Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Dilemma

Definition of Art - The use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments or experiences that can be shared with others
Definition of Craft - An occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill.

I have a problem and would like to invite your opinions. If you have followed this blog during the course of my degree you will know that I have been interested in the dilemma of what should be defined as art or what should be defined as craft, It was even central to my dissertation . Personally I came to the conclusion that although  craft is perceived as something of lower value than so called fine art many areas defined as craft contain exquisite pieces of 'art' so why on earth is there this distinction.
Now I am in the real world away from academia and over the last year I have been struggling as to where I should place myself and my work. I would love to keep fighting the fight to destroy this differentiation but practically I need to find my place.
I have been mixing with both the fine art world and the world of craft (by which I mean 'craft' of the highest quality, things that will be the antiques and treasures of the future) and I think I now know into which world I fit, am most comfortable. For me fine art now seems to be all about concept- about how well you can talk the talk rather than how beautiful or emotionally moving a piece is and to be brutal a lot about snobbery (has anyone been watching the latest 'Show me the Monet' program on BBC?. If I hear something degraded for being 'decorative' once more I shall throw something through the TV! Something doesn't have to be ugly, badly created or depressing to mean something to the artist or the audience.) To be quite honest when I am surrounded by the world of 'fine art' I get this niggling feeling of being trapped within 'the emperor's new clothes.
So obviously this is not my world - I feel my work has concept but I also like it to have beauty, I comment on the world in the way I see it and if people think that's a bit Disney, tough! But I also value skill and perfection of technique and when I mix with 'craftsmen' I see the same values. There is no pretense , no 'bullshit' basically just real passion . I like them more, they are real people who I am honored to be associated with - so after a year of soul searching this is my place. I know many will say you shouldn't define yourself ,be an artist. But real life isn't like that , the world will define you whatever so do you keep fighting this issue and stop producing because it effects your work or do you find peace and concentrate on moving your work forward.
Now for the dilemma for which I would like your input. It may seem a little thing but its bugging me. I need to get some more business cards printed but how should I now define myself for the client. Fellow craftsmen who work in other disciplines seem to be able to do this with much more ease - jewellery designer, ceramicist, blacksmith, furniture designer,etc... but what does someone who works with textiles call themselves. I am not a weaver, I work with fibre and stitch- so not a feltmaker .. If I call myself a textile craftsmen people think you make curtains? Any ideas? I feel if I can nail this it will be the last piece in the puzzle and allow me to move forward rather than waffling around as I have done for the past year. I need to move on.

Monday, 9 July 2012

There and Back Again

I've been on a little trip to Yorkshire. As this was the first break away from Hornchurch in over a year it was much needed but why is it by the time you've done the washing and the ironing, sorted out the house and generally caught up you feel like you need another holiday.
I've been to Yorkshire many times but I always like to experience something new if possible. So this time we went on a sailing ship out of Whitby, vistited a glorious Lavender Farm, revisited the scents of Castle Howard's Rose Garden, watched a Barn Owl hunting in the twilight, opened the front door of the cottage to be greeted by a Hare, saw an entire field filled with Herons (might be the weather had something to do with this- enough said) and were presented with the gift of a baby bunny by the enormous ex-stray tabby cat we befriended (fortunately it was alive and unharmed so we got it back to the field and gave the cat some ham instead, it didn't seem to mind.)
I also like to track down some interesting textiles. York Minster provided some lovely altar cloths and some beautiful work by their broiderers guild. Nunnington Hall some wonderful old samplers (sorry no pics - National Trust!) I also tracked down the quilt museum in York - I always get lost in York, don't know why esp. with all that Yorkshire blood coursing through my veins- but was extremely disappointed. Great Building and I know no major exhibition on at the moment but what there was there was deeply uninspiring £6 worth!
What I could do with a gallery like that locally - its makes me weep.
So now I'm back - lets see what comes next.
(Photos to follow when blogger decides to work again!)