New Work

Well, not mine, sorry – I mean, don’t be greedy! there’s one just before this post, that will keep you going a while.  I’ll put it in the Ebb&Flow gallery on my website shortly.  No, someone else’s new work: on one of the lists I subscribe to someone recently announced she had put up new work on her blog or somewhere – as happens daily.   If I have a mo. I pop in to the link, often backing straight out again too – it doesn’t take up a lot of time mostly, and as in this case, I left no comment.   What came to mind immediately was  ‘Oh, so you recently studied with Nancy Crow then?’  truly – several of her hallmarks were blatantly incorporated but not nearly so well done as Nancy’s works.  But, worse, the several quilts featured are to go in a book that this maker is co-authoring with someone .  This  person clearly paid a lot of attention in Nancy’s workshop, or perhaps it was in one of her acolytes’, but instead of  internalising and absorbing what she now knows into something that will emerge later in some fresh individual way after being processed for a while, she is just regurgitating it AND perpetuating it in book form, asap.

This is one of my beefs with the state of the ‘art’ in contemporary art quilts today.  The books and workshops/courses that sell – and everyone wants to make money, fine – they are so heavily weighted towards what the the artquilter wants – classes on technique-de-jour rather than design; magazines and books containing masses of projects with how-to-do-one-just-like-this recipes instead what many still really need – of inspiring photos of works and interviews with artists just devoid of technical explanations about how the stuff you’re admiring is actually made.  So many quiltmakers and indeed the organisations that represent them are caught in this bandwagon, it all gives the false illusion that all you have to do to become an artist is attend workshops with the hottest teacher names, and enough of them, and, bingo! an artist is born and fledged all in one movement.  Sigh.  I think I’ll go off and make some new work while I listen to the footy.

6 Responses to “New Work”

  1. Laetitia Cilliers says:

    Hi Again, what is art?
    It seems the lady in question is creating art for the market I belong to. I love and adore the beauty and simplicity of her work. I am inspired by her creativity. And I do not care for whether it is “art”. I enjoy to look at it and will not tire of looking at it for the next 50 years.(I am 52) And I also love some of your work and would not mind to own it if I could afford it. I firmly believe there is room for all of you!
    That people are being exploited is true. By media and teachers. I too jumped at the opportunity to enroll for a workshop with Nancy Crow even though I am only a math and physics teacher with a keen interest in line and color and love sewing! For me the Theorem of Pythagoras is truly beautiful art!
    Love to read your blog.

  2. Dale says:

    couldn’t agree more Alison but we are often hitting our heads on a brick wall methinks…

  3. Alison says:

    I was contacted privately by a quilter who felt I referred to her in particular, clearly hurt to have this kind of thing said about her and her work; a quilting friend had read it and drawn it to her attention – some friend. I’d have let sleeping dogs lie, myself. The last last thing I would want when talking about such an issue is to single out one person, and although I’d been careful enough to not identify anyone, I curse myself for a careless slip with just one word which she felt pinpointed her exactly, and I immediately changed it.

    But my views hold – it is an issue out there, and I am not the first and by no means the most eminent to comment in this way. Anyone committed enough and brave enough to exhibit, write and publish needs to develop a thick skin because our work will face a huge range of opinions, not all of them warm fuzzies. Those who like will express approval and possibly buy, those who don’t, won’t – and someone may even write and publish a harsh review. It comes with the artist/writer’s territory.

  4. Jeanne says:

    I agree that there are lots of techniques, and examples of techniques – and then someone calls them art quilts. I know I have a lot to learn, and hope to do so by studying the principles of composition and design, and then figure out how to say what I want in my art. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I think that more juried exhibitions will improve the quality of the work.

  5. Leah says:

    It’s a good point you make – we need/would benefit from learning from the classes and incorporating techniques into our own style, which for MOST of us is still fermenting and forming. I think the problem is (like you’re talking about) when people try to put the cart before the horse because there is a sensation of wanting to be “successful” NOW. And some people base that idea of *success* on books published or prizes received at shows. Most all of us do want to be recognized for our work, but when that desire overcomes the humility of expressing ourselves artistically, then someone has SOLD OUT. But I think you will find that in most cases, the sellout will be revealed for what it is. And a true artist who perseveres and creates/maintains their own true, unique style/signature, will be the artist whose work endures.

    PS Please consider entering my scrap giveaway at my blog – it is designed to bring awareness to Autism through the Art Now for Autism auction to be held in October.

    Thanks, as always, for your insights and comments and inspiration.

  6. Judy B says:

    In the rush to get rich and famous a lot of people are regurgitating what they have learned in classes and from printed patterns, books and magazine articles. It is leading to a dumbing down of design principles and techniques, not just in art quilts but all quilt styles and art and craft in general.
    Saves me a lot of money, as there are few books and magazines I want to add to my collection!

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