Monday, June 12, 2006

Utilitarian Art

Okay, stand back people, I’m going to get all introspective on you! I don’t know about anyone else, but I consider those who create (knit, crochet, weave) from any fiber to be artists. They create color and texture blended into wearable art. For centuries, utilitarian artists have been considered second-class citizens. Early weavers and knitters were commissioned to create intricate, beautiful designs in fabrics, but were not considered worthy to associate with those who were called “genuine” artists. Well whoop-de-doo! Knitters unite. Join me in the revolt against snobs who think knitting is “cute.” I’ve heard it called, “a nice pastime, a good hobby, an enjoyable diversion, a total waste of time, AND a relaxing way to control anxiety (well, maybe that last one is true). But art? No one ever calls it art!

Art is meant to evoke feelings and images that touch our souls. I look at Alison’s pink Crinkle sweater, and I envision ivy and pink roses growing on trellises; I see Tanya Ilnicki’s beaded knitted bags and I think of Lalique jewelry. Last night when I cast on using Fiber Artist Peaches and Cream wool and orange needles, I thought of peach cobbler and ice cream (food always touches my soul). What we are doing is art at its best folks! All of my knitting partners are the crème de la crème of the art community. No second-class citizens here. I think we should all demand to be called artists—for that is what we truly are. We may be in various stages of expertise, but isn’t that true of every artist whatever the medium? Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned knitter, whether you knit lace or potholders, it is, nevertheless, art. I salute you my fellow artists.


wendy said...

so funny...last night I watched a TLC DVD on Shakers. Talk about utilitarian artists. Everything made perfect...just like most knitters I know try to knit.

Katherine said...

I try, heaven knows I try! My art is usually flawed in some way. But I know an artist who works a tiny mistake into every canvas, because she says if she ever reaches perfection she will not be able to paint again.

Whew, that takes the pressure off!

Bliss said...

What pattern stitch are you using? It is lovely with the yarn.

blissfulknitter AT gmail DOT com

Katherine said...

The pattern is an easy ribbed lace stitch that I found on Wendy Johnson's blog.
six stitch repeat on 60 stitches...
Row 1: k2, yo, sl1,k2tog, psso, yo, k1, around.
Row 2 - 4: knit
That's all there is to it, and it's so pretty!