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.
Librarian Glen Creason writes about that day:
“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.
11 thoughts on “Up in Smoke”
Yes. It isn’t the issue that they changed things; it’s that they did it with no warning. That hurts both those who sell (sold) there and those who buy there. A few years ago Jim and I were active with an online “community” blogging site. Without any warning we lost access and lost access to all of our posts, even to delete them. I’ve been trusting WordPress to not do that to us, and I hope my faith is warranted. Sorry. 😦
It has been an interesting evolution to say the least. They had a very odd choice of timing (Christmas) to do all of this.
Oh, dear indeed! I guess I should just be glad I didn’t have much on Craftsy. I did go to the new BluPrint site to look over the classes but found the format very un-helpful. I just went away. Maybe I’ll try the AQS iQuilt.
It is one of those circumstances when one asks, what isn’t working? Clearly the model wasn’t economically viable, but I wonder why.
Same, one free pattern kept. I wonder if I am allowed to close my shop yet? I was speaking to another designer who is quite prominent and will remain nameless, and she said that she tried to delete her patterns and they wouldn’t let her!
Update: yes you can now delete patterns, I just deleted the one I had
It’s surprising who was left on Craftsy and who wasn’t. A local designer who has a great pedigree was told she wouldn’t be on the site any more. I too download my patterns and load them to the cloud. I’m going to make sure I have all the patterns I bought saved. Thanks for the reminder!
YIKES … This is the first I have heard about this! I am not a teacher/provider but rather a consumer and I have purchased/signed up for those return-as-often-as-you-like classes. I have never even gone to the sites once, let alone returned to them, so I feel completely ripped off! I have not heard a word from them either. I am going there RIGHT NOW (if I can find them) to see where I stand. Incredibly frustrating!!!
Thank you for your awesome post. I always enjoy seeing what you are creating, it’s always so beautiful and amazing!
I spoke too soon. I AM able to get to my classes and will check on the patterns that I had in my library when time allows.
As always, thank you for your wonderful posts.
I’ve been telling my husband for months that I wouldn’t be surprised if Craftsy dumped their pattern platform. I don’t know if anyone ever noticed, but their search would say there were x number of patterns in a given category but you could only view up to page 42 which didn’t remotely show all of them. I never got answers. My pattern shop was cut in half and didn’t include one of the bigger sellers. Anyone’s guess how they chose what to keep. Now that they’ve made the switch I can find no reference at all to patterns even after searching. It seems that only an external link takes me to my patterns. Plus their site won’t load on my computer. I’m thinking about bagging them all together. I have an Etsy shop and may consider Payhip at some point. Have yet to update my blog to reflect these new changes. Ugggggg…….
I think the timing and the treatment were both appalling…Craftsy was wonderful when first launched and I’m sure the founders were happy with the buyout. Unfortunately, no thought was given to the people who made them be able to seel to NBC…I think they could have easily negotiated better treatment for their designers…seems they took the money and ran. So sad. No loyalty or empathy for others…thank you for this post. I know many of us are unhappy with this turn of events.