Apr 24, 2009

Interesting Article

"Campbell's Soup Cans" by Andy Warhol

I am continuing to quilt "Mulberry Bush" but spent last night reading an article in the most recent SAQA magazine on what we should call ourselves when we make quilts whose purpose is to be art. (Can you see I was careful how I said that.) I have read several articles on this subject since this type of quilting has become popular. I must say I do not get it. What does it matter what we decide to call ourselves be it quilter, art quilter, fiber artist, etc. etc. etc. Is how we choose to identify ourselves that important? Do we all have to use the same terminology for ourselves just because we make quilts that hang on the wall and not lay on a bed?

I choose the terminology of art quilter just because it is understandable to most non-quilters. I am not making a statement that quilts that lay on a bed are not also art. I am not saying that
a pillow, a handbag or anything else is not art. For me almost everything can be art if you choose to look at it with an artistic eye. Didn't Andy Warhol make that statement years ago when he painted his famous Campbells Soup can painting shown above?

I wish everyone would stop being concerned with how we choose to "label" ourselves and just look at the art we produce.


Eva said...

Maybe it doesn't matter for the process of making quilts, but I think it does concerning reflexions on what content or layout you choose. A symmetrical or scattered order? Abstract composition or figurative? -- While finding an identity as an artist, such considerations do make sense. Is it craft or art? Is it craft, as long as it is lying on a bed, but if someone comes along and says, "hey! That's art!", the quilt may rise from the bed and spend its existence in upright position on the wall... Perhaps this IS a way to tell the difference.

Libby Fife said...

I think it only matters to people who have a need to categorize something, which is most of us. Labels are certainly easier to understand more quickly. Things have to be familiar or understood in a context somehow. The label of "art" or "quilt" is something familiar to most people.

There is a marketing/sales angle as well. Do you need to sell what you produce?

I also suspect that different terms carry positive and negative ideas-craft versus art, etc.

I believe that in the end the only thing that matters is how you see your work (art quilts or otherwise) and how the people you surround yourself with see your work. Plus, don't take yourself too seriously:)

Another good post:)

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

I have been through that over and over too. If you just say quilter they have to tell you about the quilts their relative made from octogons, of course meaning hexagons. I think the word art lets the audience absorb a little before jumping to any conclusions. However I've had people walk away from me because they were so unfamiliar with the term "art quilter" that they were afraid to hear more (non-crafty people of course). If you are identifying yourself to other quilters I think they "get it" that your work hangs on the wall. It' too bad that fabric still isn't accepted as an art medium by so many people. The debate will go forever I'm afraid.

Barbara Strobel Lardon said...

I agree with you, Libby. The "Arts and Crafts" movement was a time when the word Craft meant skilled woodworkers, potters, metalsmiths, architects etc. all of whom made art. Now it seems no one wants to be known as doing crafts.

Definitely do not take yourself too seriously, but serious enough to strive to get better and improve your work.

It is a shame it is not accepted totally as an art medium which is puzzling to me. I always thought artists were the most tolerant and open to anything being accepted as art. How did fabric become the outcast?

Sad to say the discussion probably will go on and on.

frannie said...

O.K., here's my two cents:

Artsy or Crafty? If it gives you that 'a-a-a-h!' feeling in the gut it's art. A well-crafted quilt on the bed keeps your body warm. An art quilt on the wall warms your soul.

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