Asking permission to adapt contemporary art
Hope I, 181/2" x 181/2", #6-, 7-, and 8-cut wool on linen. Adapted with permission from the collage of the same name by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and hooked by Tamara Pavich, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 2013.
When I first saw the songbird collages of Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, they took my breath away. Rendered in her dazzling signature palette, her images had me gasping and sighing and paging through them again and again. I had to try to hook those pretty birds.
I easily found Elizabeth’s website, called her cell, and caught her in an airport on her way to teach a collage workshop. She immediately gave me verbal permission to hook away on any images I found in her published work. Since that first contact, we have emailed several times a month, and it seems that I have found a friend.
So my love story has a happy ending. But I could tell you other stories in which things didn’t go as well or the process of asking/receiving permission stalled out somewhere along the line. When this happens, it’s important to have a defined set of ethics to tell us what to do, and especially what not to do.
This article is from the March/April/May 2015 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.
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