30 Jun Thinking about quilts and art
My wonderful husband and I went on a day trip on Saturday to visit the Quilt National exhibit at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio. I don’t spend much time in the world of art quilts, but I know that this is one of the most prestigious shows there is. I have been once before – maybe in 2009. The show runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day in odd numbered years. You can learn more about it here.
I can’t share any of the quilts with you as photography is not allowed. As you might expect, there were quilts I loved and some that didn’t do much for me. However, the exhibit really got me thinking about quilts and art.
While I’m a firm believer that quilts are art, I don’t think of the quilts I make as art nor think of myself as an artist. I think of myself as someone who makes quilts and who strives to make beautiful quilts, but not necessarily works of art.
So, why not? Since I primarily design patterns and teach, I don’t create quilts to be sold as works of art. Additionally, as a child, I had no discernible artistic ability. I made lots of craft projects, but not art. And, somewhere along the way, I began to think that art was something you did to communicate an important message. Seeing all the amazing quilts at Quilt National reminded me that sometimes beauty is an important message and enough, all by itself, to make something a work of art.
So, will I start thinking of myself as an artist now? No, I’m very happy being a quilt maker. Maybe it is just a semantic distinction. Do painters think of themselves as artists or painters? If I ever start making quilts to sell as works of art, I’ll have to revisit these thoughts and see if I feel differently. If I do, you’ll be the first to know!
How about you? Are you an artist, a quilter, both?
I have to end this post by saying, as interesting as these thoughts have been to me, the most important thing is that we make things that bring us joy – no matter what we call them or ourselves!