Thursday, November 08, 2007

Finding your voice

I just bought this book called "Speaking in Cloth" by Ann Johnston. If you don't know Ann Johnston, she is the master of dyeing fabrics and her quilts are amazing. This is truly a wonderful book. It isn't about techniques (you won't find any tutorials) but about the "language", "themes", "challenges" and "processes" these ladies go through to create their art. It is about 6 different views. It really is interesting that just like in fine art on canvas there are certain artists you can pick out their work and their styles. I hope one day to find my language theme etc. I really admire those ladies that create these breathtaking quilts and look at their work as an art form. It really is a process to get it to that point. I know many people and "many husbands" that look at what we do as being crafty and not really art. I know personally I look at a lot of what I do and see it as "crafty". It's not a bad thing and I do like to things that are crafty. At times, I'd like to take it to another level. It's just a process to have your piece have a "voice" and in my case a big commitment. I'm curious at what level you move from craft to art. I hope one day to be able to create larger pieces with themes achieving harmony and balance. It's a difficult thing. And, I give these women a lot of credit. I have an extra copy up for grabs. I will do a random drawing on Monday for a winner. But, you must answer these two questions, how do you find your artistic voice? What's your opinion on crafty vs. art?

I've been working on holiday themed small projects. Here's one...not sure if it will translate into a card or not. It's from the idea I posted earlier.


Blogger Nikki said...

I have to admit when I first saw the drawing I thought it was a broken christmas ornament and I didn't really get it. I like the dancer much better.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Sequana said...

I am SO ready for this book! I am right on the cusp of making that move. I'm eyeing up a competion (my first) with an ecological theme that has entries due on March 8th. I'm tossing all these ideas around in my mind. I know I'll need to block out weeks and weeks of times to do it right, but taking this first step is so hard. This book would really be a goddess-send to me.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I would love to be a part of your drawing! You picked the two hardest questions to answer didn't you!! Well here is my two cents worth.
craft vs art...thats a really hard one because craft is often very artistic. As an art quilter I want my work to be thought of more as Art and not so much as craft. Yet the craft of it is such an integral part of the whole that one cannot remove that from its being.So in the end I will have to say that craft is just one of the many many forms of art. Art,after all, is subjective to the obsever.
finding my artistic voice.After exploring many different artforms I was drawn back to fiber. fabric specifically. I love the textures,the mixing of different mediums. That this art form flows so swiftly from vague idea to definite form still amazes me sometimes. Though it may take me ages to complete a work I dont tire of it. This is how it feels for me. The work is a part of me. In essence it becomes my voice.
I dont know if any of this makes sense. I look forward to reading others ideas on these two points.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi Joanna!
Two great questions - one (the second) I've contemplated for a long time.

How to find your artistic voice? Be true to yourself, I guess. Don't follow the whims of others. Recognize when the artistic path you are taking is not the path you wish to be on, and make the changes you need to make. Easier said than done!

As far as the art vs. craft dilemma, this has always bugged me. I feel diminished as an artist (even though I shouldn't!) when people comment on how "crafty" I am - as if I'm good with a glue gun! Well, I posed this question on a list a few months ago and this was the explanation that I liked the best. It really makes sense to me!

"If you design a quilt, that is art. If you are a skilled technician
in assembling and stitching a quilt, you are practicing a craft. I
think the distinction is original "creativity". I think craftmanship
connotes hand workmanship, but art is "created" first,in the mind."

Art is created in the mind, craft is a skill. OK, my 2-cents.

5:14 PM  
Blogger tangled stitch said...

What is art and what is craft? Good question. I think art comes from the very soul of you. It takes your tools and digs deeper then ever before, everything you create means so much more. I am a crafter turned artist and my product seems so much more important to me now. Perhaps others could look at my work previously and see art, but I could only see craft. Now I look at my work and it is art. it comes from my very soul.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Purple Missus said...

I never was any good with words Joanna, but here is my opinion on these two thought provoking subjects:

What makes a piece of work ‘art’? Art for me is finding inspiration from what is around us and using that source material to create a piece of work that ‘speaks’ to you. It is created using ideas that come from inside you. Art is a piece of work that you have given your body and soul to, a piece that will make the viewer stop to think, to wonder and to interpret in their own way.
Craft is following a known route, a pattern, producing a technically correct piece.
Obviously the two disciplines overlap occasionally but to my mind craft pieces are generally just admired rather than studied.

Finding your artistic voice? Easy one to write about – very difficult one to put into practise.(Ask me how I know!) Just go with the flow, create from inside of you. Do what feels right for you and don’t worry about what the masses are producing or what they may or may not feel about your work. Be original and independent but not blinkered. Be inspired by what is around you – and just go for it! Learn to love what you do and if it doesn’t come out right,(in your own opinion), move on and learn from the experience.

10:56 PM  

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