If you are a celebrity and your picture is taken and published, even if you are walking down the street, the designer of every visible item of clothing is identified. In fact this is so common, the captions will even say “_________’s own ring” for a visible wedding ring.
If you exhibit at the ANG Seminar, you must give the name of the designer in order to have your project photographed.
But if you show off a completed piece of your stitching on the Internet these days, most stitchers seem to find that identifying the designer is avoided. What you so often find is that someone will list who designed the stitch guide, but not who did the really hard work of designing the canvas.
And I can say that with complete justification because I write stitch guides. I’m in awe of the cleverness of designers. I’d rather see them credited than see my name up there.
Barbara Riering, co-owner of Rita’s Needlepoint in NYC, brought this up yesterday on a Facebook Forum and it generated lots of comment.
It got me thinking about the whole topic, about on-line manners vs, in-person manners and whether this affects designers.
Manners On-line & Off
At my guild chapter, as in most chapters, we have Show & Tell. When a person talks about her piece at my guild she always says who designed it. Often the shop where it was bought is mentioned. Stitch guide writers are only mentioned sometimes.
We praise people’s work and, quite often we go out and seek a particular canvas after we have seen it in a guild meeting.
This is only polite. When the finished canvas is the result of a collaboration between at least two people, the designer and the stitcher, shouldn’t we acknowledge our partner in this endeavor?
Do these rules suddenly go away because you are typing instead of talking? NO!!!!
In fact because the on-line audience is thousands of times larger it becomes more important instead of less.
What to Do if You Don’t Know the Designer
The piece is already finishe:If the needlepoint is finished, the designer’s name is generally cut off as part of the finishing. These folks finish dozens of items so it’s understandable that they may not know who designed a specific piece. But I know who designed finished pieces I have that are over 30 years old. You probably do too. So why not tell us if the piece belongs to you?
There are no names on the canvas: This is rarely true these days on canvases with unfinished edges, but it is often true of vintage canvases. This can also be true of custom pieces or shop exclusives. When this happens do what celebrities do, say “vintage canvas” or “unknown designer.” If it’s a shop exclusive, let folks know the shop name. If it’s a custom piece say so even if you don’t know the designer’s name.
The shop cut off the designer’s name or sewed over the name: I know of shops that do this either because they hem the edges or cut off the margins. You might not be able to help this, but you still can, and should say,”designer unknown.” Most shops will try to help you identify the designer if you ask when you buy the canvas.
Does this Help the Designers?
You bet. I know of designers who proudly paste pictures of their canvases when stitched by others to their Facebook pages. Even if they don’t do that, every designer loves to see their canvases stitched. That’s because stitching the canvas makes it complete.
It’s hard work creating a design and even more work to turn that design into a stitchable canvas. When the designers are not acknowledged, they start to feel as if their contribution just doesn’t matter. We all know how important that contribution is, yet we so often forget to mention them. But if you like the design, shouldn’t you let folks know who did it?
You’d tell a friend the name of a great restaurant. You don’t say “We ate at a great place last night. Our waiter was George.” and never say the name of the restaurant. When you neglect to tell folks the designer’s name in public postings, not only do you hurt the designer, but you also hurt the viewers.
Yes, you’ve hurt the viewers by neglecting to give this information. There are people, probably lots of people, out there who love the look of that canvas and want to stitch it. Without knowing the designer’s name, they can’t go out and buy it. That deprives the designer of a sale and the stitcher of the delight in stitching the canvas.
I wondered if designers knew that mentions of their canvases sold canvases. I asked Amanda Lawford. She been designing for 40 years and has created many of my favorite canvases. She replied with an unequivocal “Yes.” She worries, and she’s right to worry, that designers have become the forgotten link in the chain.
Is this the signal we want to give to the creative folks who are the cornerstone of our industry. Is it so hard to be polite? Is this an example of the “niceness” that is often trumpeted as a part of our community?
I hope not. It isn’t hard. It only takes a second. It brightens the day of the designer and helps out your fellow stitchers. Its nice, it’s good manners, and it does unto others what you’d like done unto you.
It only takes a minute to add the designer’s name, so don’t be rude — just do it.