Friday, 16 August 2013

Art or Craft? ... Art and Craft

Weavers have been producing cloth for millennia, initially using linen and wool fibres. The history is fascinating. Looms have been in use for just as long, starting with very basic and primitive looms that simply stretched the warp threads and kept them under tension for the weft; such looms are still in use around the world. In recent centuries, many everyday items have been woven for essential use - from cloth for clothing to household items such as towels and blankets. Many traditional blanket patterns using more complex looms have been passed down through generations, establishing a legacy for weavers to reproduce.

That is why I've most often regarded my work as craft compared to art.  To me, art is starting from scratch to produce something unique, although based on extensive technical knowledge of the materials to be used - and often building on other artists' ideas.

However, weaving does include a lot of art. If the weaver is designing a series of blankets using a certain weave structure for an intended purpose, then there is a great deal of craft involved. But I find that more and more of my work involves careful design, such as balancing colours and dark/light sequences in both the warp and the weft. This is all further to the basic properties of the fibres and how the finished cloth should feel and work. Lately, I've followed some interesting design themes that I've developed, tested and reworked.

So, I've let go of the classification of whether I'm a craftperson or an artist.  I think I'm both.

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