Q is for Quilt in QR Code

Every time I’m in a postcard swap, I learn something new. Recently, this postcard arrived in my mailbox:

"Reflection," fabric art postcard © Diane Becka. All rights reserved.

The postcard is a black-on-black postcard that this scan doesn’t do justice. It’s at least four black fabrics–a sky, which is a sheer over another layer, a mountain and a lake–all quilted. The different depths of the blacks, the sparkling stars, the painted moon and reflection–it was all beautiful.

Diane Becka had put her name on the back of the postcard, so I had to find out more. Diane is a quilter who makes exquisitely planned and executed art quilts. They have a kind of spare beauty that is easy to admire, because you instinctively know that there is a lot of thought, planning, and careful work in this art. One of her quilt pieces is this one:

I smiled when I saw it. It’s a pattern like a QR Code–one of those squares you see associated with products. If you have an app on your smart phone, you can scan the code and get a special offer or find a website with a coupon. This QR code is a small quilt, perfectly translated.

Diane Becka's QR Code quilt. © Diane Becka, All rights reserved.

I don’t use the term “perfect” loosely. I was so delighted with the QR Code quilt, I picked up my iPhone and scanned it, you know, as a joke. The quilt works. My iPhone blinked, and I was taken to Diane’s website. The woman created a working QR Code as a quilt.

I felt like applauding at my computer. Creativity has all sorts of practical application. All you have to do is. . . create.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, creativity coach and artist who has a thing for postcards.


13 thoughts on “Q is for Quilt in QR Code

  1. Outstanding……
    I am so thankful for the opportunity you provide us through your daily posts and then the knowledge you give us of others living, loving and being creative in their lives.
    Thank you

  2. I was intrigued by the idea that you listed a copyright for a QR Code™, but didn’t list the trademark for the term itself. I guess you could copyright such a code, but I wonder if you’d be copyrighting the pattern or the underlying text that the pattern expresses? Hmmm. Interesting puzzle!

    QR Code™ is owned by a company called Denso Wave. It’s actually a fairly simple system that’s pretty well explained on their site. And by the way, I’m pretty sure Nokia was the first to ship cell phone software that utilized the codes! (I used to help design software for Nokia)

    • The photo I used was one that Diane took. The quilt she made is her work and under her copyright. If someone likes it and pins it to Pinterest, I wanted her name to be associated with it, not mine or my website’s. I must admit that I didn’t know QR Code ™ was trademarked, and I’ll also admit that I don’t stick a trademark after everything that has one.

      • SInce I got interested, I looked more deeply. A copyright asserted on a QR code is a rather gray area, it seems. It would probably apply to the underlying text, not the pattern, because the pattern is nothing more than a method of expressing text. If the text can be copyrighted (that is, it’s not simply a “fact” like a number or a URL) then maybe that already applies to the code.

        On the other hand, there are claimants who assert copyright over individual words and facts, and there have even been copyright assertions over individual musical notes (that is, just one note). Some of these have reached judges and apparently are generally thrown out. It appears that others have been settled in various ways, probably because court is expensive.

        It’s a fascinating little corner of messy details. By the way, one of the uses of QR codes is to include them in a photo to assert origin and serve as a sort of inherent attribution. So the photo of a quilt as a QR code, wherever it’s reproduced, carries its own association with Diane’s URL because it IS that URL. Brilliant!

        It also occurs to me that a QR code has the capacity to “be” a bit of text like this: “By reproducing this code I assign to Megabozo Corp., in perpetuity, ownership rights to this and all associated content”. The ultimate in fine print; you can’t read it but it’s generally accepted as valid.

        • Copyright is one of the most confusing, awful, difficult, and fast-changing issues on the face of the planet. Particularly for artists. For example, while the QR Code Quilt is its own copyright, it is only if you scan it. If you just click on it, it does NOT take you to Diane’s site–it just makes the photo bigger. I did the article knowing that a lot of artists would like the idea, and I wanted to attribute it to the person I know who did the work, owned the quilt, and again, took the photo I was using. That’s also important. It’s not my photo or scan. If you know of any good copyright experts I can interview for an article I’m writing, please let me know.

        • Your comments about copyright are very interesting, especially about whether it would be the code pattern or the underlying text that would be protected, and I agree it would be the text. The generated codes don’t have to represent a URL, they can represent almost anything.

          But in the case of my quilt, I view the copyright as applying to the artwork as a whole, not as a copyright of the code pattern itself, that being only one element of the work. The choice of colors, fabrics, design, scale, and purpose hold meaning as well.

  3. I love frabric postcards. I’ve been in a few swaps for them and they are fun to make as well. The QR code quilt is amazing. I just got a new smart phone so now I need to figure out the app and start scanning these in.

  4. I am a big fan of this book, not because I can get a lot out of it, which I did, but that extroverts and those in between can learn a little more about us and perhaps learn how to communicate on our level.

    • I’m in the first third, and my enthusiasm is growing. Extroverts won’t read it. And, alas, it is not their job to understand us. It’s our job to speak to them in ways that they can hear. We’ve got to do the educating.

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