Artist or Seamstress

There was a brief discussion the other day on the Quiltart list about others appreciation for our artistic talent. Please note that I did not say others appreciation for our skills as a seamstress. Of most of the categories of the arts, fiber seems to be one of the most misunderstood by the general public as well as our friends, extended family and neighbors. Much more misunderstood than a 2-D painter or a weaver or a woodcarver.

You might think this is because of the utilitarian history of quilts, but weavers got their beginnings with utilitarian items as did woodcarvers. Most of the arts and crafts have a foot in history as utilitarian crafts. So what makes quilting and art quilting have a different perception in the public’s eye? Or is the misperception to some degree in our own eyes ?

I’m going to venture it is that most art quilters and quilters in general are women. Women’s work is less valued than men’s work even in America’s culture. We as women artists need to ask ourselves if some of this is our fault. I had a piece outdoors photographing it. Later that evening I was talking to a male neighbor who is over 65. He surprised me when he said he saw me photographing some of my ART..not quilt, he said art. My misperception was that he wouldn’t have known much about art, but he did.

Fiber artists, textile artists, quilt artists, or whatever we like to label ourselves other than simply artists are mostly women. The men who label themselves one of these, seem to have no problem expecting their work to be respected and accepted. So, who’s problem is this? A new year is about to begin so maybe there is some soul searching and a little kick in the butt in order.

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