10 September 2008

give me a break, okay?

I've been reading a discussion on an email list that I belong to that I find...well...tedious.

The discussion revolves around what size a piece of fiber art should be in order to be labeled as an art quilt. Some say that if its small (meaning under 20"), then its an experiment and has no place in the art quilt world and, therefore, in an exhibit.

So now we've gone from trying to defend the idea that even though these works are quilts, they are more art and not traditional bed quilts to trying to dictate what size something has to be to be worthy of being labeled as art.

It would seem to me that some people spend an inordinate amount of time trying to classify things and make sure that there are a set of rules that suit them. I'm particularly frustrated by this conversation because I don't work in a large format - so apparently, to some people, I should not have a place in exhibits.


Maybe someone should let all those jurors who accepted me into numerous shows know that.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have a studio space. But even with that, the idea of working on large pieces (in the 50" range and up) is just totally unrealistic. As is the idea that I could compete with artists who have purchased $15k longarm sewing machines.

I do what I do because my space dictates it. I do what I do because I still enjoy stitching by hand, even though I often catch a lot of flack from people over this. I do what I do because I like smaller works that feel more intimate and draw people in. And I don't think I should have to defend that to anyone, especially to someone working in the same media as me.

I guess the recurring conversation of trying to define what is art is so tiring. I don't understand why anyone needs a definition.

So why don't we try this? Why don't we all just go make things and be happy and fill the world with artwork and not worry about what other people are doing?

Might be a novel concept.


Angie in AZ said...

I'm totally with you. I hate working on anything big! Crib size is about the biggest I'd consider but 12 inches is great for me... or even smaller. Not only space dictates but time. With smaller pieces, I can actually finish something while my busy life keeps me running!

Joan said...

There should be no RULES in art!!!

Sidney said...

Anyone who says smaller works are not art has never seen anything you made! I am always amazed at the amount of beauty and message that you can fit into a smaller piece. Many times, the larger pieces are so overwhelming and busy that the message is lost.

Judy said...

I'm with you 100% on that one Lynn!

Leann said...

I thought these silly arguments would have gone away by now. It was in 1917, long before even I was born, that Marcel Duchamp took a urinal, set it on it's back, signed it R. Mutt, and titled it "Fountain". Art is where you find it. If people find some pieces too small, they can turn away.

Yarnhog said...

Oh, I totally agree! Who's to say what's art and what isn't anyway? There is plenty of world-renowned "art" that looks like crap to me, and plenty of amateur fiddlings that I absolutely love. So what should I consider art? Why don't we all just enjoy what we enjoy and stop worrying about what to call it?

Anonymous said...

I have always been under the impression that QUILT is the process; layers quilted together. With that, it doesn't matter what the size is! tt

michele said...

There was a time when quilts constructed and/or quilted with sewing machines were rejected for not being hand stitched. It's time for closed minded people to be quiet and pout in their own tiny world. Progress opens up the world.

nkjohnston said...

OMG! That's like saying paintings have to be a certain size. Duh.

Apparently those having a problem with the definition having to do with size have never attended an art exhibit of quilts, the Chicago, Houston, or Paducah shows, etc., etc., etc.

Hmph! (Stamping foot)

TAS said...

Art like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It has no limits, just emotion or lack of.

SplendiferousFiber said...

Gee, there are painted miniatures in art museums and nobody thinks they don't belong. Another example of art quilters who want to be taken seriously as artists sabotaging themselves with nitpicky unprofessional attitudes.

Diana said...

Art is a matter of interpretation. I belong to a group that makes ACEO/ATC. This stand for (Art Card Editions and Originals) are collectible art cards the size of standard trading cards, 2.5" x 3.5".

In 1999, some fellow introduced this art form on the internet and it became a movement known as ATC or Artist Trading Cards. Artists from all over the world began swapping artwork. ATCs also became very popular in art books and magazines, and contests and meets were set up around the globe. ATCs were also quite popular on eBay.

I have made quilts this size and have sold or traded with other Artists.

Artists or Fiberartists normally have an open mind and encourage your creativity. I certainly do! Continue creating your art any size that you want and it will be apprreciated.

Diana said...

There is also a group that makes OSWAO. What is OSWOA? OSWOA™ stands for "Original Small Works of Art". Each one is 4" x 6" and fits perfectly in a small photo album. You can make a complete collection of wonderful art and display it as a coffee table book! You can also frame them for beautiful paintings for your walls.

I have made quilts this size too. My medium is fabric and I have made ALL sizes.