On Sharing Or Not

Nicole (my would-be neighbor-down-the-street who lives on the opposite side of this continent) has a thought-filled post up today. The other day she shared an experience where she was at a workshop and was enamored with another quilter's project. But, when she asked, the other quilter declined to share the name of the pattern with her. The post generated a bunch of comments, and Nicole referenced them in today's post. Look how gracious she is (as always): 
I want to clarify that I did not mean to villify the woman who wasn't willing to share her quilt design with me.  I thought she was kind of eccentric, but laughed it off as just one of those things.  She was kind of a loner, a woman who obviously had not traveled the easiest road through life, and perhaps hanging on to the uniqueness of her special-one-of-a-kind quilt was a way for her to feel as if she had control over something.  I was ok with her not sharing, truly.
What I was not ok with was a couple of comments I received yesterday regarding her behavior.  One was just kind of mean, but the other was obscene.  No call for that sort of thing here at all people.  Snarky or off color comments will be deleted.
I got to thinking about the requests I receive every once in a while. Ask me for a pattern, no problem. Ask me how I made something, I'll try to tell you though I don't see myself as the best teacher. 
On the rare occasion when someone asks me to share the pattern for my dancing ladies, I decline.
It's been about twenty years, I think, since I discovered them. I had bought a pair of earrings from a now-defunct mail-order house, and the catalog description said they were inspired by cave drawings somewhere in Spain, drawings that were believed to be thousands of years old. They quickly became favorite earrings, at the time symbolizing me and some of my seminary classmates, Sharon, Ingrid, Linda . . .  Then, sometime later on, Joe drew them for me, between three and six or seven inches tall, and he added more to the original four, and I appliqued them to the back of a vest I was making for a friend's birthday. And then they were appliqued onto a tote bag that I carried for a while. And then as the center of a round robin, the finished of which hangs above my bed. I've been known to applique them onto a block to give to a friend, and those original patterns remain safe and sound in my sewing desk drawer.
They've come to be my logo, my symbol, my totem. 
And I hope I'm not selfish for wanting to keep it that way.


Gretchen said…
I don't think it is selfish of you at all. Your dancing ladies are like your trademark or signature. We all dance different and someone could always draw their interpretation of the dancing ladies (mine would be kind of shy and self-conscious and sightly out of rhythm). Nicole's posts are gracious and understanding of human/quilter's nature.
Quiltdivajulie said…
You are NOT selfish . . . I'm off to read Nicole's post(s).
Nicole said…
That's what is so great about living in a free country. People have choices about what they want to give to others. Also, what is good about being an adult is knowing that one doesn't get one's way every time one wants something, and being able to accept it. I grew up in a house with four sisters, and believe me, there was plenty I refused to share!
Janet O. said…
I have one soap recipe that I do not share because it was taught to me by my BIL when he was first teaching me to make soap. It is not original with him, and anyone can go find it from the same source he used. He has just asked me not to point it out to people or give it out because he was planning on selling soap and wanted his favorite recipe to remain a secret. I have honored that request, though sometimes it has been touchy. We do all have our reasons for withholding. I had an aunt with very low self-esteem, but she was an excellent cook. She would NOT share her recipes and I always felt it was the one area in her life that she felt important. If she gave away the recipes, what would she have left? Your logo is more a personal symbol and uniquely expresses you.
Nicole's thoughts were well-expressed and I appreciated her kind approach.
I love your dancing ladies and whenever I see them on your page I smile. They could NEVER represent anyone other you, dear Nancy!
Barbara Anne said…
I think you're not being selfish at all, but are honoring the creativity of the person who made your earrings. Your use of the design has been for your own enjoyment and for gifts, not for profit. That is in the spirit of the "for personal use only" codicil on many patterns.

Nicole's blog is one of my favorite as she's so very creative in her wonderful quilting and is always nice.

In the unreasonable not sharing of something, my sweet AMIL mourns the loss of a family recipe for shortbread that was made by her grandmother. Another branch of the family had the recipe and refused to share it despite the fact they had the same grandmother. How silly is that?

I always enjoy your blog, too!

stitchinpenny said…
People should understand that you made an art piece that is dear to you. I have never done anything at that level, but I could see myself feeling that it was personal and special to me. Anyone who couldn't understand may not have made that level of investment of self in a project. Treasure what is special to you and don't worry that others want you to share your treasures, only you should decide what you want to share.
suz said…
you are definitely not selfish. People should not assume they can have patterns just because someone made something. We are all entitled to having something unique. If I saw those dancing ladies, my first thought would be - Oh look, Nancy made that! and I'd be really upset if you didn't. There are thousands of patterns out there - people need to deal! I think Nicole handled the situation perfectly...and so did you.