It was my sister's birthday on Friday. My sister's living room is full of cushions. Some might say this means the last thing she needs is more cushions, but I say it suggests she is a cushiony sort of person and might appreciate two more to add to her collection. That's why I made her these patchwork cushions, created from tea towels, all souvenirs from Scotland for when she gets homesick or starts to feel too French. I've been planning these cushions for about a year, but it took me a long time to source enough tea towels to make them. In the end, all of these were found by my mum as Elgin's charity shops turned out to be a far more fruitful hunting ground than Glasgow's where I found NONE despite a year of looking. Naturally, I found the best ever Scottish souvenir tea towel (in Elgin!) just a few days after I posted these off. Darn!
The idea for these cushions is not my own, I should add. I saw similar cushions in the window of a little shop on Byres Road some time last year and thought they were lovely. However, they had a price tag of about £30 each, if I remember correctly, and that is not a price I would ever pay for a cushion cover I felt I could make myself. I know some people in the handmade circuit (many of whom read this blog) would find my actions morally corrupt, but I don't see any problem with it. I'm not selling these cushions and I would never have paid £60 for two of them (not that I think the price was necessarily wrong - I know some people are in the position to pay that) so I wasn't even doing the maker out of a sale. I wouldn't have any qualms about making a copy of something I saw in Marks and Spencer, for example (maybe you don't agree with that either?) and I don't really see why this is any different. I'd be pissed off if someone copied my Dot Cotton embroidery and started selling it (as, in fact, someone did - grrr) but I am absolutely fine with the idea of someone making a version of it for themselves or to gift to someone. Heck, I even showed a potential customer the stitch I used so they could do just that! If I knew who had made the original cushions, I'd link to them here, but I don't, and the shop that sold them has long since closed down, so I can't send you there either. I can only say that I can't claim credit for the original idea and confess that my reproductions probably have a few more imperfections and used slightly less lovely (but more personally relevant) towels in their making. However, they also showed my sister that I thought she was worth the time and effort of making them. Hopefully she doesn't feel she's not worth anything to me financially - even the cushion inserts came to me free as they were ones my mum was getting rid of anyway!
Lately I have really enjoyed making handmade gifts for people I care about, something I used to do a lot more of. I'm thinking of reopening my Etsy shop soon, but I'll probably focus on prints and cards etc, things that don't take so much time per individual item. I definitely want to devote most of my making time (rare as it is) to making things for myself, my home, my family and my friends. That's where I get real pleasure from crafting, I just got a bit distracted for a few years there.
What do you think about people making their own versions of commercially available items? Did I do a bad thing or is it not a problem? Feel free to disagree with me - I really am interested in people's viewpoints on this and can take it on the chin!