Sitting at home stitching and thinking…
Thank you so much to those who commented on my last post – it’s lovely to have a dialogue and also to hear different points of view from one’s own. I do find that my own point of view gets a bit predictable over time!!
And as a result, as I stitch away, I have been cogitating upon the question that a couple of folk raised as to why was I making the art quilts in the first place. And I think the answer is the same as why a person would write a book or compose a piece of music. The writer writes to be read, read with enjoyment and recognition and ah-ha moments on the part of the reader. They write for the reader to say “phew! I’ve felt that but didn’t have the words”, or “oh! that’s a devious twist to the plot took me by surprise” or “yes! I remember that too” or “Now, I understand” and so on. The composer writes music to be heard: if the notes sit only on their little staves and go no further then I do not think the composer would feel very fulfilled. My father once wrote a little guitar piece and it was one of the most joyous moments of his life when John Williams (yes, the John Williams!) played the piece for him. The visual artist (whatever the medium) makes art to be seen. The goal is that people should look at it, with pleasure or horror or surprise or deep recognition or some other emotion. Up until that point, I think, all the effort and time one puts into the work (whether it be a novel, a poem, a concerto, a film, a sculpture, a choreography, an architectural plan) is done in order to learn the skills necessary to make The Piece which is launched out into the world to stand on its own (remember I do love Mixed metaphors – the best kind!). The momma bird does not produce baby birds with all the skill, care and attention she can manage in order to have them clutter up the cupboards in her nest!
Actually I’m pretty good kicking out stuff from my nest’s cupboards! If the darn things won’t fly, let them crash to the ground say I. Perhaps they will fertilize some interesting crops of weeds down there.
So, tell me, am I wrong here? Are most creative people making things for the sheer pleasure of doing? then when they have made them just cramming them into storage? We all know that making anything isn’t that easy; it’s hard work. It’s a lot easier to read a book, or play a game on the computer, or wander round the garden with a cup of tea – not that these arn’t very legitimate activities! (they must be since I practice them all daily!). And I do concede that sometimes when you’re making art you can really get into the zone and time flies past as you exercise your skill, but there’s always another hill or hole in the ground ahead of you to be climbed over or dug through. If it was known that from here on out everything you made would never ever be enjoyed by anyone else, would you be able to continue?
So, think on! and let me know!! And, if you have been, thanks for reading! Elizabeth