Friday, December 5, 2008

Answers to an author writing about knitting and art.

Subject: quick question

Hi Mim- I am finally writing about knitting and art...and I have a
question for you....the chapter is wrapped around the conflict of art
vs craft, and I was wondering how you came down on this? What are
your thoughts about your work as knitted (traditionally a craft) and
yet art. And I was wondering how you feel when people have to put the
word "fiber" before "artist when they speak of your work....ok, more
than one question....thanks-M

Hi M,
Hmmm....Those are interesting questions. Let me see how I can answer them. My background is in printmaking and painting, which has grown to sculpture, and installation. I have used alternative methods and materials in many of these such as sewing, fabric, screen and paper. I have always thought of it as my art work no matter what the medium was. Each idea called for a certain media to be used and I let the inspration lead me. I haven't gotton too involved with definitions of craft and art. In my recent work, I have used knitting and crocheting to express ideas. It has been a wonderful way to create three dimensional objects which are volumetric and translucent.

My early idea about craft was that it was rooted in function, not so much technique and material. Two publications I subscribe to are Surface Design and American Craft. They contain what I see as some of the most intersting work being done today. The world of fine craft has expanded to include a wide range of techniques, and subject matter. I use techniques; knitting, crocheting, and materials; yarn, tulle, fabric, that may have their origins in functional craft and hand work. But, like so many artists today, I am using these methods to create something larger and outside of the restrictins of yesterday's definition of craft. The current definition of fine craft seems to include an astonishing array of high quality work. The lines between fine art and craft seem to have become very blurry.

It seems that artists have become interested in many of the traditional 'craft' techniques. I have seen this as an interesting movement back toward craftsmanship and handwork. Interestingly a recent exhibit I was in, "Unusual Twist, Artists who Knit Crochet and Embroider", received the highest attendance of any recent shows at the venue. It seems that artists and art lovers are both very interested in this 'art-craft' cross pollination.

Fiber art. Hmmm.... I don't really see myself as a fiber artist. I happen to be currently using fiber in my work, but I am not producing the fiber itself i.e. spinning, weaving. I am using fabric that has already been made. I don't have a strong objection to being called a fiber artist in relation to the current work, but see it as a limiting definition that doesn't accurately encompass the many things I do.

I hope this answers your questions. They were interesting questions to ponder and have given me food for thought.

All my best,

Mimi Czajka Graminski

1 comment:

Oak City Gallery said...

Please take a minute to review Art vs. Craft- The Great Debate with a New Twist at it may give you a bit of insite. Good Luck!