Friday, May 7, 2021

Artist or Quilter or Whatever on Off the Wall Friday

 This week, I was catching up with an old friend who said, "I didn't know you were artistic!"  That

struck me as strange since he knew darn well I've been quilting for nearly 30 years.  "Oh, I know you quilt, Nina, but I didn't realize that you did art too!"  As the inside my head exploded a bit,  I explained that what I do is design art which I then create with fabric.  

long pause


blank stare

"So do you frame them?"  OMG what this country doesn't know about art is crazy.  I mean. people can  tell you what Meghan Markle had for breakfast but they still think that to be real art it needs to be framed.  Honestly with all the ugliness in the world you'd think that the general public would be seeking out some beauty and uniqueness.  Okay, I'll stop this rant before it gets full blown, but my point is that art is more than what you see framed in a museum.

Don't get me wrong, I personally think art museums are a perfect place to start your art education.  That's where I started mine (Thank God the Cleveland Museum of Art is free so you can go as much as you want ... not as much as you can afford).  But for all that is Holy,  Art is so much more than what is framed or even chiseled.

Last weekend, we spent our 28th anniversary scouring the Salamanca Antiques Mall.  There we explored over 1000 vendors' treasures of yesteryear.   Seeing that much stuff - most of which was decorative- can set your senses reeling!  What I ended up doing most of the day was look at mid century pottery which of course is my latest obsession.  The fluid shapes of the pieces were amazing.  Yes most were old planters or vases but all were art.  Art they framed?  No...still art. The place was over flowing with unconventional things that people could use for decorative art.  Most not framed....all were art.

 (I did in fact bring home the prettiest print from 1900  that was framed for $10 but that's a whole other post...named "Weird Stuff I bought because I couldn't live without but my daughter will have to sell  or donate when I die")  

This is part of Martha Stewarts McCoy Collection (of course it is!)

Back to my original point though ... if you are a quilter who designs original quilts then you are an artist.  Your thing may be a more traditional flavor of log cabins and bear paws... still art  .... It maybe improvisational piecing... still art...It may be embroidery stylized with a 19th century flare ... still art.  ....  If you are creating with color, value, texture, line, shape, pattern....IT'S ART.

Now normally, I'm too old to get hung 
up with titles.  Am I an artist?  Yes  .... Am I a quilter? ... Yes!  I like both words..  Truly, at this point in life I don't feel the need to justify to anybody what I do anyways.  But it would be nice once in a while if people actually understood what I did......ALSO if they didn't look so surprised when I say I'm an artist.  I mean, gosh, we all don't have to have tatoos, body piercings and purple hair.

Rant over.  Thank you for indulging me.

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Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

You are totally right, and it's a pretty good definition of art. Purple hair could be fun otherwise ;D

Marie said...

It is so true! I am often confronted to this kind of thinking. As I quilt after my 'normal' working hours, what I do cannot be considered art, right? It is only craft... And what I do is useful anyway: quilts and bags... a serious artist must apparently spend his days making art that can be framed. Ridiculous

Nina Marie said...

Ohh for the record, the minute I was to work from home, I dyed my hair purple. The dark hair plus the purple didn't quite suit it's hard to maintain. So it took several attempts to lighten it to a lighten it to a golden rose.For now I'll stick with my blonde highlights.. Thankyouverymuch!

For the love of geese said...

Oh I love milk glass and probably could have spent hours shopping. Thank you for the linky party and yes, art comes in all forms.

Angela said...

Oh, I totally understand. Our world needs to be better educated about art!

DVArtist said...

Good rant. Before covid I belonged to several art committees and you would go nuts trying to get these people to realize that art is more than a painting. Have a great day today.

Anonymous said...

100 % agree! Sheesh!


Jo said...

And my rant is often about the term "decorative arts," which encompasses fashion, jewelry, pottery, etc. That term is often uttered in a condescending tone by people who think only "fine art" qualifies as art.

Sylvia said...

This hit the spot. I have been hunkered down for too long. But around here people are not being safe and not enough are getting the vaccine, so I am still keeping put. I miss going to an art quilt group in the next county. Felt so part of something. They are not meeting again yet.

Thanks for your blog and weekly messages. It inspires me to put myself out there, even if it is just getting something done in my day.

Rebecca Grace said...

Oh my gosh, your "rant" cracked me up! Artist, artisan, quilter, designer, crafter, sewist, blah blah blah. People with their labels and their ignorant misconceptions about What Is Art! I think the particular denigration and condescension we encounter as quilters especially is due to the fact that quilt making has long been associated with "women's work" and there is this idea that Art is something lofty and magical that is done by men like Picasso, Michelangelo, or Da Vinci. Also the misperception of art as pure commodity, since paintings and sculptures have no functional purpose in the way that pottery, quilts, or clothing have. One term that might help in those situations would be to describe yourself as a "fiber artist," but even then, the question about putting quilts in frames? My goodness -- if you'd smacked him for asking that question, we all would have forgiven you immediately because he totally deserved it!