So I’ve been puzzling over this for some time now, and I am really interested to know what you guys think.
We would probably all agree that a painting is art, right? Even if it’s a painting by an amateur painter, I still think of it as ‘art’. But what about quilts? If you or I make a quilt or a wall hanging, is it art? Or craft? And it doesn’t just apply to quilting – it applies to all the ‘craft’ genres. For example, I regard everything that Mr. X Stitch or Bee Franck makes as art; to me, they are really talented, witty artists who choose to express that through cloth and thread, as opposed to a canvas and paint. I also consider the stitchers whom Mr. X Stitch features on his website as artists.
The Stitch Graffiti (shown above) was my favourite Mr X Stitch piece at The Stitch & Craft Show at Olympia this year- and I definitely regard this as art. But I also regard what my mother made as art, and I’m certain she never intended it as such. She was just crafting to have something to do in the evenings in front of the telly. But not surprisingly, my mum stitches at a professional level. She does everything at a professional level except knitting. But I think that might be because she started with a fair isle Xmas stocking pattern – if you’re a knitter you’ll know, that’s crazy, right? She’s also a very accomplished oil painter too, but I haven’t got any pictures of her paintings.
And I’ve made a bunch of quilts, which I regard as mostly craft, you know, as fancy expensive blankets. But sometimes if I am proud of the design I kind of think of it as usable fabric art. However, my friend Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts made me a wall hanging which I certainly regard as art and it’s a very treasured piece. And there are many ‘quilt artists’ out there - Shaun Quinlan, Luke Haines, Margot Lovinger are only 3 of the tons. They clearly create with an intent for their quilts to be art.
But what about you? or someone you really admire? Do you regard yourself or others as great crafters or as artists? Is there even a difference? What determines whether a piece is ‘art’ or ‘craft’?
I don’t know if Lynne of Lily’s Quilts meant this to be art or whether she even thought about where it falls within the art-craft spectrum, but I find that her YouTube quilt is so clever and striking that I’d consider it art:
Do you feel it’s the intent with which something is made that determines whether it’s art or craft? Or is it the level of expertise? Or is it all in the eye of the beholder? I sometimes feel that people are sexist about it, even without particularly meaning to be: that if a woman makes an amazing quilt, it’s an amazing quilt. But if a man makes an amazing quilt, it’s art. Do you find that to be true too?
What do you think? Is what you make art, even if it’s usable art? Or do you feel you’re a crafter? Is there even a difference?
P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crazy social application, my Google Friend Connect has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below.
© J C Excell, 2012