The Los Angeles Central Library was set ablaze by an arsonist on April 29, 1986, an event captured in an excellent recent book by Susan Orleans. The photo above shows the library on fire, and below, a glimpse of the burnt stacks, showing charred remnants of books.
“Even after total resurrection in 1993, when those who stuck it out returned to dear old Central, it seemed like a terribly unreal nightmare. Just to ponder 200,000 books destroyed by the act of a madman is bad enough, but to have worked with and touched these objects created by deep thought and intellectual struggle makes the sadness all the more haunting.
“Irreplaceable numbers of hard copy periodicals, drawings from patents, historic maps, fine art prints, photography negatives and newspaper archives were turned into ash or mush by the water that inexorably seeped down the stacks and into the basement. The bottom floor of the venerable landmark became a waterlogged graveyard of collections.”
What does this have to do with us quilters today? Because recently someone set fire to our collective digital library, also known as Craftsy.
Unlike the LA Central, Craftsy (which as of today is changing its name to BluPrint) has no funding from any state or local governments. It is a business, and in that sphere, money — or keeping your business viable — reigns. So while it’s not surprising that they might make changes to keep it profitable (and no one begrudges them that), too many of us, when looking for our favorite patterns this week saw this:
A friendly, grandmotherly tone with the “Oh Dear!” but because of the lack of punctuation, the sympathic murmuring we all say (“Oh, dear!”) was turned into a dimishing description. They can get us back on track, they claim, as “things aren’t going as planned.” No kidding.
It’s my turn coming up on Gridster Bee and I was reviewing past bee blocks I’ve seen and made for others, trying to audition one for this month. Time after time, I clicked on the links I’d carefully imbedded in blog posts, only to see the Oh Dear! Craftsy notice.
I had earlier received the notice that I was one of the designers they decided to keep, but waited to see what would happen. My collection of nearly 15 patterns was reduced to this one pattern:
I had some revisions in process, so was able to upload them, but doubt I’ll be allowed to do more. But more importantly, some of my favorite pattern makers are gone:
I would have liked some notice that they were going to ransack our digital library, burn the books and torch the shelves. I imagine some of you would have liked that, too. Couldn’t they have tagged our patterns, letting us know they were headed for the dustbin, and then a week later, we could have taken them off the site ourselves? Would it have been feasible for them to start charging us and letting us keep our “store”? I would have been fine with that, for of course we should pay our way.
And…why did this happen the week before Christmas? It felt like one of those “release-the-horrible-news-on-Friday-and-maybe-no-one-will-notice-by-Monday” sort of things.
For awhile I’ve had patterns up on PayHip, which also satsifies the VAT issue payment. To search PayHip, use Google. Type in “quilt patterns payhip” and you’ll see a large listing of creatives already on that site. Another way to the patterns is through direct links, such as the one to the right on my blog.
For now the takeaway is: download anything you like for, without warning, it may suddenly go up in smoke.
Postscript regarding Craftsy/BluPrint: I have created a folder on my own hard drive, and downloaded into one place all the patterns I’d purchased on Craftsy which I also uploaded to the Cloud (I use Dropbox). I’d suggest doing the same.