Monday, May 31, 2010

Quilt Market Report

I have had a very difficult time putting 'pen to paper' to give my Quilt Market Report. It has nothing to do with Quilt Market itself which was a very exciting and productive time. The general mood seemed very upbeat to me with lots of people and lots of chatter. We visited with good friends and made some new ones, saw the latest fabrics from several manufacturers and tried to see what the upcoming trend would be. There was lots of wool applique in patterns including a couple of Block of the Month designs, bright floral fabrics and ones designed for home dec projects. Purses and totes are still popular as are children's clothing designs.
My difficulty is about my trip to Minneapolis for Market. I have been attending Market as an exhibitor since 1998 and most times travel from my home in Victoria, through Vancouver and on to the Market location. All Canadians travelling to the US are required to fill in a customs form. When travelling on business I always say that. This time was no different. I carry the quilt samples to be hung in my booth in my luggage. I guess I think it is safer that way than sending them by mail.

This time I was questioned as usual by the US Customs agent, he decided they needed more information and I was directed to another secure area to be further questioned by other officials. They were upset that I was taking my quilts with me, saying that there was no guarantee that I wouldn't just sell them and that I should have shipped them. The upshot was I was delayed for over an hour, missed my flights to Minneapolis and was forced to write on the front of my quilts with a felt pen provided by the agent. So, the word 'SAMPLE' now appears on 8 of my quilts.  As you can imaging, this was very upsetting both to me and my business partner Susan (who had a different agent who wasn't concerned about what she was taking to the trade show, she made the flights and really wondered what had happened to me!)

So, from now on I will have to mail my quilts to Quilt Market and hope that they arrive safe and sound. 

A special thank you to all my friends at Market who expressed their concern. I really appreciate your support.

Below are pictures of some of the quilts that had to be 'defaced'.  A couple of others were due to be displayed at a local quilt shop where they are now hanging, with the patterns stragetically pinned over the writing.  As you can see from some of the writing, I was under a lots of stress and my normally very neat printing is a sloppy mess!

I wrote on a corner of my latest sample (Festive Forest) and luckily had an extra block at home so I have replaced the block in this quilt. Probably won't be able to do that with the others; didn't think of that idea at the time I was doing the printing!

58 comments:

Dale Anne Potter said...

Oh my goodness Daphne!
I think I would have returned home if that had happened to me, I would have not written on the quilts.
How do we get the custom people all familiar? Why would ONE be OK (as in Susan's case) and the OTHER one not OK (as in your case)?

Mishka said...

Oh Daphne, I'm so sorry to hear about this. How awful for you. I would have broken down and cried. :(

It was nice to see you at Market.

Cheers,
Michele

Linda and Piwacket said...

Daphne,
On behalf of all Americans I am really sorry that you had to go through this! I abhor the way you were treated and am disgusted that you had to write on your quilts. Words can't express how upset I am for you right now.

Carol Britt said...

They forced you to reduce the value of your quilts. I would be filing a claim against the Customs department. Was this in Minneapolis? I have heard horror stories from that customs office.
Carol Britt, Batiks Etcetera & Sew What Fabrics

Susan A said...

Daphne, I'm so sorry this happened to you. What an awful experience. I hope by some miracle you can get the writing off somehow. I would sure give it a try.
Susan

Heckety said...

Under stress? I'm surprised you didn't either blow a fuse or stand and howl...I think I'd have howled. That's just too bad, such an awful thing to have been made to do to your beautiful quilts. In face I should think you feel like howling still. I am so sorry.

terificreations said...

Oh Daphne, I'm so sorry! Is there any way to get the ink out?

Teri

Jean "Alexandra" McKeever said...

Why did they tell you that you should have shipped them? That does not make any sense to me. I am so sorry you have this terrible experience. We have more than our fair share of really stupid people here in the USA. I wish you would have just walked away and gone home. It more than ruined the event for you. I think you should now make a big fuss. Let the media know. Stir the pot until something good happens.

Kate said...

Daphne,
What a horrible thing to have happen to you and your quilts. I am so sorry that you went thru that. Obviously the customs official has no sense of the value of your work.

Beth said...

This is horrid that you had to deface your beautiful work because of an ignoramus on a power-trip. Please follow up on this with not only your elected officials, but also with the ones from the state this show was held. I hope you don't hold the stupidity of the one against the rest of us Americans. The rest of us value our neighbors to the north.

Cathi said...

What a terrible thing to have happened. I don't know if this would work, but if you replace that one block in the one quilt, perhaps try Grandma's Secret Spot Remover on that block and see if it will remove it. I've used that with great success to get all sorts of ink out of clothes. I know that the LQS here has a quilt hanging right now that bled when washed -- but the Grandma's Secret Spot Remover got it out and there's absolutely no sign of it now.

Kris said...

Depending on the pen, you may simply be able to wash out the ink. I would certainly try that first, and the sooner the better. You could also try Synthrapol, a chemical which removes loose dye molecules.

I like your idea of replacing the block - they wouldn't let you write on the back? You basically were forced to deface artwork, I certainly do think a letter to his supervisor is in order.

Cathy Miller said...

I have never had such a horrible experience crossing the border as you have, Daphne. How absolutely horrible. We are powerless in front of these stupid people, at their mercy, and they get away with this bullying every time. And this is how they treat you when you tell the truth! Many Canadians learned years ago to lie through their teeth at the border. (I'm not one of them) Now I understand why.....

Lori said...

That is terrible. And so stupid - if you could sell them after carrying them in your suitcase, you could certainly sell them after mailing them... it is so illogical. Stupid border guards - are supposed to be protecting us from bombers, not quilters! This job seems to attract petty tyrants - I've run across bullying customs agents in numerous countries. I think they get their kicks from delaying people and ruining their stuff. (Excuse my rant here!) If you have to carry quilts another time, maybe sew a label or fake square on them that says "sample", or that you could write "sample" on if needed- something that could be easily removed.

Terry said...

I am outraged by this! (And profoundly embarrassed as an American citizen) Please write a letter to US Immigration and describe what happened. I'm sure many of us would write letters of support as well. This is unacceptable.

Daphne Greig said...

The idea of an extra block basted onto the quilt has been suggested by others. Sounds like a good option for the future.

Barb Vlack said...

Hi, Daphne. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I had no idea when I saw you at Market.

This incident is way out of line, and I wish I knew of some recourse.

Are you sure the felt pen had permanent ink? Some inks will wash out. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I hope you can fix the damage. In the meantime, you have offered a great lesson for all of us if we cross the border, unfortunately.

Beth said...

My brother who is the deputy director of public information for US Customs and
Boarder Patrol in Washington, D.C. is visiting me and I made him read the
article. His response was, "Boy, sometimes we do dumb things" and asked that I
send the link to his government email address. This saga may not be over and
perhaps it may help other quilters bringing their work into this country.
He knows what my work means to me and really was aghast. The pictures helped
too.
Beth

Sally G. Knight said...

I am outraged that any official representing my US government would treat you so shabbily. What were those idiots thinking!?!! On behalf of myself and US citizens everywhere (especially quilters!), I extend our deepest apologies to you.

Peggy said...

I could not believe how anyone could behave like this! I am appalled! Please accept my apologies as a citizen of the United States. As someone who's friends lost loved ones on 9/11, this is not supposed to be the outcome of that terrible day. I will send a letter of protest to the Customs department.

Tammy said...

Hi,
So sorry about US customs making you write "sample" on your quilts.

I've had good results removing ink from fabric with hair spray and a product called "goo-gone" purchased at Canadian Tire. There is also an instant carpet stain remover called spot hot that removes stains without scrubbing. They demo it by drawing a line with a felt pen on the carpet sample then blot all the ink up on a paper towel.

I do hope you can completely remove the ink without damaging your quilts.

Sharon said...

Daphe, I worked in the garment business, our samples from the US had stamps on them, cuts in the back of shirts, hand bags would be sliced on the bottom, etc Same with samples from Europe. As for why you were singled out, I deal with both the US and CA border on a daily basis. After many situations,visits, phone calls, here is the deal. The people working the booth are not trained and educated in every law for every situation. I was having an issue with agents giving my staff wrong information so I called mgt at the border to confirm the info I was talling my staff (who cross the border 2 -4 x per day) and the supervisor flat out said to me. "The people on the booth do not know the rules" Wow, doesn't give me a lot of confidence.

KQ Sue said...

US Customs is always the pain in the butt! Last time we went to Canada and came back we were standing for 4 hours, we were the randor 10th car that morning. Our poor dog was in the car the whole time. My hypoglycemia kicked in, they are darn lucky I didn't pass out. There was only 2 cars of people ahead of us, 2 young men in one and 4 elderly people in the other. Only 1 counter agent - 5 in an office, smoking and drinking coffee!
Only time we have had our car actually searched was doing a 48 hr - up/back for a nieces wedding. They couldn't believe we weren't bringing in extra booze or a big gift.
To make you deface your quilts is absolutely horrible.

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

Give some people a little authority and they go crazy in their desire to push people around. Where does customs find these goons anyway? They obviously need higher standards for employees. Sorry you had to have this awful experience.

Elaine Adair said...

I am cringing, looking at how your beauties have been defaced - what stupidity!

Elaine Adair said...

I am cringing, looking at how your beauties have been defaced - what stupidity!

Christine said...

I have read you story and not sure what to say, it is so upsetting.
You probably have tried this, but a lot off these felt pens are waterbased, just try and put in cold water as hot water would set the ink. Sorry but being a Mum always makes me want to fix things. So sorry about your quilts.

quilting hugs
Christine

onlymehere said...

This is absolutely horrible! I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to you. He obviously had no idea of the time it takes to make these and that they can't be replaced. I think someone higher up needs to hear about this and make sure it never happens again.

Pauline said...

I am so sorry that happened to you daphne...what a ridiculous thing to happen...
I dont understand usa/canadian law..but think it needs to be revised..????

Kristy said...

I am just sick to think of what happened. Next time, bring them to me in Friday Harbor and I will take them over for you...it is just wrong that you should have to mail them with no guarantee. I don't trust the postal system, especially when crossing the border.

Have you notified the consolate? Maybe they can help... As a US citizen, I have had absolutely no trouble entering Canada to visit Vancouver or Victoria. My troubles are re-entering the US.

Living on San Juan Island, we also endure going through customs just to get to the mainland. Customs does sporatic checks with the ferries...even if we are traveling from the US to the mainland.

I am disgusted.

Kristy said...

I have successfully used the OxyClean spray to get permanent marker out of my daughters clothing. The spray works much better than the powder.

Vickie E said...

that is horrible...unbelievable...

Kathy said...

I agree with Lori!!! I cannot believe that this man could be such an idiot! This is the first time I think I'm ashamed to be an American!!!!!! I'm sorry you had to go through that and hopefully Beth's brother will be able to at least direct to someone who might be able to do something about that!!!

bkcochran said...

I would have cancelled my trip and returned home before defacing my quilts like that, that was absolutely ridiculous! I would talk to a lawyer right away, do not delay...find one experienced in this sort of thing before you invest in their time. I would think you could sue for this.
I also do extensive traveling and I am just so sick of customs and security. I get treated like a criminal only because I have an artificial knee. Once we no longer have to travel I will not.
That customs agent was a real jerk! Please find a lawyer and discuss this with him/her.

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry that this happened to you.

I would like to make a suggestion... I have had several ink pens and permanent markers get on my clothing. Spray it with hair spray, it must be aerosol spray and any old cheep brand will do. Spray the letters and the ink should dissolve away. Then rinse the area with warm water then launder the quilt the normal way. This is an old grocery store trick. They used to use hair spray to remove the ink from the tops of the cans where they stamped the price. You will not be out anything for trying and it just may save your quilts. It has saved several of my white shirts.

Rita said...

I just added this to my Facebook page where hopefully, it will spread around the world. Hopefully, this will get enough attention to never happen again.

Janice Larsen said...

it's too bad you didn't have a washable marker with you at least.

arlene said...

I hope you are feeling better! I can't imagine what your experience was like....devastating!! I know it's been a few months, but I want to send a big huge cyber hug anyway!!
hugs
arlene
Richmond, BC

Frummie's World said...

The following was sent to the White House. I am just outraged at my country's stupidity.

http://daphnegreig.blogspot.com/2010/05/quilt-market-report.html

Please go to that site and see what customs made this poor woman, who is known world wide in the fiber art community do to her quilts. They were to be displayed at "Quilt Market".

I have had some horrible delays due to stupidity in the airports lately, but you just curse UNDER YOUR BREATH and continue, but the above is just deplorable.

I don't know if anyone will read this let alone answer, but something should be done.

Thank you,

Froma Sommers

Cindi said...

This just made me sick to my stomach. Somebody needs to do an article on this. AQS. CNN. MSNBC. This is just totally outrageous!!

Christi said...

Another case of ineptness of customs. I am so sorry that your beautiful art was damage due to someones ignorance and power tripping. So what if you did sell them? You just claim it on you tax forms, so what it's art. My mom grew up in a boarder town and she could tell horror stories like you would not believe. She saw one of her friends sent home in her overcoat sans dress because her dress had made in USA on the lable. You could tell the dress was well worn but the boarder guard was just being a p*****. Thought power tripping was disaplined these days!!!!!!!

creativedawn said...

What amazingly stupid interpretation of the laws! Geeez, I can understand the worldwide agitation and dislike for the US ... wondering how writing sample on them keeps them from being sold and that guy must be a total "you know what" to insist you write across artwork. Would you write across a Monet or Picassa? No...this world is chocked full of "_ _ _holes"! So sorry...I know for certain, I would have either gone back home or taken my quilts and mailed them back home...Missing the flight and defacing my art! Sorry...this is an outrageous act!
hugz,

Elly D said...

OMGoodness this was OUTRAGEOUS!! I am so sorry you had to go through this kind of abuse from a supposed official... I think I would have been in tears.

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

I feel sick looking at the word Sample on your quilts. I would not be comfortable shipping my quilts either, I'm with you. Perhaps you can find someone you know for sure will be attending and ship your quilts to that person and they could bring them to market for you. That way you have an address that is not one of a business and you can have them tracked and insured.

No easy way is there? I'm so sorry you had that experience.

Smiles,
Kelly

jaciqltzb4u said...

RUBBING ALCOHOL...

please try some rubbing alcohol on the felt marker, before you do anything else to these quilts.
It worked for me when I accidently dropped a sharpie on a block I was signing....

Kim said...

It has gotten worse and worse at the border over the years......and the agents are so arrogant and surly......its not right.

They know they have such power over you to make our life miserable.

My mother served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in WWll and when she was alive I use to visit her in Ontario....I can't tell you how rudely I was treated at the border over and over again.

When she died and I was crossing into Canada the agent was adamant that I give a return date. Even though I was crying and trying to explain that I had no idea how long it would take to cremate my mother, clean out her home and
get her estate settled.
He would not let me cross without the date in hand!

I do not miss crossing the border to Canada one bit!

trudys_person said...

I am heartbroken when I look at the photos of your quilts - this border official is a complete idiot! I'm trying to think of who to write in protest!

Vivian said...

I can certainly empathize. I have been in a similar situation with quilts that were for display only in the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum. I was carrying all the Canadian paperwork and a letter from the museum curator. The custom officer took pleasure in delaying us for almost two hours. We had my 90 year old mother-in-law travelling with us. They even embarrassed her when she asked to use the bathroom. I agree it is bullies (with guns) who like to use their power. I hesitate to complain because we could get on the dreaded ‘list’ that will cause problems in the future.
His argument was that we were destroying the American textile industry. The textile industry is largely out-sourced now. Cotton is purchased from India or Africa, spun, dyed and woven in the Phillipines and as finished fabric is sent to the US for sale. As Canadians we buy American fabrics and make quilts. If we sell them in the States, we undermine their economy. I think they have done a good job of that themselves!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the same customs agent would make someone write "sample" on a piece of art that was going for an exhibition! Defacing art is a criminal act - and your quilts are works of art. He should be charged - and if not severely reprimanded.
I have had problems with US Customs but this is the worst case of stupidity that I have heard of.

TerryOH said...

I think I would embroider the word SAMPLE on the quilt. then you could remove it at some later date. Use a thread like white that is not known to bleed.

leaha said...

so sorry that happened! Now to GET INK OUT spray it with hair spray! test on fabric scraps first. My signer dealer in Paducah KY has ink remover in quart size bottle he sells for $19.95 but I sure would try the hair spray first as much cheaper.

Anonymous said...

That is totally outrageous. I would certainly talk to the head of customs for sure.

Anonymous said...

I am so extreamly sorry that you had to do that. It is a sad day when an older women is harrased like a common criminal and made to ruin such beautiful works of art. I hope that you will be making a few complaints and talking to a few tv stations. sometimes the best way to get a fix is to make it a public view.

Anonymous said...

I just read about your ordeal at the border. I am soooo sorry that you had to deface your quilts. I think "sample" doesn't even describe what your quilts are - they are not mass produced, they are unique. Would that guard have done the same thing to a painting? I hope he or she gets reassigned to some innocuous place - or gets fired. Wendy in southern Alberta

Cbar said...

This type of behavior is appalling and shows just what type of people this government wants in the positions of even the bottom of the barrel authority. Just imagine what this agent's superiors must be like to allow this type of abuse of power. Low life wannabes are always in these types of jobs. Never take commons sense for granted when dealing with United States Government.

Cbar said...

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/175/kw/complaint/related/1

File a Complaint of rude and unprofessional treatment by Customs and Border Protection.

I would send a complaint every hour on the hour until I was received an answer.

KnitKnut said...

OMG. I just heard of this from one of my US acquaintances. I'm Canadian too and the border scares the stuffing out of me! That is tantamount to vandalism by proxy. Would he also have done it if you had been taking a valued and famous painting across as, say, a loan on exhibit to a museum?!
As a textile artisan who has shown in the US I always ship via UPS (they can't break textiles). My shipment has always arrived safe, sound and unopened..(so far!). You have my deepest sympathy.

Daphne Greig said...

I've put this issue behind me and have had no issues since this episode. Shame about these quilts though!