I'll preface this by saying:
I have a Ba (Hons) in Fine Art Textiles from Goldsmiths' College (depending on your perspective, it's either a really progressive art college or entirely up it's own backside)
I've a Post Grad in Art Education (a PGCE (also from Goldsmiths). These are often seen as the runt of the post grad family, which is unfair, as it's one of the most intensive and insightful years you could ever experience.)
I was an Art & Design teacher for 6 years.
My specialism is in Textiles, specifically Textile Sculpture.
I often think about exhibiting again, but don't because I can't be arsed with all the elitist wank that goes on in the industry. I'd rather get on and do my own thing and avoid the battle of the egos.
Now, here are a few things that have often been said to me, or that have been overheard in conversations. Textiles is one of those mediums that transcends the boundaries between art, craft and design and it invariably confuses people. Or rather, it reveals their inner snob.
- "It can't be art if you wear it"
- "I'd consider that craft, which is completely different"
- "How can it be art if you're teaching people how to recreate it?"
- "form over function. If it's functional, it's not art"
- "but you're making money from it - aren't all artists supposed to be starving?"
And all of these are complete and utter bollocks.
It doesn't matter what the material is, or what the end purpose is - if someone has put their imagination and creativity and yes, even skill, into making something, then surely it's all cut ('scuse the pun) from the same cloth? Art can be craft and design; just as craft can be art and design, and design both art and craft. The execution and expression of ideas, whether it be a political or moral message, or simply the want to explore shape and form and material and even technique, are all creative pursuits. They all come from that same place that drives us to do it, the same want to push our own boundaries. It's an inner itch that can't be ignored.
To label one thing as craft (because, I dunno, it involves techniques that are often associated with domesticity and/or women) and another as art (perhaps because it can hang on a wall and look pretty/edgy) is elitism, pure and simple.
Creativity is creativity, end of. It's self indulgent and it doesn't care what you want to make, it just cares that you do.