Crafting Art

I know I’m a bit late with this post… I do try to get one out (at least) per month, but nothing much happened in September. I didn’t want to write a so-busy-but-here’s-what-I-made post again… So I was waiting for inspiration.

Today it struck.

Someone posted a picture on Facebook of a local crafter/artist’s work and I got to wondering… What’s the difference? What makes it art? When is it a craft? Is there a difference between the two?

My first instinct was to say that art exists for the aesthetic while a craft serves some sort of purpose. But then what about a wall quilt? I’ve seen some amazing quilted wall hangings that I consider art… It’s certainly not keeping the wall warm (although I guess it could if you lived in a really drafty house), but it’s really no different than the quilt on the bed. The construction and techniques are the same. But there are also quilted potholders, which seem “crafty” to me. Where is the line? How do we tell the difference?

Of course, I went searching for the answer. Most websites defined “art” as something that is open-ended and freeform, coming from the imagination of the artist, while “crafts” are about following a prescribed formula or recipe to achieve a finished product. Therefore, “art” is unique while “crafts” can be reproduced.

But I’ve been in quilt classes where everyone used the same pattern with different fabrics and some turned out to be works of art while others did not.

If we give a creator paper and paint, are we not prescribing that they paint a picture? What then, makes it art? Is it the intent? Why is Jackson Pollack considered an artist while your average three year old is not? They turn out similar work…

I don’t have an answer for this quandry. I’ve always thought of myself as a crafter rather than an artist, yet other people have told me that my finished products are art.

What are your thoughts? Have you created art? Crafts? Can you tell the difference?

My husband says the only difference is in the attitude and the price tag.

On another subject, I have another book to tell you about. “Knockout Knits” by Laura Nelkin. (I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.) Laura has designed some YUMMY knits with all sorts of fun techniques including beading and lace. These patterns are ART by my definition. And she makes it look so easy! I like the way the book is laid out, with the easier projects first so that you can get an idea of what you’re doing. The book contains patterns for cuffs, mitts, scarfs, hats, and shawls – all my favorite accessories! Laura writes as though she’s talking to her friends over a cup of tea — warm, friendly, and encouraging. Some of the patterns include charts, so if you’ve never read a knitting chart, this is a nice way to learn. The color pictures are gorgeous and there are instructions for all the stitches in the back of the book. I wouldn’t recommend this book for a novice knitter, but if you’re getting tired of K1 P1 and want to stretch your skills, this could be the book for you!

So grab a book (or twelve) and go create ART! Or CRAFT! Or something!!!

Sunshine and rainbows!

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon here and I thought I’d take a picture of my quilt in progress. The colors are so beautiful in the sunlight!

I’ve had so much time to sit on the couch, and I’m trying to do something useful, so I picked up some fabric I had cut and had never had time to sew together. It’s the first large quilt I have ever hand pieced, but it’s coming right along! Another week and I’ll be ready to put on the border pieces.

I’m going to hand quilt each of the hexagons with intertwined hearts and the quilt is going to hang on the wall in our home. If it all goes well, I may even enter it in the fair!

Lion? Lamb? Who can tell???

Around here, March wasn’t sure which animal to emulate as it arrived. We’ve had rain, sun, fog… everything but snow. Today we woke up to a beautiful morning – sunny, bright, warm, no wind – and by noon the clouds had rolled in and we had to turn on lights in the house. By 4:00 it was raining and cold and we had to close the windows. Fortunately, living right on the ocean as we do, we’re used to sudden changes in the weather. So we spent the morning outside, going to garage sales and doing yard work and I spent the afternoon on the couch. Crafting, of course!

I’ve been hand-piecing 18 quilt blocks and have decided on their placement in the quilt, but before I get started sewing them together, I decided to get some baby gifts made. So I’ve been watching “Dr. Who” and hand sewing baby things. Baby things are so much fun to make! They require very little in the way of materials and come together so quickly! (All the seams are short.) They’re a great way to use up smaller scraps, too. Surely you have some scraps hanging around your house! Pull them out and see what you can make. A preemie quilt only has to be 14″ square. Bibs, hats, booties – they all take less than 1/2 yard of fabric. You can even make use of your ribbon, lace, and rick rack scraps to decorate them. It’s a real stash buster! And it’s a great way to try a new technique before committing to a major project.

The same holds true for knitting and crocheting. Baby washcloths, burp cloths, and blankets let you try new stitches and patterns and you don’t have to worry about your gauge before you start! Just grab some baby-friendly yarn and start stitching!

I’ll be posting pictures of both the quilt blocks and the baby things soon. I’m really excited about how well the quilt is looking!

Until that time, let’s go create something!