Monday, December 17, 2007

Weaving and Art

In her latest comment, Meg has said that she likes to "hear what other weavers think." I can understand that desire, and know, as well, that she is someone who is working at selling her own work. So I will try to address the two further questions she has asked me.

The first question is "...would you wait to be approached [by a gallery]?"

If I wanted my work to be shown in a gallery, I would not wait to be approached. By "wanting" I mean much more than, gee, wouldn't it be nice................. The "wanting" has to be truly intentional. Any "wanting" I may currently have is not of this kind.

Her second question I have found more difficult to answer: "Will you, Peg, know when you've crossed that line [between craftsman and artist]?"

If I gave the impression of drawing a firm and clear line between craft and art, I did not mean to. If there was any line meant at all, it was a faint, shadowy, tentative line, perhaps a squiggle more than a line, which occurs when a weaver makes his first attempt at self-expression. The only thing he might be doing is changing the colors from the original that he is following. I don't care if he changes the color simply because he can't find the same color yarn as in the original design! When he does something like that, I might say that he is beginning to cross a line into a life of weaving adventures. I crossed that "line" a long time ago.

Now perhaps the line Meg refers to is a line I would have to draw in the sand, so to speak, should I choose to try to exhibit as an artist rather than as a weaver. This is not a decision, however, I could make. It is a decision made by the public. Painters exhibit as painters. Weavers exhibit as weavers. Art galleries display paintings. As a general rule they do not display weavings. So, to return to Meg's first question, if I wanted my weavings to be displayed along with paintings, really intentionally wanted that, it could not possibly happen if I waited to be approached. I would have to market my work very aggressively and be prepared for a great deal of rejection, perhaps (probably?) total rejection.

I would have to break down barriers: I would have to change how the world in general tends to think about art. I am not the kind of person to work at breaking down barriers.

Reading Meg's recent blog post, however, suggests to me that she has what it takes, including the very intentional wanting, to break down barriers. I will follow her pursuit with great interest (and envy!).

Now I am returning my energies back to weaving. That is where they belong. Of course, we are in the midst of Christmas preparations, and I already chafe at the resulting restrictions on my time. That chafing is far more real and important to me than thinking about displaying my work in any kind of a gallery.............. I do look forward to children and grandchildren arriving. But I also look forward to the time when Christmas celebrations are over......


Meg in Nelson said...

Oh, in my case, it's people's outdated perception that weaving is some kind of a granny thing, that we all weave old-fashioned, boring, homy things only.

Have a great holiday with your family, Peg, and I hope you find loom time as well.

Leigh said...

Interesting questions and thoughtful answers. It always seemed to me that "art" is a members-only club, kept so by especially painters and sculptors, who do not wish to expand the definition of "art." The argument often seems to carry a functional vs non-functional component, forcing weavers to be creative outside the realm of function. Personally, I don't want to go there.