Wednesday, 14 May 2008

May TIF - Initial Thoughts

This month's question for the Take It Further challenge is 'what do you call yourself and why?'

Sharon said

I hate that what do you do question as I have often wondered how to describe my various creative activities.

My creative activities are what I do in my spare time for my own pleasure, so the question of what to call myself is not hugely important to me. I have always been arty/crafty with a heavy leaning towards textiles. I’ve always enjoyed dressmaking and still make cloths for myself occasionally. I’ve tried my hand at knitting with limited success and crochet with somewhat more success but my favourite pass time is hand embroidery. I think I would describe myself as a needlewomen.

I’ve never described myself as an artist. For many years I only stitched kits or copied projects from magazines, even thought I sometimes adapted them to suit myself. I view the designer who created the original design as the artist. Even the Japanese Phase designs that have stitched are essentially kits; the designs are printed onto the fabric, they come with a box chart (stitching guide) and I rarely deviate from the colours chosen by my tutor. I am not embarrassed to say that I predominately do kits - I’m a needlewoman not a designer. When I see a beautiful design, I like to use my skill with a needle to reproduce it, but I do prefer kits or projects that will either challenge me or teach me new techniques.

I am quite comfortable with the term craft; I don’t consider it better or worse than art, it is just another means of creative expression. I think some people view craft as something you do with sticky back plastic and empty washing up bottles - we have Blue Peter to thank for that - they don’t appreciate that a craftsman has probably spent years honing their skills, sometimes researching and developing techniques.

I do feel slightly irritated when someone is dismissive of my work because it is not my own design, and also if someone is dismissive because it is 'only a hobby'.

I am having a real problem coming up with a design this month. I signed up for TIF to try my hand at designing but I keep thinking that the answer to this months challenge question is that I reproduce other peoples' designs. If I copy something, it won’t be my own design and if I come up with my own design it won’t answer the challenge question!

Happy Stitching


Anonymous said...

well said. I agree about the bad press craft gets -it drives me mad (Ive written about that too), and I cant call myself an artist either, because even if i havent used a kit, anything ive done has been 'copied' from somewhere. I think this months challenge is fairly easy to articulate, but a bit more diffcult to stitch onto cloth!

Marjorie said...

It was almost eerie how your thoughts echoed mine! I've been working hard at trying to find my own voice, but I still do a lot of kits just for the sheer pleasure of it. An interesting puzzle--I'm quite interested to see how you resolve it. Marjorie

Jane said...

I call myself a needlewoman too, but I don't think that precludes creativity; I feel I'm being creative even by the kits I choose and the colors I choose to stitch with. I'm planning a background with all different white/ecru fabrics that I stitch on, with a large needle embroidered on it with bunches of fibers flowing from the eye.