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Is It Art?

I’m having a backwards sort of day. I woke up early, fully intending to work, but then just could not make my body go. I was cold and shivering, and I don’t really remember anything that happened before 3:00 p.m. when I finally woke up. Sigh.

I don’t normally take something I see on someone else’s blog and run with it, but I saw this YouTube clip on Brenda Dayne’s site today, and I really can’t get it out of my mind, so I thought I’d share:

My 13-year-old daughter has been touched by the painting muse in recent weeks. This is a kid who normally would have the goal of doing any project as quickly as possible, and then wonder why they never seem to come out as polished as she had hoped. She’s been working on posters for her upcoming school play. And I have watched as she has been spending days at a time on each one, adding little sparkles or dabs of color here and there, until they are just right in her eyes. I’ve never seen her take such an interest in something, or ask her dad several times in one week to take her to the art store for more colors of paint. I’ve been trying not to make too big of a deal about it all, because well, you know how young teens are. If I did gush, that would be the end of the painting. And I’d really just rather her keep figuring out how to express herself in such a beautiful way.

I never could paint, or draw, or do any of those things that most people would consider to be “art.” But then there’s the knitting. Is that art? I never quite understood the whole “art vs. craft” debate. I mean, does it have to be one or the other? And I know we’ve all seen handcrafted items, be they knitting or some other thing, that would count as true works of art. And of those, I am in awe. (For an example of what I mean, check out the work of Debbie New. Click on the link for the slide show and prepare to be amazed.)

But MY knitting? Is it art? Not really, I think, most of the time. But then there are those times when an odd color combination or a strangely freeform knitted hat express some quirk about my personality. So maybe, occasionally, knitting is an artistic outlet for me. This blog sort of fills that bill, too. Still, most of the time my analytical side smothers the artistic one. I don’t often throw caution to the wind with my knitting, just to see what will happen, and that sometimes makes me afraid to try new things. Two things I really want to conquer: colorwork, and sweaters. Sometimes I think I should have just dove right in and made my first sweater a colorwork project instead of a plain February Lady Sweater. But, the analytical side won out, and I became chicken at the last minute. Not that I don’t love my sweater-in-progress, but part of me just wishes I could be a little more brave.

So, this video clip today got me to thinking. And I will work on my artistic side. Maybe I’ll start with small bits of colorwork here and there, if I ever need a sweater break. Maybe, I, too, can learn to “paint” with my yarn. who knows what will happen? I just know I have to try.

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One response to “Is It Art?”

  1. Jen Avatar

    I struggled a bit with the arts vs. crafts debate when I was choosing a title for my blog. Since I was going to be writing about more than just knitting, or just quilting, or just sewing, I needed a word (or phrase) encompass it all. To me, “craft” didn’t describe what I was doing. Plus, The Sarah Winchester of Fiber Crafts sounded kinda silly!

    All of my knitting is art in my eyes. Even if I follow someone else’s pattern, using yarn someone else spun and dyed, I still have to find a yarn that makes the pattern look the way I want it to (or vice versa), and match both to the recipient. I’m trying to create something that is a perfect match for someone, and I see that as art. Even my husband’s Hawaiian shirts are art–it takes a lot of creative work to make shirts that eye-blindingly hideous!

    I guess it depends on what the word “art” means to you, or what you see as the purpose of art. For me, art should make you feel something, and see something that isn’t there. I hope the things I knit for my children, for example, makes them feel warm and happy, and helps them see my love for them. And that’s art.

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