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My daughters and I took my mum to a flower show out in the countryside and next to the hall that the flower show was being held in was a small craft show being held in a school gym which included 3 potters. 

Was gobsmacked to see one of the potters had one of my pots for sale that I had made about 20 years ago. I walked away before exploding and asked my daughter to go see what she could find out. 

My daughter, Terra, asked the potter if she made everything, “YES” was the potters reply. Terra then asked “you made all this?” answer again was “YES”. Terra then  picked up my pot and said “this is one of my mum’s pots”. Potter said “Well if you had bought it I would have told you I didn’t make that one.” (my initials on pot, very legible and not the same as the potters initials)

Terra asked how she would feel if someone else was misrepresenting themselves like this and selling one of her pots and pretending to have made it. She said she would be proud. Terra asked where she got it from, was told an antique store that is now closed down. I’ve seen my pots for sale in thrift stores, no problem, it’s a thrift store, but to sell another persons work in a craft show and pretend you made it, unbelievable. It gets better, she is on 2 Arts Councils in the area.

I’m still shaking my head. 

edit: she was selling it for more than I did 20 years ago. 

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well, at least she has good taste in pottery!       (it may be the only thing she has good in her!)

did you report this to the craft show manager so she cannot get away with it again?   of course not, you are a kind and polite person who does not want to cause any trouble.   but, if you do nothing, she thinks it is OK and will continue.

it must have taken great restraint on your part not to kick her and scream out her crime.   that is the mark of a decent human being when faced with such a betrayal of trust.  for someone on an arts council she must do something public to show she has learned a lesson.    you cannot let it stand.

how can you publicize this to prevent it happening again?  there are rules in every craft show i have attended that prevent people from selling work that is not their own.  i have never seen anything this brazen, usually it is just something make from a mold like thousands of others.

Edited by oldlady
add

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Its a small world-I will say selling yours as thiers is way off base for a potter.

Thats said I have sold pots for another potter a few times-usually displayed them on a small rack. He asked me to sell them-they where low fire and more sculptural than my functional work. He was my salt kiln partner who pasted away last year. I think I did that twice for him.

I also have loaned out my complete rack system for him to sell pots off once-he did make them for me as a job.

I used to take him to Seattle folklife show about 20-25 years ago to teach him the ropes-He was a fantastic musician so that show is all about music and has a crafts component to it as well. Its memorial day weekend coming up soon-4 day show-check it out Liambesaw-used to have some good potters.There is a great ceramics gallery on those grounds(seattle center) as well to check out.

Finding your work at thrift store is always a weird feeling. I have friends who mailed me my work from distant cities I used to sell at show in as they found the stuff at yard sales.

I think your story shows an ethics issue-be she should move south and become a politician-seems like thats the norm these days-Ok No politics sorry.

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May I suggest..... sometimes a very effective strategy when one has been wronged and the offender is not taking any responsibility, or is not remotely remorseful, is to have an attorney send a certified letter outlining the infringments (I don't know the legaleze, but generally in the ballpark of stealing, false representation, copyright infringment (art works are essentially auto-copyrighted upon creation), fraud etc. A lawyer would know what language to use.  An attorney's letter should not cost more than $100 dollars, and as far as my experience has been, is well worth it. If nothing else, it gives notice and should make the person sweat a bit.  I'd absolutely document the incident--similar to just the facts in your 3rd paragraph--and send that to the craft show organizers and the two councils---especially to the councils!!  

That's pretty low!!! 

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3 minutes ago, LeeU said:

May I suggest..... sometimes a very effective strategy when one has been wronged and the offender is not taking any responsibility, or is not remotely remorseful, is to have an attorney send a certified letter outlining the infringments (I don't know the legaleze, but generally in the ballpark of stealing, false representation, copyright infringment (art works are essentially auto-copyrighted upon creation), fraud etc. A lawyer would know what language to use.  An attorney's letter should not cost more than $100 dollars, and as far as my experience has been, is well worth it. If nothing else, it gives notice and should make the person sweat a bit.  I'd absolutely document the incident--similar to just the facts in your 3rd paragraph--and send that to the craft show organizers and the two councils---especially to the councils!!  

That's pretty low!!! 

Sounds like a cease and desist request.  Basically a letter saying stop doing that or face legal action.  Carries more weight because it comes from a lawyer

Edited by liambesaw

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You did good keeping your cool, I had a friend here in the US ask me to make some green ware for a book he was writing about his memories growing up in China, he’s a ceramic artist but was unable to make the traditional everyday life pieces that needed to be thrown. I later found out he sold the work at auction in China and took credit for the work I did as his own, I was pissed off but let it go although you can bet it won’t happen again with him.

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Anything you did would probably end up to be well within reason. I am reminded about something my father mentioned along similar lines when someone was caught in a similar situation crediting my work for theirs. He simply said to me that I would likely never have a positive opinion of that person which was a tremendous cost because he felt reputations were hardest to earn and took a lifetime of effort and verification.

I think I would have preferred a pound of flesh but I must say it really instilled a  meaningful lifetime lesson for me. I should add, both of my parents passed by the time I was 25. It was an excellent timely lesson early in life! Pretty smart guy for not having finished high school.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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Wow.  Just......wow.

If you can, I'd contact the organizer to see what the application rules were for that show, and if it was juried or a buy in. If the show was small, you need to check if there were any resale prohibitions in place. If there were, I'd advise the organizer of the facts of the encounter, and as professionally as possible about this happening. Most organizers I know would have very little tolerance for her passing off vintage items as her own work regardless.

I have a paralegal friend I have some inquiries in to, as Canadian law does differ from US, and I'll message you with what I get back. If it's useful to the rest of the forum, I'll post some general information when I hear back. 

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I agree with oldlady’s use of the word “betrayal.” What an ethical black hole her mind must be. I find that people who really cannot see their own ethical lapse are not worth dealing with directly. So I agree with Callie, take your complaint to the event organizer. It is their responsibility to put forth an honest event. Even if resale was allowed, the vendor misrepresented WHO made the work. 

I would also consider complaining to the arts councils that she sits on. Exposing her to those groups will probably be the most painful for her. 

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Ok. My paralegal friend first of all wishes me to clarify that he is not a lawyer, and his suggestions should be considered the suggestions of a lay person not educated in law and dispute resoloution. Also, on a personal note, I am speaking about Canadian law, and everyone should check on your local rules.

He suggests that a cease and desist letter would be the first (and likely last needed) step, and it will have more weight if it's on legal letterhead. While his firm charges $200 for such things, one could obtain such a document for about $150 in Calgary.

He also said that there are some things to consider. First, if it's a one time occurrence and the value she's selling it for is less than the cost of the C&D order, it likely isn't worth it to litigate, or threaten to. If it's something that she's doing regularly and it's affecting the sales of the artist (or other artists), there's an arguement to be made for legal action. He also mentions that you want to write down the exact date you discovered this person was passing your art as your own, as IN CANADA, you have to start any legal action you might take within 2 years of that day.

I'm not sure if you're a CARFAC member or not, but there might also be some resources there, too. 

 

Edited to add: my friend says that a C&D order can be done on your own, but it's important to note that it's really only worth doing if there is some evidence that her misrepresentation has unjustly enriched her. Also, you need to be careful about any inquiries you make about her prior habits, because there can be defamation liability concerns. If things are going that far though, a lawyer does need to be consulted.

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Thank you everyone for your thoughts! I really appreciate everyone's perspectives.

I'm going to be careful what I say here in case things go sideways but have taken everything into advisement,  will say that what Bill was told by his father rings loudly.

 

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I found one of my pots at a estate sale,  my husband asked me if I wanted to buy it back.   I told him no the person who buys it will enjoy owning it.   When I was a decorator I had a architect threaten to sue me because I talked the owner of a building that was being remodeled into a different wallpaper.   He called everyday and  sent me threatening letters,  I finally told him I thought our lawyers should get together and work this out.  I didn't here from any more,  it turns out he was a terrible architect and my wallpaper choice was the only thing that saved the job.  My daughter in-law who is a prosecutor says the sometime just mentioning a lawyer will straighten people up,   a letter from one usually does the job.    Denice

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Sending a legal document may or may not stop the situation from happening again. She may just stop selling your work, but continue to sell other potter's work as her own. I would contact the show that you saw her at and let them know, and I would tell the art councils of which she is a member. I'm betting those will have a larger impact on her future activity.

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A friend of mine from the cactus club comes to my house sometimes and buys used and seconds (cheap).  He called me up a while ago and asked if I was ok with him reselling some of them.  I thought that was very considerate of him and told him so.  I also told him these pots will out live you and me and they have their own story once they leave me.  Bad coincidence for Ms Dishonest to get caught by the actual artist.  Confronting her was definitely the right thing to do, kind of like a traffic ticket.  You will watch your rolling stops for a while.  I guess only potters pick up a piece and actually  look at the bottom.  

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ah just shoot her a wholesale price list so she can buy direct. 

It is weird behavior and my guess is she is a little off or just clueless. Trying to find reason in odd behavior is usually pointless. A pot at a HS gym show, I'd just let it go, life's short.

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Yes, life is short and if she was only involved with sales of the caliber I was mentioning then I might just have let it go but that's not the case. The fact that she is  on 2 Arts Councils also comes into play. On the other hand is it not dishonest regardless of the caliber of the sale? How fair is it for the other vendors?

Edited by Min
added a thought

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well that sucks. Maybe just send her a certified letter on your letterhead telling her to knock it off? I dunno, it is a small world and she has already been called out by your daughter.

I guess I am not sure what you want to accomplish? You know what you know but now you have to go and convince others and that can always lead to unexpected results and hiring an a lawyer over a 20 year pot at a gym show seems like a bit too much. I know you don't think she has a legit side to this but she might think she has. For instance maybe the gym show was for a charitable function and they all brought whatever handmade pots they could find to add to some they made to raise money. Maybe she didn't really understand your daughters question and just said yes without thinking. I am hard of hearing and answer questions all the time "yes" when I shouldn't.  Anyway me, I'd check with her first and make sure it can't be worked out before going too public with the whole thing. Good luck, bummer you have this to deal with.   

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2 hours ago, Stephen said:

I guess I am not sure what you want to accomplish?

In an ideal world an apology from her plus an assurance that she will stop the practice of misrepresenting work. In reality I don't think she is the type of person who could even see how low what she did was let alone apologize so just putting an end to what she is doing would be enough. I am getting the word out, like I said earlier it's a small world... 

At the end of the day I'm just disappointed that a fellow potter would do this. 

(I'm changing the title to reflect the thread content better in case someone else has this happen)

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On 4/16/2019 at 2:09 PM, Min said:

At the end of the day I'm just disappointed that a fellow potter would do this. 

no doubt, but talking with her might help. Maybe there's a twist to all of this though. i dunno, maybe not, but talking might clear the air.

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