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.