the time and effort that goes into writing patterns and diagrams that I would think the tatting world would be much poorer without those generous souls who are willing to do so. I'll also have to agree with TotusMel that sometimes, when a pattern isn't available, that "working it out" is good practice for a new designer. I've done a few from pictures where a pattern was not given, but I will typically say where I saw the picture. I definitely would not show up at a class with an "I'm done" attitude. All that said, once something is posted on the internet, someone will probably figure out how to do it without the pattern...unless the pattern is HARD. Ring/chain only patterns have probably been done at some point in time already and are rarely completely original...even if someone has not looked anywhere else while they were designing. (YesterYear Designs on Etsy is one creator who works from older patterns that I've seen republished decades later.)

I might have just told the lady, "Since you are finished, you may be dismissed."


Anonymous said...

I feel this person was very rude not only to you but,to the rest of the class. Don't let one persons lack of tact keep you from sharing your lovely patterns with the rest of us tatters! You were the very first blog I came upon when I started to tat and you can never fully realize what an inspiration you and your patterns/techniques have been to me!(we had no computer back then and I traveled 20 minutes away once a week to our local library just to use their computer and go to your blog) I probably would have given up after learning rings and chains had it not been for your wonderful technique pages that explained so much for me!! Please do not give up!!!

Jane Eborall said...

Don't you all worry - I'll not change the way I go about my life!!! Old dogs and new tricks springs to mind!!! I enjoy what I do and will continue until I fall off my perch!!!
Susie - if only I'd thought to say that (your last sentence)!!! I never think fast enough!
TotusMel - I agree that sometimes people work from pictures because the pattern isn't available BUT I don't know of anybody who would go bragging about it to the designer!!!

StringyDogs said...

Oh gee whiz. Sometimes people are so excited about being able to do something they forget all else. I think she meant to show it to you like a student would to the math teacher. "See, I figured it out! Aren't I smart?"

Well, yes and no.

I am sorry. The tatting groups have done a lot to inspire respect for talent, copyrights, and giving credit where it is due. That said, we can't instill thoughtfulness.

We have all benefited from your wonderful third brain cell and its (and your) talent. Please don't let the 1% of thoughtless people keep you from knowing what a treasure you are to all of us!

And, yes, I would have been speechless.

Marty said...

Speechless, indeed! I think there are probably any number of people who try to make something they see only in a picture. Some are successful, some not -- but I don't think they go around bragging on it to the hard working designers. Aside from anything else, that's just incredibly bad manners. I'm glad that experience hasn't convinced you to stop making your wonderful patterns available to the rest of us. Thanks, Jane!

Julie Romero said...

I am very appreciative of the time you have spent on your many patterns and technique pages, I find them very helpful and a wonderful source of learning. I would absolutely love to attend a class taught by you, I know I would learn so much.

That being said, I have experienced similar situations. I used to teach a lot of classes in a variety of computer programs and how to use e-mail/internet/what-have-you's...and I remember occasionally getting a "student" who for one reason or another already had done it all, knew it all, or wanted to show me up in one way or another. Some did it to show how much of a "star" pupil they were, others seemed to just need to be best, others...well perhaps they were that way by nature. If possible, I generally made them my helper. It got them out of my hair and filled whatever need they had in their one-up-manship. Can't always be done, and it's exceedingly rude of them in the first place (one wants to just ask them to leave), but it was suprisingly effective...and they usually learned from it how much one can learn from teaching others and learned something from me in the end as well.

Copying patterns, while I don't think it is right in this day and age, is likely what kept tatting alive in the past. I remember my Grandmother seeing something in a museum she liked...sketching it out on a scrap of paper and sitting down later to replicate whatever pattern it was that she liked. She was an amazing tatter, but really had a limited number of patterns at her disposal...so anything tatted that she ran across was perused with great interest for new ideas. A lot can be learned, too, in recreating something that one has seen.

Now, we are so fortunate to have people like yourself who take the time to expore new ways of doing things and have clever minds who can dream up new schemes for putting together these beautiful rings and chains that we love...and who are kind and generous enough to share their time and talent with the rest of us. I believe that that should be respected and am saddend by the lack of respect shown to you by that person. Please do not let it change your thoughts on the value of what you do nor keep you from it, as the tatting world would be much poorer for it. I would like to personally say thank you for all that you have contributed, I know that I value what you do and am grateful to you for teaching me a number of techniques.

Bree at "Bree's Way" said...

I am so sorry for what happened Jane, and she was rude and definately in the wrong! I also have worked from pictures, but they have always been from non copy writed images, or pieces I have kept just for my self just for the sake of tatting, and not given or shown to anyone else. I have always bought the pattern, asked permission and given credit to who ever's pattern it was and with permission because it would hurt me just as deeply as it hurt you. I can't believe she had the "balls" brag, which is what she was doing, to your face that she had completed the project already and from the pattern.

My suggestion would be put up a smaller image, so you can see the finished project, but not in any way see the stitches or the count, then it is so much harder for snotty pants students to copy it on next classes.

don't ever change, you are wonderful the way you are, she was the rude person who was wrong, and I hope she reads our statements!

LibraryLady said...


There's no accounting for bad taste. I agree wholeheartedly with each and every statement that's already been made here. You are so deeply appreciated for everything you've done for tatters, pattern writers, and in making friends even if we're only in the bits and bytes version.

Yes, please, don't ever change. Keep on doing all the good work I need to see. You're inspiring and cheery and I can count on you to make me smile so often. You're a joy ~

Hugs from me!
Heidi in MN

picotsnkeys said...

Dear Jane-

I am so sorry you had a bad experience. You are a talented, creative (I could add any number of positive adjectives) individual. Please do not let this continue to trouble you.

I have run into such situations often. As a student (yes, I've behaved in such a way), as a teacher (mostly with very talented beginners), and as a parent (my daughter has given me many opportunities to learn). A wise teacher once told me that a teacher must be very humble. It didn't make sense at the time, but as I've lived, I understand the meaning more and more.

As I studied music, my teachers would often assign pieces as I walked out the door. Once, I was so proud of how well I'd mastered the assignment. After I finished playing the piece, my teacher was quiet. Then: "I can teach you nothing with this piece. I can coach you in your performance, and I can mentor you in your teaching this piece, but you have learned what I wished to teach you with this piece."

Teaching has taught me patience, the art of listening, and stretched my creativity much more than I could imagine. It's usually those students who don't know much that teach me the most.

As a parent, I've had the opportunity to be on the other side of the desk. When my daughter was too young to curb her rate of learning, she would regularly bowl over her teachers. They would be driven absolutely nuts. I became adept at listening, although I can say that I'm still not good at counseling. What can you say when you see so much hurt inflicted in learning by someone you are responsible for? It is hard to affirm talents of everyone.

Please continue to create. Please continue to share. Please continue to teach. Our world needs everyone. That teacher that told me to be humble? Another saying they shared: "It takes the whole of life to learn how to live."

To life!!

Miranda said...

I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a picture on your blog and thought, "I can't wait till she releases the pattern!" I often analyze the pictures to see how you did it, and in some cases I do figure it out. But I would never dream of actually tatting it until the pattern is released, because it is YOUR pattern.

In this case, I don't understand why she would do that when she knew she was going to take the class anyway; or conversely, why she bothered to take the class if she could figure out the pattern on her own. Either way, it was definitely bad manners, but she probably didn't realize it. Some people truly don't understand how much work goes into creating a new design and writing it up.

I agree with Bree's suggestion for future classes. Release a photo of the finished project so they can see what they'll be making, but make it so small that they can't see all the details.

God's Kid said...

All I can say is that I really appreciate those of you who create and design patterns and share with those of us who aren't really designers or that creative, and who really don't have the ability to look at a picture and figure it all out. I know there are some who can, but I am sure there are more of us who cannot.
Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work, and your willingness to share it with us!! :)

Alexandrite Woman said...

I understand your hurt feelings, and agree with all you wrote. Her thinking that it was a testament to her skills and desire to "please the teacher" probably overrode her common sense and spirit guide. This may not be a trend, although I believe competitiveness in nearly every aspect of our lives is so pervasive that it may happen again.

I'm sorry you were hurt, and admire your ability to both write about it and do so so well. If time and distance let you, maybe you can see this from both the tatter natter's perspective and our changing world behavior, and then decide how you want to proceed. You have a gift that when shared increases the beauty in the world beyond measure.

You rule!

Ladytats said...

The nerve of some people! She had to know that you were going to teach the motif, she got the picture off the website for heavens sake.

Jane you are so special in the amount of tatted items that you and brain cell 3 come up with. It would be a sad day for the tatting world if you would change your ways.

Thank you for being willing to share your patterns with the rest of us who have no access to a 3rd brain cell.

Blessings on a long and prolific tatting life.

victats@gmail.com said...

I read somewhere that today is your birthday so Happy Birthday! I suspect that your bragger finds it challenging to figure out how a pattern was done. She's probably a huge fan of your work and has no clue. You've hit a certain celebrity status that's allowed people to see you as an icon. So this Tatter was excited about figuring out how you think and then seeing if she was right. You'll be chased by the tatterazzi next, Such is the life of the famous... Or infamous?
May this year bring you lots of thread, beads and shuttles.

Sharon said...

Jane, that woman was so rude. To have the nerve to do such a thing -- and flaunt it. May her threads always tangle, knot, shred and break.

Please don't ever stop designing and sharing your amazing patterns and techniques. I have learbed so much from your pattern and technique pages and refer to them often.

Ladytats said...

According to Sue Anna, this is the anniversary of your birth.
So, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Jane, Happy Birthday to you.
And many moree..........

Maureen said...

Yes, me too - I've come back to say Happy Birthday! - I think it's still Friday over there!

Kathy Niklewicz said...

Just HAD to come by to wish you a Happy Birthday! I may be a few hours late, but it's still the 5th here at 9:15 pm in Pittsburgh, PA! I believe I've mentioned before that you and I are very close in age, but you have WAY more energy than I do! Wish I knew your secret! And you know how very much we all admire your incredible talent for designing and drawing patterns. It's actually quite mind-boggling! I hope you're making a weekend celebration of your Special Day! You deserve it!

Anonymous said...

I too feel you are one of the great teachers of our time...I for one have made many of your animal patterns as I prefer patterns the ones of the animals you don't have to guess what it is when you show it to someone.....

Michelle said...

Dear Heidi,
I can't believe I've found you through a blog from England! I am a tatter from Saint Paul!!!!! If you would like to tat sometime with me and Cindy (a Happy Bluebird), we'd love to have you join us! October 22nd is our next get together. Email me at Magistravitt at gmail. Dot. Com for info. Gosh we'd love to have you join us.

Batty Tatter said...

WOW. I sure hope all these replies have made you feel better. Please know that we all feel that you are an international treasure. (I like that remark about the tatterazzi by Victats, very cute.) You have kept the art of tatting alive and well. I, personally, have always harbored the idea that some day, I'd posses something tatted by you. Maybe someday.
That said, I hope you can forgive that thoughtless person. Sometimes over zeal and a lack of experience can cause one to tread on toes.
So, please don't change. You are well loved and much needed.

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