I've been painting and stitching for 30 years and have joined several societies... Most of the Art societies have been incredibly snooty.. the artists not willing to share ideas and techniques at all, and many, many painters have looked down their noses at my work because I include stitch... But stitchers? Well.. I have never yet met a group of quilters, dressmakers, felters, fibre artists, cross-stitchers.... etc etc.. who haven't been incredibly friendly and soooo willing to teach, offer advice and make encouraging noises.. maybe it's just me?
This is so simple for me to answer - YES!!! stitchers of any sort world wide I have found to be more supportive. I hate to generalise about any group but what I find more interesting is that usually stitchers are more interested to learn a skill or develop/push their creative skills too.
This is particular so when you compare many (not all) who have been formally trained in the 'fine arts'. I think in part is that the tradition is steeped in individualism and it is highly competitive. Put simply to survive you have develop a thick skin and strong ego - how else does anyone survive the tradition of 'crit sessions'
On the other hand - I am torn about this - but I often wish that parts of the textile community would take themselves and what they make a little more seriously and engage with concepts and ideas behind what it is to be a maker in the 21st century more. Once again this is a generalisation and its not a clear division but the 'art' community does often engage in ideas and philosophy more.
Are all the textile groups women? I have little experience of Art groups but suspect that they could have men in them. I'm not one to be sexist, but that could make a difference.
I remember the surprise at an Embroidery exhibition in a public library when a male visitor exclaimed 'this is an art exhibition'! maybe not the hanky and traycloths he was expecting. The public perception of textile work is very blinkered.
I certainly think that stitchers are very outgoing when it comes to discovering things, and generally very supportive of experimental work, out of curiosity if nothing else. The Art world doesn't want the competition textiles may supply.
Hello... there are mostly women in the textiles groups certainly... but I have to say that it's the women in the art societies who are the worst!! Oh dear... I do so agree with Sharon when she says that we, as Textile Artists, should take ourselves more seriously... but then again.. we're having too much fun!
I have met a few not so friendly stitchers, but they are vastly outnumbered by friendly fabric fondlers!
The people I don't particularly like in both art and stitching groups have a high opinion of their work, sometimes justified, but not always. Often it seems that their skill levels are good, but in general they lack true creativity.
I mix with arty farty types too, and have to admit that the ones I like all seem to have some interest in fabric fondling too. Fabric and threads might be the link!
May fabric fondlers remain friendly so we can all continue with the fun!
Hello Judy! I love the idea of "fabric fondlers".. marvellous..
It's tricky, isn't it, finding a right balance.. I teach secondary students (GCSE Art and GCSE Textiles), and I believe that we need to blow our own trumpets now and then, or why should anyone take us seriously? But you are so right about those artists who have perhaps a too high opinion.. drives me nuts!
I'm in the process of organising a community textile art project, and a couple of people have said to me, "So are you any good then?"... what is the correct response, I wonder?? "No, I'm rubbish, but hey.." I usually end up saying.."Well I've been doing it for a long time....!!"
I usually answer similar enquiries with 'Not for me to judge, but I am having fun.'
It is pretty rude question isn't it.
I find it hard to sell myself or my work, which is something I think I have in common with many fellow fabric fondlers! Thank goodness I have never had to be a salesperson, though I can talk up other people and their work better than I can sell me and mine.
Funny you say you find it hard to sell yourself - as I do too!
Related but slightly different is that I think lack of confidence is it is common in fibre groups. It is a real problems as it can really hold people in a holding pattern and their creativity is never really developed because lack of self confidence holds them there.
On the other hand I hate false modesty too as it really grates on me. I just realised I sound really picky and difficult - I guess I dislike it when people are false yet find it frustrating when perfectly talented people with good skills find it hard to try something new.
I have friends who are proud copiers, but they are capable of making changes to the colours, size, etc. They just don't believe they can do anything original, probably because they were taught to follow instructions properly and it has become ingrained into their heads.
But why do some of us stay in the mould, and some of us just ignore it and do our own thing?
(That is probably a bit deep before a second coffee this morning.)
This is so interesting.. My students (teenagers), whilst supremely confident in may aspects of their lives, seem to be terrified of trying anything new! I think it's to do with many things, but especially the following:
Making a mistake, making a mess, making a fool of themselves...
I tell them that you can't be an artist/designer without making a mistake..
The trouble is, that they only see the beautiful finished products in galleries... not the stuff that went before..
Staying in the mould, as Judy says, is nice and safe.
I used to teach an adult class - abstract painting - it was hilarious! We must of spent the first four lessons breaking the "rules"... and some found it soooo difficult... I got them to use really cheap wallpaper lining paper to experiment on.. and it worked with many of them.
I have to admit to enjoying exhibitions where there is a variety of different standards. If everything is perfect it can be overwhelming, but around the internet there is a wide variety of standards for everyone to see, and some of the art and craft on show should make us all feel like a Monet or Picasso in our chosen field. I have nightmares about what was rejected by some artists!