Every month I think the Take It Further challenge can't be any more challenging than the previous month. Every month Sharon proves me wrong! This month the concept challenge is "What do you call yourself and why?" (This is in terms of the creative activities you engage in, not the roles of wife or mother or other such.) Oy!
I call myself a textile artist and this is why: I got bored one summer when I was about 10 so my mother bought me a crewel embroidery kit to give me something to do. That was fun and turned out well, all things considered. Mom even framed it and displayed it on the fireplace mantel. I was floored to see it still there the last time I visited before Mom passed and Dad sold the house. After that it was latch hook rug kits and eventually needlepoint. Then I started designing my own patterns for latch hook. I joined a chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild of America after I married and experimented with other types of needlework like huck weaving and hardanger, etc.
When my children were little I was uncomfortable having needles and sharp embroidery scissors and expensive canvases and yarns out and about. It wasn't long before I was looking for some "safer" way to express my creativity however. I'd been curious about patchwork but wasn't willing to make cardboard templates or sew the patches together by hand. Well, I did trace templates and scissor cut a stack of 3 1/2" squares and made a few 9-patch blocks on my Singer Athena 2000. That got old fast though. Eventually I invested in one of the new rotary cutters and a mat and ruler. Woohoo! I was on my way to mastering another set of skills.
I went through my midlife crises in the '90's (that's 1990's, not 1890's, thank you very much!). After reading elinor peace bailey's book Mother Plays With Dolls I started making cloth dolls. I also worked my way through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. It was at this time that I became aware of the world of Art. And the debate about Art vs Craft. But my opinion about that issue is not the point of this epistle. My Dear Husband was instrumental in helping me to come to the conclusion that yes, in fact, I Am An Artist. We won't go into all the gory details but he finally convinced me of the truth of that statement. And now I am proud to be able to embrace it.
Because my artistic endeavors are so solidly grounded in the needlearts I use the term 'textile artist.' It distinguishes me from those who paint or sculpt. I have avoided the use of 'fiber artist' because people who knit or crochet or work with paper or reeds can also be considered fiber artists and I don't go there in my work. Everything I do is about creating new textile pieces or altering existing textiles. So I call myself a textile artist. Now, how do I show all that on a 4" x 6" postcard quilt?!