I have often read about artists and crafters who talk about how the material they use informs the art/craft they make. Michelangelo said that when he carved marble, he chiseled away the part that was not the statue — the statue was already in the rock, he just freed it. People who work with clay often say something similar. An artist or crafter who works with wood comes across an unexpected knot, and the piece changes. A LOT of knitters and crocheters buy yarn they love, and then look for a pattern to knit/crochet that will do the yarn justice.
Betsy Greer, author of Knitting for Good!, has a blog where she explores the crossroads of craft and activism, handily called art + craft = craftivism. A few days ago she did a piece on Grayson Perry, an English artist known most often for his ceramic pieces. Embeded in her blog entry is a video clip of an interview done with Perry in 2009. It is so fascinating and thought-provoking. I can’t currently embed video clips, but Greer’s blog has one, and you can see the video here.
Perry talks about how what was once considered art may eventually be considered craft, and while he talks about craft as being valuable, he also gets judgmental about some forms of craft. (Remember, he is an artist.) Many people get confused about what is art and what is craft; I certainly don’t have any definitive ideas in that area. I just know what I like, whatever you want to call it. 🙂 What fascinates me most about his comments is how the medium may actually have a part in the creation of the piece. At first it is along the lines of structure, such as that knot in the piece of wood. But then he talks about digital art, and how masses of code sometimes result in an effect the digital artist may not have anticipated. This is structural, too, but let’s make a leap that other artists have commented on (such as Sir Terry Pratchett and L-space). What if the material has an awareness?
Artists have talked about having a muse, something or someone who inspires them. What if that is actually an awareness or type of intelligence reaching out from the materials, that calls to be made into something? It makes as much sense as some of the other explanations I have heard. 🙂
It is on the edges of things that we see the most creativity, the most growth. Think of shorelines, what happens when food meets heat, what happens when sperm meets ovum, and so forth. What may be created when we have the interaction of crafter and their medium?
What do you think?