Saturday, January 28, 2006

Waaaay Too Philosophical

I need to get more proficient with a camera....I have three projects in final stages or finished and I'm too lazy or busy to photograph them and post them here! Okay, too busy. I have a Gallery turn-around starting on Monday that will take me six days, and I have four days to do it in. I just signed a contract with Keyano Theatre to make draperies for their upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast, which they need done by last week. And I'm supposed to be going to a spinning retreat on Vancouver Island in February and can't get a flight out of godforsaken Fort McMurray unless I am willing to be out of town for 8 days. And the usual kids, household, husband distractions. I am not the first to express this, but I think it's time to be cloned.

Okay, so the projects: a wool, llama and silk scarf came off the rigid heddle loom this week. It was sort of a stash clean-up thing that worked out fairly well. Still needs to be washed and blocked, but it's there. I also used up most of the very woollen yarn that I spun from a blend 3 left-over batches of dyed Romney locks in a pair of mittens. These need to be lightly felted, then some embroidery to pretty them up. I have spun two sample yarns for my Master Spinners in-depth study (more on that in another post) and a I have two-thirds of a watchcap for Steve on the needles. That's just this week--and I complain that I have no time for fibre in my life!

A really interesting concept came my way last night as I was socializing with some of the Theatre folk. The Artistic Director is a stage combat expert, and he was comparing fight moves to weaving and spinning. We got going with the concept and came up the the idea of the Weaving Warrior--from his perspective, using textile techniques to illustrate the careful layering and interplay of actors in combat; from my perspective, using combat techniques to illustrate the importance of body mechanics and movement in textile creation. Very high-concept, not likely to happen, but I was intrigued by the easy inter-relation between such seemingly diverse arts.

It seems that there is a lot of debate over what constitutes art and what is craft, and whether either is important in modern times. But when you are with people who actually work in the field, that debate becomes moot. Sitting with an actor, a director, a designer and the technical staff of a small theatre company, I was just a fellow artist. My boss at the Art Gallery is an art historian for the most part, yet she accepts that I consider what I do to be both art and craft--or as she calls it "fine craft", which is her compromise between "real art" that hangs on walls and beautiful objects made using ancient techniques once necessary for survival but now redundant. One of the artists currently exhibiting in the gallery spent some time discussing the narrowness of the labels placed on the work that we do. Her current work as a painter is based upon the structure and design elements of Middle Eastern and Indian rugs. There are no labels or boundaries or boxes; we all embrace the urge to create.

Elbert Hubbard, an American publisher from around the turn of the 20th Century gives me the best definition ever of art:

"Art is not a thing, it is a way."

I think I'll have that tattooed on my butt. There's room.

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