Thursday, November 09, 2006


There has been significant discussion lately on whether we *Fiber Artists* are acting like professional artists. Since most of us have displayed work in local and state quilt shows in "dingy black curtained cubicles" we aren't prepared to expect art show venues for our work. White walls. Space around each work so the viewer has time to process. Themed shows so the whole thing doesn't look like the "dog's breakfast".

That being said--there aren't many places eager to show fiber art. You take what you can get. If coffee houses, libraries etc are NOT proper venues, then please suggest some alternatives?

I have found that small fiber works need to be framed to garner anything close to real attention. Small work looks too much like a potholder or placemat when shown on it's own. And anyone asked to purchase these small works (for large prices) wonders what to do with them once they own the work. Larger work dominates a space and that is difficult to hang in a home situation unless you live with bare wood floors, plain white walls and minimal furniture.

Oil paintings and watercolors are chosen by the owners because of the subject matter or colors and with the intent of the piece adding decorative value to a room. Architectual Digest has lovely rooms with fantastic art but it always looks like the room evolved around the art. Or the art was selected for the particular room. Are we creating fiber art with that in mind? Should we be???

Educating the public to the value of fiber art is primary to our acceptance in the professional art world. And I think shows in coffee houses and libraries isn't a bad place to begin. I display a new and different piece every few months in my local library and over the course of several years have educated a number of viewers on the possiblities of fabric art. They have sometimes even requested an encore for a favorite piece. I will always consider selling my work, but that is not my purpose in displaying work.

I work alone. No little group to critique my work. At times it is a creative vacuum. So the comments and attention to detail that my fiber work generates at the library helps me focus and refine my work. I do go outside the fiber art world for shows, galleries etc. to feed the artistic side of my work. I was educated and trained in Fine and Applied Art. I see fiber as just one piece of that. I also paint, collage and do mixed media. And truly, it is easier to be successful with my painting than my fiber.

What do you think?


Unknown said...

Yes! I agree that going the route of libaries and coffee houses are a good place to show fiber art or art quilts or what ever name one wants to give this medium. I feel that the worst possible venues are the quilt shows... but sadly often that is the only place willing to show the work. What a quandry that leaves us in. I would be as willing as most any one to have my work hung in one of the big quilt shows just to get exposure. Someday and hopefully soon that will change.

Samantha said...

I've always thought you used the fabric like you do paint. Like you don't see the fabric as fabric, but as more of a "liquid medium" if you will. I remember when you started (way back when) and I was amazed at the things you would put together and you were having fun. Have you lost the fun factor? Are you thinking too much about the final product coz I always felt you were sort of winging it back in the beginning days? Do you still regard the fabric as paint? Maybe you should show your stuff at LOCA too, that seems to be a fiber arts place.

Deborah Boschert said...

I'm not sure what I think. Really. I hear fiber artists (quilters, art quilters, studio quilters, whatever) discuss this often and I never really know what I think. Are we too serious? Are we too hard on ourselves? Do painters have similar discussions? Sculpters? Musicians? I don't know. I think if I was a full-time artist who needed to make enough money to live on then I would have some clear opinions, but that's not where I am. So, I just try to step back and make art that I enjoy. I think YOU do the same thing and I think it's superfantastic. Maybe the professional stuff eventually falls into place.

Deborah Boschert said...

Yes! Sam is right... bring some stuff to LOCA. What do you have to loose? A stack of your Trash-formations would make an amazing presentation.