I got to chatting with an art student yesterday. We were talking about designing a quilt and she told me she couldn’t sew in a straight line. No problem…. work with art quilts. She asked what happens when you sew the pieces together. I explained quilts don’t have to be geometric. I explained that an art quilt was sort of a cross between a painting and a quilt. I sketched out the Tree of Life Quilt and explained that I used water color pencils and oil paint sticks along with fabric. That’s when she became intrigued.
This reminded me of a conversation Jim and I had with one of his art teachers. This particular teacher taught painting, and I don’t think he put quilts into the category of art. While he liked and accepted Jim’s art, he didn’t seem to think my art was Art.
Why is it that when it comes to Art, fiber and fabric are considered merely utilitarian? Ceramic teachers don’t discourage functional pottery. Design teachers don’t discourage combining functional and beauty. Painting teachers don’t discourage painting merely because it’s not functional. What is it with fiber and fabric?
Is it because fiber and fabric have traditionally been limited to women? Think back about 15 years when male quilters were an anomaly. In some quilting circles, they are still an anomaly. A friend’s husband was ridiculed for taking a quilting class. The ridicule came from some of the women in the class. Now think back about 40 years when female and artist were words rarely used together. Women artists weren’t taken seriously. I suspect vestiges of that remain. The art classes I’ve been in have all had more female students than male students. Will Art become art if Art is practiced by women? Sexism is far from dead.
Maybe what we need is another Art Deco movement where we concentrate on combining beauty with function.
I’ve been playing with photography again. Here’s the original shot.
The sun was getting low and the light was getting weird. Perfect time to take photos.
Here’s how I played with the shot.
And my favorite result:
I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by her blog and see what a number of artists have been doing.