04 January 2009

its not so black and white

I got an email the other day asking if I was abandoning art altogether in favor of crafts like knitting and crocheting and spinning. It got me to thinking and after having some back and forth conversation with the recipient, I decided to go ahead and mention it here too.

I haven't been in the fiber art world a very long time, only about eight years now. The people who do know me know me from my found object art quilts. I'm pretty proud of the things I've accomplished so far. Owned a fiber art store for three years, got into many juried exhibits, been in several invitationals, been published in books, been published in a magazine, curating exhibits. Its been busy busy busy.

And I love all of it. But here is the thing...the fiber art realm is a huge place. I am of the opinion that knitting and crocheting and spinning is also art. They all take skill, patience, and creativity. Isn't that what art is all about? Those who design these items work hard and produce beautiful things and it goes back to my number one love about all this: its a connection to the past of doing art by hand.

The name of my store was Lost Arts Stitchery, it focused on all the needle arts that people say are gone, things of the past. I don't believe that, never have. So moving into different areas of the fiber world seems like a natural progression to me. It is the act of creating that I love most and I'm still doing that, in spades. So I'm content with the things that I am working on now.

So am I abandoning art quilts? No, not at all. I'm just taking the time to refine the way I think about them, modifying my beliefs about how I should work and removing the things that annoy me in favor of methods that make me happier.

When will I finally get to the point where I begin producing work that doesn't involve yarn and needles and hooks and wheels? Not sure. The thing is, I'm actually feeling easy about what I'm doing right now. None of it is forced, its all very meditative and in all honesty, that's what I need most right now. The past few years have been a whorl wind of madness, some good, some bad. I'm finally slowing down and finding my footing again. I know that in the stillness I have from the work I'm doing now I will find what I need in other areas of my life. I refuse to force my muse into the things I have built into my mind that I should be doing.

And its working. My sketchbook is filling, things are moving around in my head. Nothing that I feel I want to make but there is a definite foundation building. And I think it will be my most honest work ever, something that will feel more like an extension of me then anything else I've ever done.

So it is my sincere hope that you will hang in there with me, that you will still find the blog amusing and that I'm not boring you to tears. Change is inevitable and I need to figure out the shift that has happened in my mindset toward my own artwork. In the meantime, I am not capable of sitting still and not making anything. So I am rooting myself more firmly in the knitting/crochet/spinning world. Makes me happy. And that's what I want more then anything.

Happy creating.


SplendiferousFiber said...

For any who doubt that knitting, etc can be an art form, take a look here:


Not only was this original knitted piece in three shows, but it won an award of merit at an ART show. I was one of two fiber artists juried in. The other merit awards went to watercolors, oils, clay, and such.

Yarnhog said...

I always think it's funny that people battle so furiously over what's "art" and what's not. It's like arguing over what's beautiful and what's not. It's subjective. Completely, and notwithstanding all those so-called expert opinions that try to dictate what has artistic merit and what doesn't. I have a neighbor who is a successful "artist". His work is flat and emotionless and leaves me cold. Isn't that the exact antithesis of what art is supposed to achieve?

Bottom line: if it feels like art to you, it is.

Anonymous said...

Art like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you are happy, who cares what anyone else thinks.

mary said...

art is everywhere
and everything

whoever emailed you needs to realize this

i face this alot where i work, what is art, i explain it...people get it!

the fact that someone who emailed you, and probably in the art world themselves, who thinks that not making something you have been for a while means you are abandoning it is so wrong in their thinking.

one has to refuel
get inspiration
try new things
expand on their knowledge

as artist we have to trust and believe that our work is a reflection on ourselves, not what others want us to be or do.
the fact that you are knowing you need a break is commendable, do it.
take as much time as you need.
soak all the creativity up into you and revitalize yourself.

people grow, so does their art.
people take vacations, and their art takes time off too.

heck i am along for the ride...lets create and have fun!

Gisela Towner said...

I will most definitely hang in there...
A friend took me to two shops last week in a little artsy shopping area. One was in a huge barn -- all quilting stuff downstairs and all yarn upstairs. I actually hypervenilated, I was so excited. Across the path from that was a yarn/fiber/spinning shop. The owner showed me how to spin with a drop spindle and it was soooo cool! I wanted a spindle immediately, but my DH is a woodworker and I knew he would choke if I paid $40 for a dollars worth of wood. so I bought yarn and dyes and 'Start Spinning' by Maggie Casey. DH made me a spindle that night in about 20 minutes and I'm playing with with some roving that I already had.
DH has offered to build me a wheel --I'm now scouting out builing plans. Not so much for me -- he has a new lathe and it would be a great way for him to get practice on it. Yeah right...
I never even heard of a drop spindle till I started following your blog -- thank you!

Cathy W said...

You owned a fiber art shop? and you dare to do something with fiber, yet not the expected fiber art? I so enjoy your thoughts and humor and insights.

and I think I want to learn to knit too. Now. guess I'm on my own finding a teacher, right?