Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fiber is better for you than paint or glass!

Today I shipped out several pieces – two to the beautiful Blue Spiral 1 gallery in Asheville, NC where I’m lucky enough to be included, two to a new gallery for me: Art Access in Bexley, Columbus OH – a small but totally bright and charming place, and one on approval to a collector in the South West – so I had a busy day packing….(pictures of the 5 quilts are below)…and afterwards rewarded myself with a little surfing.

I came acrossNelda Warkentin’s site. She has an interesting page called “Advantages” that set me to thinking. It is about the advantages of choosing to buy, own and display fiber over other art media – or mediums (“media” being reserved for the press these days).

A glow of Expectancy (at Blue Spiral in Asheville, NC)

I’ve taken her points and added a few of my own – I think these are good ideas to have on the website and also to tell gallery owners and personnel.

A New Day (private collection)

One of the first things I point out to state or community officials dithering over whether to buy a quilt for a public setting is that people really respond to quilts. They are not overwhelmed by them as they are by most other forms of art. They relate instantly to them – recalling their grandmothers, or fabric they have bought themselves, or playing under quilting frames. For public money to be spent on art, it’s really important that you can predict that people will feel an instant relationship to the work.

Backstreet (at Blue Spiral, Asheville, NC)

A quilt gives the immediate connotation of snuggling down and warmth – the cognitive glow then translates to the wall hanging – especially when they see that quilts are made from ordinary cotton fabric with humble running stitches. Being unframed and thus clearly exposed in all their tactile softness and substance increases their immediacy …and at the same time if they’re afraid of people touching them it’s not hard to get them framed as places like airports have done with my quilts several times. (though I often thought they could have bought twice as many quilts with the framing money!!)


Roof Exuberance (at Art Access, Bexley, Columbus, OH)

With quilts it is so easy to see the “mark of the hand” in the stitching. People like to understand exactly how it’s done since everyone has at some time stitched something!! Thus they can relate in a tactile way to the piece in terms of their own experience and motor memory. They can also see that the level of craftsmanship is beyond what they (usually) can do and realize and appreciate the amount of work and time involved.

Some potential buyers might express concerns as to how long a piece will last. Since woven fiber fragments have been found in South America dating from at least 2,000 years ago, I think there’s little worry! Of course, bright sunlight or glaring spot lights can lead to fading…but firstly the art work doesn’t look good under those situations so I can’t imagine anyone who bought a piece would hang it with harsh spotlights. Secondly, sunlight would also damage most paper mediums, photographs, watercolours, prints etc. Thirdly, fiber can’t be broken! I have seen absolutely gorgeous glass vessels in galleries but daren’t even breathe or approach within my height’s distance in case I collapse on them! Maybe you glue them down!! You can get right up close to a quilt with no fear of it shattering!

Brighter at the Top (at Art Access, Bexley, Columbus, OH)

All art requires some care.. No medium is so completely trouble free! There’s nothing you can kick around the playground! Though maybe there’s some that should be kicked around!! (probably not a good idea to say that to the gallery owners, though!) Fiber is at least as tough as most other mediums.

Fiberart is easy to move. I love to move the art in my house around. I let a piece rest for a while, or hang it in a new place where I can come upon it unexpectedly. Then you see it all over again! It’s lovely! Try it!! The only problem is you do end up with a lot of holes in the walls!! I do get some criticism for that! (Can’t you make your mind up, it was perfectly good where it was! – yes, but I’d stopped seeing it.)

And those of us with large collections of our own quilts (!) all know that storage is actually very easy – a few years ago I was very surprised to go into the local drug store and see that they were selling lovely long brightly coloured plastic foam tube shaped objects! I didn’t expect to see quilt supplies in a drug store! Of course I bought the lot! As I was going out, the check out girl said – “why d’you need that many? Do you own a very big pool?” I replied “one for each quilt”…then she really looked at me funny!!

My painting friends are envious of the ease with which I can ship work to different shows and venues – of course that is an advantage for me rather than the collector…but collectors do ship sometimes.

Another advantage of fiber art that I’ve noticed when I’ve been in two person gallery shows is that soft fiber contrasts beautifully with hard mediums – like clay or glass. Fiber on the walls and clay on the pedestals looks great, much better than a mix of acrylic on the walls and glass on the pedestals.

There are so many advantages, it’s a wonder there are any quilts still for sale!

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!

1 comment:

ingedk said...

Your houses is fantastic