Alright everyone. I’m done moping around my house after having that darn wisdom teeth surgery, and I’m ready to get back to work after a long week of doing nothing. My brilliant plan for a website is no more; I discovered I was wholly incompetent in that arena and I should just stick to the analog and non-digital machines I know best (not including my digital camera, which is slowly starting to earn as much respect from me as my 35mm slr). Blogging should suffice for now, I suppose.
I wouldn’t say I didn’t get anything done last week, actually. I finished knitting a small panel for my dollhouse project, “tapestries for small places,” and dug out the felt I made last year in foundation’s fibers for the applique work. Lot’s of embroidery to come.
Speaking of embroidery.
While I was in Maine I got a lot more work done on my embroidery project about personal folktales; I know it doesn’t look like a lot of progress but there are a lot of slow details going on. And no matter how hard I try to make the backs of my embroidery neat, it never works out that but, but I also never complain.
I have been talking a lot with my weaving teacher about the idea of creating something and not allowing it to be seen, that is to say, in a gallery setting. For our pick-up project, one of the ideas we were supposed to consider was the use of negative and positive images that were created on either side of the cloth, and I not only chose not to display the back, but I also concealed part of the front. That idea is still pretty heavy in my mind, especially when you think about all of the work that goes into a fiber piece; every process is so time consuming and labor intensive, the idea of doing all that work and then displaying it with the intention to conceal is rather destructive in a way, and a sort of paradox in a certain sense. I’m not literally taking apart the piece, but I would be destroying the content of the piece in the context of having an by choosing to only display the back, which can sometimes be just as beautiful. I mean- look at those colors!
There are several ideas that I’m running with here. One stems from a conversation I had about weaving regarding the precision and “correctness” of the craft. Traditionally, I have heard of weaving classes consisting of mainly making yardage, and though the rigorous artistic content that was pushed in my class was far from foreign to me, it was apparently so for others. Weaving is an art. Ikat, when done to the point, is an absolutely beautiful, breathtaking form of image creation. And it all comes with rules, standards, and settings. The main point of the conversation I’m referring to was this: that weaving, in it’s purest essence as an art form, is nothing more than a medium through which an artist creates, and just like painting or drawing, the rules can only take you so far.
I am not interested in weaving a neat piece of cloth, and I never will be. Just like I am not interested in developing a perfect print (or even knowing all the darkroom steps) or drawing a perfect body, or making an imppecable piece of needlework that is as clear on the back as it is on the front. I’m not even sure I understand the appeal of making something perfect. I think the most amazing thing about weaving is that I can make a piece of cloth, but I don’t have to use any of the traditional steps to get there, and when I’m done with it I can wrap it around my neck, burn it to the ground, or hang it in a gallery, because it is not something precious.
Which is my other train of thought. As artists, we represent a certain class in society. There are the fine arts (the high arts) and the low arts, and everyone is always at war with each other, aruging and whining and trying to out-do everyone else. And whether your art is showing in the MoMA or your best friend’s basement which also happens to be the hottest spot in town, it’s still only accessible to a select group of people. And these days, with big name artists hiring other people to do their work (yeah, we saw DiVinci and the gang doing it with schools and studios – but it wasn’t really for the contemporary conecption of what art is today), the value of providing ideas versus actualy ability to create is hopelessly skewed. So what does it mean then, to see the content of the piece as it was made verus the content of the piece as it is displayed (front versus back)? Who is the real audience, and what then, is the significance of making, and being seen or unseen?
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