Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Why do people buy quilts to hang on the wall?
Painters ask themselves why people buy their work and I thought it would be interesting to think about this question in relation to art quilts. For the truth of “Many admire, few buy” seems to hold even more strongly for quilts than for paintings. Quilts are very accessible and when you have a show you get lots of oos and ahhs and how lovelys….people never walk around with a silent puzzled look on their faces! So why isn’t the work rushing off the walls? What are the reasons to buy and own a piece, and what are the reasons that people actually don't do this?
Many people just don't even consider owning a piece of art though they will definitely fork out a goodly sum for flat screen tvs and cell (mobile) phone bills. Their homes don't even contain a velvet Elvis! There may be a few school or wedding photos, a calendar or two and that's it. A work of art you love and have carried around with you through the years, makes a home instantly when you move to a new place. The first thing I did when I moved (well the second one! the first was make a cup of tea...except for the memorable move when there was a power outage and the movers couldn't get the king sized bed up the narrow stairs and had to hoist it on a ladder through the bedroom window...we encouraged them and ourselves with several large Scotches - that's what it takes to get a couple of men on a ladder with a large bed!)..the next thing after tea was to decide where the art work was going to go and then it felt like home. A much loved work of art not only beautifies a home, it can be a home.
Some people of course just plain don't have the money - though I think if you add up entertainment and splurge shopping and eating out for a year, you'd be surprised what the amount came to. If you'd bought a piece of art you'd have something beautiful or fascinating for ever - instead of extra inches on the waistline, forgettable movies seen that were a waste of time, and clothes you no longer like. And a work of art can be saved for before you choose, or paid for in installments...
Why is a work of art not considered for a major anniversary gift or to mark a very special occasion? Why do people buy their children jewelry or a car when they come of age? I bought paintings! Cars wear out, jewelry only comes out on special occasions, art is there beautifying your home every day. And it never gets a flat battery!
Some think (their husbands think!) if they had they time they could make something similar so why should they buy?! But actually it's very difficult to copy another's work - I've seen several attempts - believe or not people have proudly shown me their copies of my quilts! - but the copies never have the elan, the freshness, the zest and the harmony of the original work. I think it's even harder to copy an art quilt than a painting. The mark of the hand is so much more evident. Plus the amount time it takes one to learn the trade, develop the skills, design the work and make the piece is usually vastly underestimated.
What is different about those who do buy? They are the people who value beauty - and the expression of feeling. For them to buy a piece, the work has to speak to them very personally, intrigue them, pull them back to look time and again. And having been fascinated in this way, they have to believe that it would be good to actually own this piece, that it would then be theirs to enjoy each day. It's important to learn that art can be savored, it never gets used up!
It's great to have original art at home, it's even more of a life-savor at work! I can think of several ex-colleagues I might have done in were it not for the peace and beauty of my art-filled, door-close office!
My good painter friend, Mary Porter, says: “It’s really all about energy. (A work of art) is about energy. A good (art piece) gives you energy, feeds you spiritually. It tells you things—something new every time you experience it. Not in words, but on a deeper level. But you have to quiet your mind and observe.” Listen, feel, think….and consider!
It helps to begin by collecting small works (as in water dipping toes)..in fact many of my first art pieces were traded, then I bought small "within-budget" works. After this introduction, you move to the stage of knowing the pleasures of owning and you actively begin to look for work.
If you've never owned anything beautiful you don't know quite how much fun it is!
So...think about it: if you buy, why do you? And if you don't, why not?
Let me know in the comments!!! and, by the way, if you have been...thanks for reading! Elizabeth