18 July 2011

my medium does not define me

On some of the email lists I belong to, there is a passionate discussion going on that was sparked by the following comments that a 2011 Quilt National juror made in the show catalog:

" What about these works of art demands that they be formed from cloth and thread? Is there a message and meaning that can only be revealed through this medium?"

I don't have the book (so its possible, even likely, that there is far more expanded on this statement) but have been intrigued by the heated response to this.

There is a part of me that doesn't understand the question. Why do painters use paint? Why do potters use clay? Why do artists who draw use pastels or charcoal or colored pencils?

Seems to me like its largely a matter of personal preference.

I've encounted back lash when I tell people I'm a fiber artist. In fact, I remember not too long ago getting an email from a blogger letting me know that she had blogged about me. When I read the post, she referred to me as an artist but always put the word in quotes. So it read (and I'm paraphrasing), "I found this blog where this "artist" does this..."

I was confused at the time. It felt really condescending and I debated about whether or not I should say something to her about it. In the end, I let it go because I didn't feel like it was worth the amount of energy it would take up. It felt negative and I don't want that kind of energy attached to my work.

Why do fiber artist feel the need to so vehmently defend fabric as a medium?

I guess the discussion is good. It makes us think about things. To answer the questions, I use fabric because I like being able to hold it in my hand, tear it, reassemble it, print, paint, stitch, layer. Could I do this with other mediums? Maybe, but the draw for me is the versatility of it, the endless variations.

I don't know....in the end I don't think it matters.

I'm an artist.

My medium does not define me.

12 comments:

Vicki W said...

"I'm an artist.

My medium does not define me."

Amen.

Jay said...

You hit it on the head, girl!!! I, too, am an artist...and my medium does not define me!!!! thanks for the discussion!

Bonita Rose said...

Here here. I am a creative soul.. in so many ways... and u are right, paint doesn't define me.. just as fabrics and thread don't define me... so many things define me, and I'm okay with that! hugs xo

Julie Shackson said...

Excellent rumination on the nature of the artist. Best not to get too bothered by the dogmatic opinions of others I've found. You know you're an artist and that's all that matters!

Linda said...

good job!

Debra Spincic said...

In the end, it just doesn't even matter.

Jeannie said...

Amen! You are an artist!

colorsmith said...

"Artist" was in the first word that I used in my blog yesterday to describe you. Hope you were not offended. I only have a little time in my day to write the blog. It is part of the creative time I am trying to give myself. And like my artwork... it is not always perfect. I just need to keep on pushing through.
You so often have great topics on your blog..

Lianne said...

I have to say, this is exactly why I avoid those sort of places, people and discussions. The idea I have to defend and justify everything I do as an ARTIST saps the very soul out of me. There is something so pointless about it. Being creative is about not having rules and exploring. If I can't do that without being labelled then I'd rather not be an artist, by their definition. So ive shunned it. I am not an artist. I am a Creative. I am in the business of being creative, not selling art. And I'm a much happier and better artist because of it.

Diana said...

I am a potter , and now design and make metal jewelry . I have always struggled with using the word "artist". Because, people will say " Oh, you are a painter ?" Then one might say "You're a crafter . " But, in the past year I have stand firm that I am an " Artist " and not intimidated by saying so . No matter what our medium is ~~~ Thanks for " just saying "

Deb H said...

Well said, Lynn.

HollyM said...

It's taken me a long tome to see myself as an artist. I feel the same as yo about it. The medium doesn't matter.