I sit here machine piecing together some fabric I’ve had for probably about 5 years, collected over a long period, from old clothing and bits and pieces, none bought new. They are making a quilt, to go with the “new” curtains that have been stashed under the bed for about 8 years. I have no idea why it has taken this long. We had a window replaced in the bedroom, and the plaster has remained unpainted in all that time, waiting for goodness knows what. It’s our bedroom, so nobody sees it but us. So we neglect ourselves.
I have written here and other places, and discussed at length, the difference between art and craft. I have plenty of craft skills, immodestly I proclaim some of them to be pretty damn good. I have honed them over my entire lifetime. I can stitch anyone into a cocked hat!
Then I did an Artist Teacher Scheme (twice) and a Masters in Arts Practice and Education. The Fine Artist in me didn’t want to do “just” craft… The poncey fine artist wanted elevation! Garbage.
Does craft have no meaning then? Does the craftsman or craftswoman not think? Does their work not evoke an emotional response either in themselves or others?
This quilt I stitch here, heavily loaded with haptic reward is equally heavily loaded with meaning. I have been under stress for a while. These things grow without you knowing, and without you being able to pinpoint where it all started, or which little thing was really the thing that broke the camel’s back. This quilt, alongside my unpackaging the curtains, and buying green paint for the bedroom wall feels hugely symbolic. The making of it is cathartic, possibly therapeutic. It is also both practical and decorative. I plan to stitch useless embroidery all over it. It marks my mental state, and puts forward an intention. We should not neglect ourselves.
I am not renouncing the fine artist, merely pointing out that she was there all the time. I was just too busy trying to be poncey to see it.