Are you an artist?

Someone on facebook recently asked me if I’m an artist.   My answer, “I don’t know.”

Depending on where you look for the definition I might be an artist…one of the definitions at Merriam Webster is, “one who is adept at something”.  In that case then yes I am an artist.  I can quilt.

Artistry certainly dwells richly in my family.  My Gramma used to draw & paint.  I have some of her work and am thrilled.  My uncle was an artist…drawing,  painting, creating.  He did a bit of everything from “Freeze Dried Seagull Poop” to ceramic mugs, Triptychs on wood and marionette puppets.  I have some of his work too.

My brother was an artist…mostly tatoos and more . One of my sisters has a degree in art – her painting speaks to me in a way that has me thinking about how I can quilt that and the other could be given the time to develop her skills.

There are a lot of quilters who are artist Mells Testa, Natalya Aikens, Jane Davila, Mickey DePre, Jeri Riggs, Laura Wasilowski and so many more…am I there yet?  I don’t know.  I do know that quilting is taking a different direction for me…several directions in fact it’s hard to know where to really focus the attention.  I find it difficult to do simple machine quilting on quilts.

Playing with fabric, thread, texture in between customer work has become quite necessary.

I’m finding inspiration in Linda M. Poole’s Color Fixes so much so that I’ve made 1 1/2 small pieces inspired by her work.

I’m working on writing another article on machine quilting and happened to pick up Pokey Boltons Quilting Arts book and read that art can come from inspiration from an event or feeling rather than an object and that art doesn’t need to be an exact duplicate of the image, object, etc.   The inspiration can take many directions in the process of creating art.

That has been a huge challenge for me – recognizing that the while the details are important sometimes they get in the way.  This lead me to thinking about the wrought iron gates enclosing one of the sanitation department facilities in Manhattan…their gates are incredible and remind me of a free flowing quilt design.  I can use that and do use this free flowing curvilinear design in quilts already.

So, am I an artist?  I don’t honestly know.  All I really know about quilting at this point is

I love to quilt

I’m enjoying the process of trying new things

I love to teach and share this passion

I love encouraging quilters – sometimes a bit of encouragement and someone believing in them is all they need to take that next step with their machine work

I’m surprised and grateful for where I am with quilting – if anyone told me 5 years ago that I’d be teaching and loving it, that I’d be doing commission quilting and pattern testing for Benartex  and loving that – I would have thought they were nuts

I’m grateful for the quilters I have in my life who encourage me and get me thinking about where quilting can go – Renee, Mary Anne, Susan, Anne and more locally.

I’m grateful to Nancy at the quilt cottage for being willing to take a risk and carry my tote bags and let me quilt for her customers and so much more

And Ellen and Kate and Alex and Linda

I’m grateful to my students who teach more about how different their needs are and how to approach teaching

Happy quilting!

Teri

5 thoughts on “Are you an artist?

    1. Laura,
      Thank you so much for your comment…it’s very helpful and I’m honored that you would say I’m an artist.

      Teri

  1. DUH!!!!!! You are an artist by my standards. This is how I define an artist: An artist is someone who looks at the world and their imagination bumbs what she/he sees up a notch. It involves seeing one thing and thinking other things. It involves enthusiasm. It involves creating something different from what is in front of them. It involves mastering one, some, many techniques in order to express what is in the mind.
    I “picked up” a woman in a book store because her manner of dressing intrigued me. She looked like fine art and surely she meant to dress that way as self-expression. And when someone self-expresses, I believe we need to applaud (in our own ways). Did she get paid for dressing that way? Did she get an award? Did huge numbers of people see her art? Probably not. But she definitely was an artist. And as I got to know her, she indeed used her creativity to inform many mediums – and to make some money. But even if she didn’t do anything else, she obviously thought like an artist.
    I love my crafts – but I’m mostly a “paint by numbers” type of gal – with an occasional burst of inspiration and uniqueness. I am NOT a quilt artist.
    You most certainly are.

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