Saturday, April 30, 2011

Giving Thanks and Making Art

I am thankful for my family's Easter Sunday brunch!
I am treasuring all the goodness I have been noticing in my life and my art. I am thankful for the good I have received and the goodness that is always on its way to me. Do you ever have a day when the colors are just brighter and the smell of that first cup of coffee is just a delight? When today is one of those delightful days, it is comforting to begin looking around and noticing all that is going right in my world. I can sometimes worry about what is going wrong...I think I was raised to be a problem solver. It is relaxing to instead focus on what is right, what is good, what is good enough just the way it is. In my art studio during a creative session, I will look down at the woolen image I am needle felting, and I sometimes actually say out loud, "It is done." I've been known to work overtime on an image and I think it is a measure of one's developing artistic talent to stop the creative process at the right time. It is done. It is good. It is beautiful. It is art.
I am thankful and I appreciate your stopping by today. I'd love to hear what you are thankful for today...I am in search of another cup of wonderful coffee! Thank you Ted for my coffee...


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fine Art and Fine Craft

Vintage Lady by TushTush on Etsy, $90
Rainy night here in Colorado last night and a bowl of popcorn warmed me up. Switched on PBS' Antiques Road Show for a bit and was flabbergasted by the New York appraiser who said, and I paraphrase
This 19th century woven portrait of a man is amazing in its detail. It is very difficult to get this kind of detail in any medium, and the fact that this is loom-woven is impressive. If this weren't a decorative art, if it were a fine art painting, it would easily be worth ten times the amount I can appraise it for today.

I almost choked on my popcorn! This seemed to be a blatant example of how the needle arts are undervalued, even when those who judge these items understand the painstaking effort that must be combined with artistic talent to create them.

How does this happen? In the 19th century and beyond, when wealthy individuals began supporting artists so that they could have portraits painted of themselves and their families, and in turn collect art and watch their investment and prestige grow, there seems to have been a short list of the artistic mediums that could be considered fine art. I'm no historian, but it seems that items made to decorate the homes of those who were not wealthy, perhaps made by someone not considered a fine artist by the upper class, were never considered quite as valuable. Was it a question of where the item was hung or whose portrait it was? There also seems to be a difference between that which is made by an "artist" and that which is made for oneself, even with guild training or equivalent expertise. The division between fine craft and fine art is still important to some. Fiber arts like weaving, needlework, embroidery, quilting...they appear to be too mundane for appraisers to take seriously, at least based on what I saw last night, regardless of the end result.

Robin's Egg Blue Pillow, $95
When I think of what I create for a living, which is fiber folk art, I don't use the words "decorative art", but I can see how others might. I may not make items that will be collected by those who want to watch their investment grow, but I know my folk art is collected by those who want to have in their home items that have been made with talent and love. I am proud to create charming decorative items, demonstrating fine craftsmanship and cheerful energy. Can an appraiser adequately quantify the cheerful energy of a wool bird perched on a wool cherry tree branch? They seem to be able to do so when it is made of paint and canvas. I submit that the person who made the antique woven portrait in last night's show demonstrated the same skills that a portrait artist would be praised for, and did so thread by thread, creating a completely realistic portrait of a soldier with a determination and perseverance that perhaps only those who know needle art can appreciate. In fact, I am amazed by the value, skill, and lasting contribution to the field of needle art made by this unnamed woman. Do you think the dismissed fiber artist was likely a woman? I cheer for whomever made this woven portrait. The charming portrait I found on Etsy by a shop called TushTush represents for me this unsung needle art heroine!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, April 18, 2011

I am Held

Heart of Gold by heathersartstudio in Cincinnati, Ohio, $15
I heard a new song yesterday and I cannot stop singing it to myself. Does this ever happen to you?

Sometimes the song that keeps playing through my mind is annoying, but yesterday's song is uplifting, so I'm happy that it is my theme song for today.

I send my best wishes to you and encourage you to think of these song lyrics in whatever way is meaningful. Thanks for stopping by, Georgianne

I am held by God.
I am held by Peace.
I am held by Love.
I am Free.

I am held by God.
I am held by Peace.
I am held by Love.
I am Me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Honoring those who make our clothes

When you shop for clothes, is it hard for you to buy items you could easily make for yourself? I have this problem. I want to get over it though, because I tell myself I will make the simple A-line skirt from sweet cotton fabric instead of buying it, and then I never do. When a person knows how to sew clothes, it changes the way they feel about clothes. At least it does for me.

I read about another gal who thinks a lot about clothes and who is making clothes around the world. I learned about Lea Redmond and her tag exchange program in the Surface Design Associations magazine. How inspiring! Lea has a website called Leafcutter Designs, and from it, she exchanges a clothing tag you cut out of one of your garments for the tag shown in this photo. You sew the special tag into your garment, and when it gets passed on to a friend, sold on consignment, or given as a gift, it becomes a message to the next owner of that garment! I am going to participate as I have always had the feeling of connection with the person who sewed my clothes. I know what it takes to make a quality garment, and I admire the skill and effort. I also often worry about the working conditions of these folks. Do you ever think that a great price on an intricately made item is not so wonderful for the person who made it? How do you think about this?

These clothing tags from Lea were woven in the Eastern USA and she asks for a reasonable donation of $1 for each tag you'd like to exchange. If you cannot contribute the $1, she asks that you do not request more than 5 tag exchanges. She is keeping a map of the tags she has exchanged and it is fun for me to think of clothing around the world carrying this message of care, respect, fairness, and honor for those who make our clothes.

Thanks for stopping by,