I’ve been thinking about this A LOT lately. I’ve read many other Q artists’ thoughts and reasons, read quite a few arguments that pit quilters and artists against each other and think I have finally come to the REASON that I don’t mind the title. A quilt artist can do so many more things with a single image other than paint it. Period.
When you look at quilt artists’ work, or textile artists or fiber artists if you prefer one of those titles, you will see what I mean. How many different ways can one of us do a portrait or a landscape and not a single one look anything like someone else’s. Some of my favorites to illustrate this are Joan Sowada , Nancy Cook and Kate Themel. If you don’t know their work, take some time to really look at their galleries on their web sites. Then there are the abstract or non-representational artists like Diedre Adams, Carol Larson and Anna Hergert.
There are many more wonderful artists, and not all of them are women. Men have long enjoyed a leg up, so to speak, in the fine art world but that is another discussion. In our world, there are many more women than men but there are some men breaking into the medium. I’ve wondered why they would choose to be a part of a misunderstood arm of fine art. It seems we are always explaining ourselves to other people and not always successfully. It has become so bad that many are dropping the Q word from their vocabulary. I think that is cutting off your nose to spite your face as my mother used to say.
- I can take a photograph of the beach as inspiration and then I can :
- make a digital print directly on fabric
- paint the image on fabric
- sketch the image on fabric with thread
- manipulate the fabric for texture to represent sand or tree bark
- interpret the image into color blocks of fabric
- discharge fabric to represent what is in the photograph
- make a map of the image and use small bits and pieces of fabric to reassemble it
- use mixed media to embellish the fabric
- put it on stretcher bars
- hang it from a rod
- frame it under glass
These are just a few of the things I can do as a Q artist and they have been simplified for this post. I don’t think a painter has as many options to express themselves in their art. If I do watercolor or oils, when the painting is done, its done. When a Q artist finishes the composition, then it goes that extra step of quilting. Period. It isn’t a quilt until it’s quilted whether it is a traditional quilt or an art quilt. That makes this branch of the fine art tree uniquely ours and I’m proud to use that Q word rather than think of it as demeaning.