12 June, 2012

Quilter-Artist Spectrum

Do you consider yourself a quilter or an artist or both? Or maybe somewhere in between?

The above image was taken from the Fabricate exhibit, held recently at the DaDe Gallery here in Calgary.  It is a quilt by Luke Haynes.

If you aren't familiar with Luke Haynes he a self described architect turned quilter. I adore his work. I don't think I'll ever make a portrait quilt myself, but his works are stunning. STUNNING. I jumped at the chance to see some of his work locally.

While I was pouring over the quilt and its details it got me to thinking about how I see myself as a quilter. Am I just a quilter? Is that a bad thing, to use the word just? Do I even come close to considering myself an artist? And frankly, what's the difference?

What is the difference?

I haven't a clue how to make any distinctions.

... showing quilts versus using quilts?
... heavy versus soft?
... designing for the wall versus the bed?
... making something pretty versus making a statement?
... exploring colour versus exploring themes?

In my opinion, I don't think there is a perfect or right answer. Maybe there is a spectrum and we all fall at different places on it at different times?

I do design my own work, I love to explore colour and inspiration, and sometimes I want my quilts to be seen and not necessarily always cuddled. For the most part though I do want my quilts to be used and used well, but it is a goal to hang in a gallery too. I sometimes design for up close and texture not the view from far away. I love to write and write about quilts. So, unlike my left leaning social and political views I think I maybe am somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

What about you? Do you think there is a difference? How would you define it? How do you identify yourself?


Cheryl said...

While I find these types of quilts amazing, I am of the mind that quilts should also be used. Practical art?

Brenda said...

lucky you for seeing that Luke Hayes quilt in person. I use the word quiltmaker to describe what I do -- for me it is the right description, somewhere between quilter and artist. (it has the feeling of printmaker, for instance.)

LOTJE said...

I also like to think of art as a way to express one's own feelings of thoughts - could be a simple feeling, could be a big statement. And the product could still be usable as a blanket :) something I like too!

Needle little Balance said...

I also design my own quilts and while I respect the work and talent of fabric artists I don´t want (to make) quilts that hang on the wall. I want to make quilts with geometric patterns that can be used as cozy blankets or bedspread and that fit the color scheme of (our or the recipient´s) home. Those are quilts that make me feel comfortable. If I had to think in categories my quilts are probably more practical art than fine art. If I want a piece of art on the wall I use other materials, I usually paint or draw or print.

Esch House Quilts said...

I've made lots of quilts for walls as well as beds, couches and laps. I love to look at the colors and patterns displayed both vertically and horizontally. While some of my quilts are more "artistic" than others, I consider myself a quiltmaker.

My thought on this may be heavily influenced by years of thinking I had no creative talent because I can't draw :)

CitricSugar said...

I think it's a matter of perspective. I call myself a quilter but I also call myself an artist. Sometimes, I'm an artist whose medium is quilting. And somedays, it depends on the project. I wish more people chose to see themselves as artists.

Live a Colorful Life said...

I would love to see myself as an artist/quilter. or Quilter/artist. A project I am working on right now will not be a cuddly quilt. So maybe now I'm in the "artist" mode.

beth lehman said...

so interesting. before i started making quilts i NEVER thought of myself as an artist, although i have what i would consider an artistic family (aunts and my dad, painters, art teachers, woodworker). now i consider myself artistic but would hesitate to say artist! although i think we all are in some capacity.

Burl said...

It is truly an amazing quilt! I think it's both... to be a good quilter, one has to be an artist... to be an artist, one can be a quilter artist.