Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On Being a Maker

One of the wonderful things about being an artist working in quilts as a medium is that I get to make art and functional objects. The Quilt Industry is vast and includes hobbyists, professionals, artists, crafters; in short, lots of people who make things for many reasons. Where one falls on this varied spectrum is a matter of self definition in most cases.  Since I went to art school calling myself an artist has become my natural default for categorisation.  For some, having to pick a strict definition is daunting and they refuse to do it.  I understand that sentiment but I have not problem ticking several boxes off and moving from one to the next.

So while my serious career ambition is to make art, and that is art that hangs on walls, is seen in galleries and fits with most traditional capital A art categories, I am also very much a Maker.

The things I make are usually functional and usually fabric. I make them for myself and my family and also friends. These are objects made with love for specific people. The energy that goes into them is different from my art making. In some ways I still consider them to be art or artistic but they are a product of spreading joy to my loved ones rather than an expression of a conceptual idea.

Making these objects balances me out creatively. In the same way that painting one day and writing a poem the next day would. You are working different creative muscles and channelling your inspiration with another intent. Luckily for me making a bed quilt still works my technical skills in a way that can enhance my art quilts.

Creativity is a fluid thing. It needs to move like water and should not be controlled rigidly. Marking special occasions with making carries on a rich tradition of giving that has always been a part of quilt making.  This can be applied to many types of making too. Cooking & baking, scrapbooks, cards, candles, there is no end to a human's capacity to make with artistry and care.  And that is a beautiful thing.

*The quilt pictured above was a joint effort between myself and my friend for a gift to a very special little boy with much love.  And we used this pattern.


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