Is embroidery art?


One time when I was speaking a woman came up to me and said, “Well, I’m not an artist, I just embroider”, and I practically fell to the floor, but collected myself and said, “Well, I certainly think you are an artist, and a designer.  Aren’t you making decisions about color and shape and form and texture and even story sometimes?”, “Well, yeah, I guess”, she replied…”No”, I affirmed, “this is not a guess, you ARE a creative artist…you’ve put in the time and your stuff is probably beautiful and cool”…etc.

 Point is, so many ‘craftspeople’ don’t get that they ARE artists, just as much as a painter or sculptor or dancer or writer.

 In Bali, everybody does something artistic, but they relate to it differently, they say:

 “We have no word for art, we do everything as well as possible”.  They don’t say it to brag, they say it with a self assured, and egoless certainty.  

 In modern Western Society art has been separated from normal day to day life so much that unless you are atrained artist, what you do as an embroiderer, or quilter or flower arranger or chain saw carver or wall builder is consider at best a craft, or just as a utilitarian necessity.

 What we need is more art everywhere of every kind.  It started happening when Jimmy Carter was President, then disappeared when Ronald Reagan took the helm.  I believe Barack Obama will make strides to regain the artistic and cultural ground that we so need to enrich our daily life.  In a way, art needs to be so integrated into our society that it doesn’t seem as special as it is now, but just something that is expected.  Surprises should lurk everywhere, waiting to wake us up and give us some newness.

 And while we’re at it, more companies and agencies would do well to have an artist or two on board to provoke people into seeing things in new ways…it’s the innovation engine at work.

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