Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Real Talk & A Long Overdue Update

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com
Greeting friends! I know it has been a while since my last post...and real talk - it is because I have been struggling...and when I am struggling, I close off into my own little work bubble and focus on tasks. I truly believe that happiness is something we create and when I am blue (or in this case heartbroken), rather than mope and/or cry, I work...I dive deep into studio projects, cleaning, yardwork...anything to keep me busy enough not to be sad. I hibernate - I stay away from people and focus on anything that will give me a sense of accomplishment. A couple months ago, Kansas was starting to feel like home and my creativity was blooming...but these last several weeks have truly been a test, both personally and professionally.

I removed my last blog post in mid-May, a couple days after I shared it...it was my Full Heart Farm Quilt for the Poppie Cotton Fabric Tour...and to be honest, I just left it sitting in my drafts trying to decide what to do with it. I have always been very honest with my readers and do my best to keep it real here. If you have visited my blog before, then you know that creativity is in the foundation of who I am - I have been designing cross stitch and quilt patterns for nearly 20-years and have been in the industry for almost 23-years. Like most artists and designers, I have my own style and it is recognizable. 

Before I share a bit more on this subject - a few details: I have been working with Poppie Cotton (a fabric company) for quite some time, creating for their Fabric Tours - they send me a fat quarter stack of a new fabric collection (at no charge) months before release and I design and play with it. I take photos of my projects to help showcase their fabrics - I do this for personal satisfaction and enjoyment and they do not pay me. I just love their fabric collections and working with them brings me joy. I send them the images of my projects and I post here and on all my social media accounts to raise awareness and excitement for their new fabric lines. If I make any money from these projects, it is because of consumer interest in my design(s) and I write a pattern for purchase, listing Poppie Cotton as a fabric source. When I am working on my projects, I have no idea what other creators are making, like I said I am usually working on my ideas months before the fabric is even released. 

My Full Heart Farm Wall Hanging (shown in my last post, which I am reactivating, but removing links and details about a pattern) was created in my normal fashion - I sat down with a fat quarter stack from the Poppie Cotton Farm Girls Unite fabric collection, uploaded fabric swatch images into EQ8 Quilt Design Software and designed my sampler quilt....doing what I always do - creating from the theme of the fabric and design motifs.

I was extremely proud of this quilt - I spent days upon days designing and creating my wall hanging (as my regular readers know, I am a pleaser and perfectionist and put my whole heart into each project - I wanted it to be something Poppie Cotton would be proud to share). Since any work I do is a reflection on my Blue Ribbon Designs brand, I give 110%, no matter what.

Several days after I made my original post, I received a message from Lori at Poppie Cotton saying my quilt had "definite similarities" to a quilt they designed for the same collection. It went on to say "we know how hard it is to be unique in the creative industry but striving to be unique really does validate our creativity" and [we] "would only hope you are true to your process." Basically challenging my creativity, my idea, my uniqueness, my process and my design/professional integrity....and it all came from someone I admired in the industry. Probably the worst words an artist can ever hear.

As someone who has struggled to make ends meet for many years because of the passion I have for all things done with a needle and thread, there are not words to tell you how heartbroken I was by these words. I have spent 20-years of my life building my brand with my own original designs. I deal with stealing of my ideas/designs and copyright infringement on a daily basis. Had I known any of the elements I was including in my quilt were being used by another creator, I would have steered far away from them, definitely not copied them. I know the artist the I am...and I know I have always been true to my process...and I know I put my heart and soul into every single project...but it still hurts...it hurts bad. I found myself trying to defend who I am as an artist and that is the lowest place to be...I found myself struggling.

When I received the message and removed my posts, I had not seen the quilt they designed....and after searching, I could only find a partial image of it (now a full image and pattern have been released). The two quilts have a couple of block element similarities, but (in my opinion) they are VERY different. While, their Amazing Grace quilt is truly lovely and a work of art, it is not really my style...so I am not sure why those specific words were sent to me. I am not trying to downplay Lori's feelings - she feels differently and I cannot change or control that. I have spent days over-thinking this situation and analyzing her words (yep, we all know that is me). I will continue to be cheerleader for Poppie Cotton and I definitely want them to succeed...but going forward, I'll just be doing it silently with a heavy heart.

I guess I am explaining all of this, because I need to lighten my load - clear the air - let this go and forget about it. I've let it rent a space in my mind for too long. I know a new opportunity will come along that will give my creativity wings - one where my uniqueness and creativity are appreciated and my joy can shine. I'll keep working on my own designs - cross stitch and quilting - and releasing them on my own terms for those who love and respect my work. This new speed bump is just pushing me down another path. My heart will mend and I'll find my true happy place again. For now, I find myself focusing on tasks and projects...reflecting and renewing my spirit.

Yes, new cross stitch designs are on the way - I apologize they are taking longer than planned - in fact, I am trying to get all the needlework finishing work I have done and off my plate, so I can focus on my own designs. That is my task right now - my mind numbing project - needlework finishing orders. There was a time when needlework finishing brought me so much joy - but I can honestly say after a conversation with a client last week, I don't know if  needlework finishing is something I will continue - if I do, it will be for a very limited number of clients...and those are clients who trust my abilities, let me be creative, give me minimal instruction and don't insult me (especially when they ask my advice and don't like the answer). I do have a very small handful of clients that I love working with and the projects they send are enjoyable (you know who you are)…but for the most part, I have learned that needlework finishing is a thankless job that takes loads of time and supplies and makes me pennies on the hour...and these projects are definitely not lucrative enough (creatively or financially) for me to be treated unkindly or disrespectfully. Another life lesson...I seem to be learning a lot of them lately.

To bring some happiness into this post - we had a lovely vacation at the end of April/beginning of May in the Smokey Mountains. Our secluded cabin was incredible and we took advantage of the the outdoor fireplace, hot tub, game room and jacuzzi. We did a lot of outdoor sightseeing, just breathing in the fresh mountain air. We relaxed and refreshed our spirits. We did take in a few of the local sights and a couple touristy things - but for the most past, we used the time to slow down, unplug and be outdoors. I did take some great photos and may or may not do a long-overdue blog post sharing them.

The photos in this post are of my front yard flower garden and the flower pots on my porch. My dear friend Kimber gave me a gift certificate for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for my birthday and I decided to try planting seeds in all my pots this year - something I have never done before. I guess my momma's green thumb and advice has nurtured me, because all my seeds sprouted and are blooming and growing...and it has truly been a highlight for me the last few weeks. My mom gets daily texts from me with photos sharing my excitement...and I have shared a few photos on my Instagram story. We also completed a big landscaping project in our backyard last weekend. Another note of happy - we finally purchased some patio furniture, installed a fabulous privacy screen on our patio...and installed a storm door, so the dogs can enjoy a view of the front yard (but mostly because it keeps them contained when the doorbell rings)…

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

I have a million and one creative photos to share (well, maybe not a million, but there are over 11,000 images on my iPhone right now - true story)...so I'll make time to share some of my finishes with you...and maybe when I feel a bit more myself, I will post a new FlossTube video...some wounds of the heart just take a little longer to heal. Rest assured, things are buzzing along in my studio...and I be back to share more happy, creative posts soon!

7 comments:

  1. First let me say that although I do not know you personally, I believe that that would not be something your creative self would do. Now tben,your photos of your garden and of course yourfurbaby are wonderful.

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  2. So sorry about what happen ,but like Gracie we know you would not copy any part of someones work .
    Love the flowers in your garden .
    Have a fun week.

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  3. I am so sorry you have been upset by thoughtless comments. When you think about it, if you have the same pieces of fabric as another person, there are only so many combinations of squares and triangles etc that you can make, so it isn't surprising that there might be areas of similarity. I am very annoyed that the person making those comments, in the position that she holds isn't aware of that. Please don't worry unduly, we all love you.

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  4. I'm so sorry that happened to you.
    I would think all quilts have a few similarities, maybe small, but similar.
    That would make me stop designing for them, for sure, seeing that you don't get compensated anyway.
    Just remember, we all love what you create.
    I hope you have better days ahead.
    Marilyn

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  5. Love your plant and flower pictures, dear friend. I bet Schatzi and Garin love the new door and the view. Your front entry looks so inviting. Can't wait to see your backyard space.

    I am truly sorry that you have had to deal with issue. While it stinks and 'sucked' the joy out of that project, those who know you know you don't copy others' work.

    Thinking of you!

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  6. Remember you have no control over what others say and do but only how you react to them. And as always, you reacted with class and professionalism. ((Hugs)) to you

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  7. Belinda: I am saddened that this happened to you, maybe she should have done a little research before talking to you the way she did.
    The Amazing Grace Quilt is very similar to many that were made years ago.
    Many quilts share the same qualities in designs, I Pray this will not bother you any longer.
    You are an amazing quilt designer and hope you continue to design well into the future.
    I have a friend who does finishing, she also says its pennies she earns, sadly some people think finishers should almost give there talents away.
    I am looking forward to seeing your new designs.
    You are an amazing Lady.
    Your fur babies are adorable, how nice to have a screened place to sit without bugs bothering you.
    Love the floral photos.
    Your front porch looks so comforting and welcoming.
    I hope you have a positively beautiful week

    Catherine

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