Friday, April 13, 2012


i was not going to get into this discussion. the whole concept of copyright is dauntingly complex. so at first i just ignored the rumblings. then they got stronger. and i started to receive emails directly about the subject. i ignored those too. but i also started doing some research. and what i was seeing alarmed me.  i did not like what i was reading. not about our friend. still i was not going to mention it here. not on this blog. but then on wednesday, a customer asked about the situation in our store. in front of sarah. i was crushed when she then asked me why people were talking about her friend kate.

so i decided to do a post. in sarah style. to help her understand and maybe the pictures will help our readers have a better grasp too.

the kate spain i know showed up on our doorstep on august 14, 2010,(at her own expense i might add), to help us kick off a store that was opening with one hire young adults with developmental disabilities. she befriended my daughter, born with down syndrome, in a way few have.

kate knew there was not going to be much fanfare on this saturday.  we had only been open for four days. we had very little fabric. we did not even have a customer list.

yet, she was gracious and kind. to even the youngest of visitors. signing autographs and taking time to explain the design process.

after our guests left, she asked for her luggage. having come directly from the airport, i assumed she wanted to freshen up. change clothes perhaps.   

instead, she opened a suitcase full of goodies that she brought for us.  there were photo albums, pot holders, towels, scrapbook supplies, aprons, note cards, gift accessories, etc. she had flown an entire suitcase full of items she had designed to leave with us. free of charge. no strings attached.

i was touched beyond words.  she also calmed my fears of entering a new industry. one i had little knowledge of, yet one that felt so right for my daughter and me.

i was extremely impressed with kate's thoughtfulness. she was humble. no glitz. no need to impress. a genuinely sweet person.

so when i started to get emails asking me about my thoughts on her being named the designer involved in the copyright litigation, i was frankly stunned. i truthfully could not believe that kate would do such a thing. so i started pouring over the various blogs discussing the scenario. i was in shock. i just could not believe what i was reading.
could this be the same kate who sent us another package perfectly timed to arrive on our first anniversary?

this time a box filled with new delights. many printed with designs in fandango, the very fabric collection in question.

i went back to the store and read the notecard that kate had written us. it has been prominently displayed in the store since the day we received it.  as i reread the words of this card, i knew in my heart that whatever lead up to this series of events, it was breaking kate's heart. i simply knew from our initial meeting, from the correspondence over the past year and a half, from the phone calls. the voice messages she has left us, that kate did whatever she did because trust had been broken.

as i continued to read unkind words left in comment feeds on her blog and other blogs, my heart was racing. these people did not even know kate. why the hatred. and then i panicked. what would we do if there is no more kate spain fabric? our customers have grown to love kate. i continued to read the comments until i finally got to one that gave a link to the tote bag in question.  i clicked the link...

my gasp was loud. so loud my son heard me on the second floor.  i was dumbfounded to see before my eyes, fandango. large swatches of fandango printed on a mass produced plastic bag. the image had been blown up so significantly, i could not even see a quilt. i knew instantly with that one photo that kate had been taken advantage of. and she had every right and needed to protect her image. her designs. her livelihood.

in all fairness to emily cier, i have not met her, so i have no photos or stories to share like i do with kate. i do have a bit of experience to draw from in receiving legal notices in the mail. it makes your heart pound and your stomach turn in flips. i understand she was nervous. i would have been shaking in my shoes. i do not blame her for her reaction or for blogging about it here and here.

and that is why before i could take this post to print, i wanted to see the book. when it arrived, i fell in love with scrap republic. it belongs in our shop. one copy sold the day they arrived. as i turned each page though, i became a bit more perplexed as to why c&t did not pick one of emily's beautiful and colorful quilts to put on a bag marketing emily's book.

when i finally turned the page and saw the quilt in question, nearly two thirds of the way in...

it's that tiny little quilt on the top left, i was even more stumped. why is this the one they chose to magnify a tiny segment of? i truly do not understand. emily's colorful scrappy quilts are awesome. in my opinion, emily got short changed. and it is a shame.


kate has been very clear. it is not and never was about the book. it was about that tote bag. the mass production of a tote bag without her permission. the kate i know and love encourages creativity. she applauds the efforts of all the creative hands that go into making a display, like this one in our store, possible. she does not want that creative flow to stop.

has the quilting community learned from this? absolutely. i hope with time, the haters will be able to see the kate we know and love dearly.

for the emails asking if we will continue to carry fabric designed by kate spain. you bet we will. for as long as she agrees to design it. i sincerely hope the quilting world has not been so unkind that she will run from making fabric. for that would be a sad day for all of us.

kate has extended an offer to work with emily on a future project. i personally would love to see that happen. their works go together like peanut butter and jelly. and we would love the opportunity to create another front window display featuring them both again.


Anonymous said...

I don't get it...I'll have to do more reading I guess. Did Emily copy kate? What about the bag - does Emily have something to do with that? Confuseddddd.

Cool Cats and Quilts said...

Kate is my favorite fabric designer, and she seems like an absolutely fabulous person, I hope to meet her perhaps at Fall Market. Joyce, I am so happy you posted the article on my facebook page, it was very clear to me that the bag was a copyright infingment, and I did not have to worry about using her fabrics in my designs, thank goodness!! Thank you for writing about this and clearing things up for everyone!

Darlene said...

Written with style and grace. Thank you for posting this.

Blessings to you and your family.

mathangie said...

Very well written Joyce. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with Kate!