Friday, October 31, 2008

*Important * USA Orphan Works Bill

As you know my blog is primarily textile and stitch related and I try to keep political debate at a distinct minimum but there is an issue pending that I feel needs to be addressed and at the very least, other artists need to be made aware of it. I have long tried to emphasize to fellow artists and my students as to the importance of respecting copyright. I have often taken a shit kicking for it too but feel very strongly about this subject and will continue to foster that respect and attempt to educate others about the legal issues that can ensue.

The Orphan Works bill in the US is a most controversial and complicated act , if which passed, will have ramifications affecting artists worldwide. I encourage my fellow artists to educate yourself on this issue and act with your conscience accordingly.

On April 24, 2008, the Orphan Works Act was introduced into the U.S. House and Senate. Currently, copyright is granted the moment a work is created. The Orphan Act Legislation proposes a change in U.S. copyright that would require artists, illustrators, photographers, and any creative individual to actively maintain and defend their copyright by registering each and every work with privatized registrars. Failure to do so would leave everything you’ve ever created as an artist up for grabs by anyone who wanted to copy, reproduce, create derivative works of, or flat out steal your work since the act defines an “orphan work” as any work where the author is unidentifiable or unlocatable, and applies to both published and unpublished works, U.S. and foreign, regardless of age..Once your piece of work is placed onto an Internet site; it will become the full domain of any person who wishes to copy your originality. A large majority of people who see a design, photograph, etc. will not take the time to research its original ownership, or see how long along this work was published. This is where as an artist you should be concerned, and unfortunately the Legislation of the Orphan Act of 2008, does not protect you as an individual.
( With special thanks and credit to Pamela Baker)

For a reasonably simple explanation of the bill, click the link below:

For my American friends to seek more information and how to contact your members of Congress to express your concern and/or protest the bill :

There is a page for international parties to send their thoughts and register their protests also and I urge my Canadian and European friends to participate if at all possible. Although at the moment, this legislation is US based, believe me in time this will have a powerful affect on all of us and our work and we will feel the trickle down effect worldwide! Click this link for international responses:

A word from Sara of Sara's Texture Crafts, with credit to Sara, on how to go about protecting oneself:

"I do feel the most important thing we can do as on-line sellers of arts and crafts (as well as opposing, or seeking more preferable amendments to such bills/laws as 'Orphan Works), is to start adding copyright 'watermarks' to our product/artwork images (completed or otherwise) before we post them to forums, social networks and shopping sites. That way it is clear where the design came from and the year it was created. Should you then wish to follow through on any unlawful copyright infringement, you the 'originator' will at least have some power to authenticate your claim. At the moment I see far too many photos of works that are unmarked by the artists... these could all easily be 'borrowed' for someone else's gain. Remember even if the text accompanying the photo in question contains details of the author/origin of the work. The photo itself can be downloaded separately from any blog, social network, forum, search engine and some websites... in these cases if a photo is unmarked it could easily be reused in another way without any credit to it's origin, becoming an 'Orphan Work'."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We are not amused!

On occasion Mother Nature can be a bitch and last night she lashed out and dumped an early vicious winter storm on us causing much tree and plant damage. It's rarely we get a snow storm of this intensity before Halloween! London is known as The Forest City and we are fortunate to have so many beautiful trees and reforestation programs here. The tree damage was unbelievable as you can see here:

Frozen sweet peas early a.m. and evacuated to safety by afternoon along with lavender and a yellow rose

Wild crab apples iced over at the Westminster Ponds

Fir tree bent to the ground by the heavy ice

And , you might ask, how is this textile related?
Well of course, I have taken some storm related pics to transfer to fabric for the ongoing tryptich! So I might forgive Mother Nature just a tiche, in spite of her tantrum, for giving me this golden opportunity!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Art Bra mania this month.......

Photos - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Copyright - Léonie Hartley-Hoover

Being October and Breast Cancer Awareness month, there has been a resurgence of interest in and publicity about the Art Bra movement so I am going to share some blogs and sites with my readers so they can find out more about it and view the spectacular work of the artists involved.

Although 2007 saw the last calendar published, the travelling exhibit is still touring the country.

If your gallery, guild or show should be interested in displaying the exhibit, please contact Vickie at

Nefertiti - August 2007
Copyright - Léonie Hartley-Hoover

The Art Bra quilts are still an ongoing project. To see all of these beauties and the invidual blocks:

And Finally - Thanks to the original Little Miss Dynamite - Take a bow Vickie!

Photo credit - Mike Brown

On a roll with Little Miss D....

Rolling is the operative word here as making the little dynamite sticks took considerable patience and dexterity! First I had to find the perfect wick or cord for it. My husband was fascinated with the process as he was a mining technician in his younger days and knew what dynamite should look like! I had about 8 different strings and cords to try out and my husband and I sat at the kitchen table with a teflon cover placed on it - barbeque lighter in hand, like a couple of pyromaniacs lighting them all to see what kind of residue they left and if they burned to our satisfaction. They did NOT!! So, off I went in search of the perfect " wick". I finally came back with four more cords. The ultimate winner was nylon and polyester and it burned to perfection.

I had a quarter of a metre of the most beautiful reddest red ultrasuede I could find and after a lot of measuring and balancing size against the female figure ( found in a bin at a charity shop a couple of years ago) I drew some sketches of different size strips I thought might work. I did a couple of dummy runs on felt and then with the rotary cutter , cut two different size strips from the suede. I cut more than I needed as I knew I would no doubt ruin a few and then came the tedious part, rolling the sticks as tight as I could....they had to be really secure. I proceeded to seal the edges cleanly with E6000 as those sides would not show. I had quite a production line going by now. I cut a series of 16 inch nylon/poly cords and lined them all up. Using a large eyed needle, I threaded a single cord into the eye . Then I carefully lit the farthest end with the barby lighter until it was molten, then blew on it just when it was at a certain stage of gooeyiness ( therein lay the trick - it had to be just the right amount of gooey !!) and then I put the needle through the dynamite stick and pulled slightly so the gooey knot caught inside the stick, without mucking up the ultrasuede outside but thereby gluing itself to the inside of the stick. A tricky feat I can assure you! Each one had to have a little tug on them to see they were secure enough. Next,I had to estimate how much wick to leave at the top as I had to burn that end to a perfect little knob to look realistic enough. That was a "suicide mission" because if the fire caught too quickly I was left with a sad looking stub not a nice shaped wick. If that happened, the dynamite stick was ruined as the other end was already secured inside. I only destroyed two of them so that wasn't too bad in light of things ( no pun intended). It was a fun experience but took a lot more time ( and patience) than I bargained for.

The string of firecrackers on the left cup was a little demon to make as there was a curved seam on the outside of the bra cup which formed a " dip" and the bugles would not lay as flat as I wanted them. It was an exercise to turn a purist's hair grey and I can't begin to tell you how many repetitions of silamide are securing them. I couched down two layers of nylon/poly cord one on top of the other, between the two rows of bugles and then " lit" the top of the crackers for effect.
The " explosion" on the right cup was three layers of ultrasuede, which when stitched over the outer fabric, foam underlining and back lining made for six layers of fabric to stitch through. No mean feat!

The word " Danger" was colored in orange on the safety ribbon so I had to very carefully paint over it in diluted red acrylic and then seal it.
The stars and the shooting stars are made from angelina and then bonded onto handpainted yellow ultrasuede. I also painted the HOT insignia and then I made her a little firecracker necklace out of bugles and swarovskis.
The beaded flame on the left hand side is ready to light the wick on the dynamite.
I put on the little glass chili peppers saluting Vickie's hot Texan culinary tastes and if you zoom in on the overall pic, you will see LMD is holding a pomegranite margarita in her left hand. I can tell you I was ready for one myself after this process!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Little Miss Dynamite leaves home.....

Little Miss Dynamite is
officially in her new home
at the Somerset County
Health Department in
having cleared
customs without an

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month both in Canada and the United States and I've had close associations with BC charitable causes on both sides of the border for several years now.

This year I chose to honor Victoria Adams Brown , the original Art Bra calendar creator and founder of The Way to Women's Wellness Foundation by creating Little Miss Dynamite ( my nickname for her) and donating it as a gift to the Somerset County Health Unit for their exclusive use in their health education programs to promote breast cancer awareness.

Somerset is sponsoring the Designer's Cup Challenge, a bra art competition to raise awareness and educate women about the disease. The competition is open to anyone who lives or works in
Somerset County. Vickie gave permission for Somerset to use some of the images from the Art Bra Calendars in their brochure for promotion purposes.

All bras received by the October 10th deadline will be evaluated by a committee of judges selected by the program sponsor. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place, as well as a People’s Choice Award, voted on by attendees of the opening reception to be held on October 29, 2008 at the Governor Tawes Library in Crisfield MD. In a separate post I will share more photos and descriptions of techniques in the making of Little Miss Dynamite. Below is a copy of the Press Release for LMD.

Press Release

WESTOVER, MARYLAND, OCTOBER 7, 2008 ---- The Somerset County Health Department’s Designer’s Cup Challenge recently received an art bra entitled “Little Miss Dynamite”. The bra is a gift from designer Léonie Hartley-Hoover of Ontario, Canada in honor of the original Art Bra calendar creator Victoria Adams Brown of Perkasie, PA. Brown’s dedication and sacrifices via her advocacy and promotion of breast cancer awareness, research, mammogram programming, and patient support has led to her being referred to as “Little Miss Dynamite” by the artists who have contributed their time and artistic talents to aid Brown in her efforts. Brown is also the founder of the Way to Women’s Wellness Foundation. Brown is one of those rare people whose enthusiasm and vitality is infectious and her determination and hard work are at the core of the Art Bra movement. The result of her efforts is evidence indeed that one woman, with the support of a few friends, CAN make a difference!
“Little Miss Dynamite”, which is for promotional purposes and is not eligible for prizes, will be available for public viewing along with the art bras submitted for Somerset County’s Designer’s Cup Challenge at the reception on October 29, 2008, 6:00 – 8:00 the Governor Tawes Library in Crisfield. Refreshments will be served. Suggested dress is jeans and dressy tops. The cost is $5.00 per person, payable at the door; however, reservations are required and can be made by calling 443-523-1760. Any proceeds after expenses will benefit Women Supporting Women Crisfield Chapter and/or the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
# # # #

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Science, Engineering,Travel = Stitching?

I have always tried to encourage my students to see the world through different eyes. Sometimes people just get so locked into reading stitch related books and magazines that they tend to see the world with blinders on. If you reach a point where you feel you've reached a creative block, pick up a magazine or book that has a very different topic to what would normally attract you. You just might surprise yourself as to what can inspire you. This week I have been watching for the Science and Engineering Visualization challenge results. Look at these photographs - the wonderful color combinations, shapes, sizes and design elements you can pick out from them. I can see so many beaded pieces in these photos - can you?

Then hop over to the Telegraph newspaper in the UK and check out their fabulous Nikon travel photography competition. You will see the top ten choices but to the right hand side of the page under "Related Articles" you will see the rest of the competitors' works. The pics are impressive and will definitely stir up some feelings in you. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Long summer gone.....catching up with Fall !

Well, there's blogging and..... blogging.....there are those who are faithful daily to their blogs and well, there's the rest of us. I've never been one to keep a diary capturing day to day life - just too busy living to write about it ! However, our blogs keep us in touch with others and update us from time to time on events and creative endeavours. With the colder weather settling in and hibernation mode approaching, perhaps I'll be prone to writing a few lines more often! I'll give it an honest go.

The Art Bra Ladies continue to thrive and have created wonderful blocks again for this year's wall quilt contribution. The calibre of the stitchery and creativity among this group is superior and I feel very privileged to be among these artists. Every year the quilts are more spectacular and being a participant is daunting as one has to strive to be better always so as not to disappoint oneself or the group. I'd like to thank all of the women in this group for setting the bar high and for encouraging me to push the limits with my work. Below is my block for 2008 and if you click on the Flickr site below that, you will see an enlarged version of my block, in addition to the fantastic blocks my friends have made for this year .

Léonie's 2008 block

I will post pictures in due course, when the quilt is completed, as the final result is always breathtaking and eye candy worth ogling!
Victoria Adams Brown has also featured my block on her blog's August 3rd posting where she gives more information about the Art Bra quilts and this year's offering.

Fall is the time for getting back into the swing of teaching and workshops too. I am teaching two repeat online classes with Joggles this semester, Bead Embroidery for Beginners and Intermediate Bead Embroidery. The classes have just started this week so if anyone is interested, it's not too late to sign up, so hop on over to for further information and sign up.