Saturday, August 26, 2006

A bit of yarn and a bit of a rant

Well, the knitting machine saga seems to be nearing an end. The seller has (reluctantly) authorised a refund so we'll see if it actually arrives or not. Meanwhile, the one I bought for a tenner in the local paper is going great guns.

I realised I'd better get on with some actual work as pretty soon there will be the usual rash of craft fairs etc held locally for Christmas. They may not be until October/November/December but it's going to take me a good while to build up enough stock to attend them (assuming I'll actually sell anything - lol) So, with 20 kilos of prepared dorset I thought the least I could do was dye and spin 100g of wool for socks. Dorset is an ideal wool for socks. When spun it's nice and springy and it's soft yet tough enough to withstand a bit more wear and tear than something like merino.

I dyed 50g of it in fairly standard blue, pink and brown and then spun the other 50g slightly different shades of the same colour. I spun it thin enough for a sock but strong enough to stand some wear and tear and this is what it came out like. The 5p piece is for scale.

There's a lot more green/blue in it than can be seen from that pic. I really like it and the trouble with really liking it is that my natural urge is to whip out some dpn's and get knitting! I find it really hard to part with yarns I love and this is going to prove somewhat of an obstacle in my chosen career methinks - lol.

This next bit is lengthy and a bit ranty/moany - you have been warned :)

I went to a textiles exhibition yesterday. It was a retrospective of students who have completed the HND at the local college. It was great and I enjoyed looking at the work and the sketchbooks etc but it really clarified something for me. I ended up being quite agitated that none of it was useable/wearable etc. It was all panels and framed pieces and as I walked round it clarified for me that I am absolutely passionate about textiles being functional. I know there's a big bone of contention as to whether textiles are art or craft and wordy battles rage all over the internet about the validity of textiles and whether textiles artists (and I would include all of US in that) are in fact artists at all. It's a debate that infuriates and facinates me in equal measure and yesterdays exhibition was really useful in helping me get to the crux of what I feel about where textiles are at right now. As I viewed these beautiful pieces yesterday I felt like I was in a zoo. It was as if the essense of these carefuly made and lovely pieces was trapped behind the glass. They didn't sing like they would if they had been wearable or functional - not for me anyway. I felt as if the energy of the pieces had been sucked out and that they were being made into something less than they could have been ( no I hadn't eaten any funny mushrooms before I went) It made me think of the 80's when women, in their struggle to be taken seriously in the world of business, started to talk like men, dress like men and behave like men as if they couldn't be there on their own merits. It's as if the textiles world feels as if it has to emulate painting and sculpture in order to be valid. It made me quite sad and I hope that as (and if) texiles are taken seriously as an art form that people realise that something doesn't have to be trapped behind glass or be 'conceptual' to be beautiful and desirable. In this months Craftsman magazine there was an article on a glass maker called Neil Wilkin who made me smile with his comment, 'There's not a concept behind my work. It's making something I like. It's drawing ideas from the garden.' More of the same please :)


Blogger artymess said...

Go girl !!!...beautiful textiles should be out there in the street....for everyone to enjoy

1:43 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Thanks AM :) I think there's room for all of it tbh - but it's like functional art is a dirty word - errr... two words...errr you know what I mean!

2:28 AM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Nice observation- I had the same argument with one of my ceramic professors once. He would throw these tremendous pots, and close them with a tiny hole at the top- it would drive me crazy to think of this grand vessel not being functional for anything but sitting in a corner somewhere....

6:14 AM  
Blogger sborja1 said...

Hello Stacey!
I was very ill, so I could not come to see blogs, but now, I am back.
The project of shop with my sister is now concrete; it opens 5th september.
I will send to you photos . I saw your webshop; can you sell in an other country?
I hope for your answer.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Hi Simonne - sorry to hear you've been unwell :( I'll email you.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

Hi Stacey
I exhibited in the exhibition (I'm a current student on the HND course - cbout to start my 2nd yr).

One of my essays from last year was concerned with the (rather blurred) distinctions between art & craft, especially as regards knitting. It's a tough area. There were more "craft"-orientated items submitted to the show, but there wasn't space available to show them properly (bags & bracelets I knit being some of those) so they weren't shown. The exhibition was aimed at being a celebration of the course & was deliberately placed to prove that textile art is/can be as valid as any print, painting or marble sculpture.

Part of the course is taking people like myself that know & understand the beauty of textiles as craft & helping us to see the art world in a different light - understand how our art maybe differs from our craft work & yet there are possibilities for our art to be functional as well as mere objects.
Some of the wearable art produced by some of my colleagues this year has been stunning. I hope to blogging about the new college year, all it's ups & downs of coursework and my knitting - I'll be at Belerion Knits once I get going - please come by & comment on my work, I also encourage you to see our End of Year Shows in June of next year.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Woolly Wormhead said...

Really interesting post. I did my degree in Textiles at Goldsmiths, which is known for it's textile art rather than design & crafts. I was constantly in disagreement with the ethics, as I was one of the very few who'd come from a craft and making background, rather than an art one. In the end I concluded that there wasn't any difference between art and craft as far as textiles in particular was concerned - I didn't feel hat form and function should be seperated.

I still use the tea-towels I laboured over in an ikat dyeing & weaving workshop as tea-towels, not wall hangings!

3:13 PM  

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