….since I was inspired to work on new pieces. I haven’t really figured out what the road block to my creativity has been, I just know that I haven’t been inspired to work! So I thought I needed to get back to some basics. I worked on a couple of UFO’s and they are nearly completed and up on the design wall in the studio waiting for quilting. They will get further along next week for sure. But, I still was in a creative funk. What I do should NOT be work.
Then a couple of things happened a few days ago. I unearthed a treasure of a 221K machine at Goodwill. For those who aren’t machine aficionados, that is known as a Singer Featherweight. And it is white, or as my friend Marie said, glowy green. After getting it cleaned, oiled and adjusted I became obsessed with making something! Ron said if he knew $8 (the cost of the machine) would do that he would have given me $8 sooner! Such a kidder…eye roll!
The second thing that happened was I found fat quarters and 1/2 yd cuts of some fantastic fabrics at the Humane Society Thrift shop. They spoke to me. And they are all fused up waiting to be cut for a special landscape quilt. I am excited! I think I may have my mojo back!
I have always been seduced by the cloth. I “see” shapes and images in swirls of color and rust. As a child I created my own alternate reality to entertain myself.
This was a narrow hand dyed cloth that was cut and stitched together. I saw the river and trees at sunrise. Is it a pieced art quilt now or is it a whole cloth quilt? You decide!
We returned from a short trip to Illinois to see my dad. We played tourist along the way and took some side trips. Arthur, Illinois is the heart of Amish country. When we lived in Sullivan, IL we made frequent trips to Arthur for the bakery and meat market. I was a traditional quilter at the time and Millers Dry Goods out in the country was always on the agenda. My quilts always took ribbons in the Arthur and Rockome Gardens quilt shows. So the trip was nostalgic.
Below are a couple of inspiration photos taken along the business district. I love the repeats of lines and shapes.
Oh what a cute little piece of vintage commercial fabric. I could see this design reworked with appliqued yo-yos and embroidery.I could use any commercial fabric of my choosing for the background, or I could use some of my hand dyed fabric for a more artsy look. But then the questions arise. Is it my art quilt, a copy or an inspirational derivation?
What if I did nothing to the fabric except put a binding on it and some beads. Does that make it art? And if it makes it art, is it MY art?
If I want to submit it to an art show or a quilt show, can I honestly do that and call it MY ART or MY QUILT?
Recently I’ve had this very issue come up. When I asked what makes a commercial fabric that is simply bound and beaded art, I was told it is the artist’s hand that changed it, otherwise it is just fabric. Ummmm…maybe ….
My response was that it is the artist who transforms any medium into art. But I don’t see binding and/or beading a commercial fabric enough to transform it into art….and especially not art that you can honestly present as your own work. You aren’t the designer of anything except the binding. If you are beading the design it isn’t much more than paint by number.
I think this discussion goes far beyond a fiber artist using commercial fabrics for their art. Pamela Allen is a master at using commercial fabric and making art and there are many more. With the ability to purchase unique fabric from the designer who sells it on sites like Spoonflower, the chance of something being claimed as the fiber artist’s own art and design increases. I think it is dishonest and I wonder what you all think about it?
I know I’m outspoken and not afraid to enter into a spirited discussion about all things fiber and I hope you will let me know your views on this. I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday this week.