this is a small piece i've been thinking on for a while. i'm playing around with scraps right now and may start stitching this weekend. this isn't how i expected this creature to go... but as i was playing, i realized i've become a little freer, a little more adventurous with my piecing. and i thought i was just listening to jude and nothing was taking hold... but when i was working i could feel her influence, giving me permission to cut a little here, try a little something ... so good to be shifting and working differently! thank you, jude in my head!

i've been drawn to old cotton batting pulled from quilt scraps as applique.. i think these pieces are flattened enough that they'll be secure after they are stitched. i've also been carding them into fiber and spinning them. those bits are just so soft and comforting, and they haven't seen the light in such a long time.

i've been thinking a lot about the difference - if there is one - between being an artist and an artisan. i have called myself a fiber artist for the last while, and that was partly aspirational. i also love everything conjured by the word artisan. i just don't like the sound of 'fiber artisan' and i never hear it used. i'm wondering too if maybe these terms have different meanings or inflections when it comes to fiber work. i think a friend told me that artisan in french has a different connotation, something like 'worker' - you-hoo - did i remember that right?

i'm also inspired by the recuperation of the word "craft" but i tend not to use it, especially locally, since i think it can still play into those old boundaries between art & craft... some people still take it as "just" craft. i applied for an "emerging artists" grant yesterday and i had to check the "craft" category. they had painting, sculpture, photography, dance, some other categories... and craft. strange that they lumped all fiber work into that. i'm still vaguely annoyed by it. i think that since they were describing everything in terms of medium, it should have been "fiber" or "textile".

the more i think about all this, the more ambivalent i feel about calling myself an artist... because i'm fine with doing work just because i like it, or because i want to. it doesn't have to Mean. although sometimes it does. it is important to me to be good at what i do though, to be or become technically proficient at it. so what does that make me?


  1. very intrigued by your creature, wish i could pet it, and love your colors, as always.
    artist/artisan/craftswoman? i find myself telling people i do handwork for lack of knowing what to call myself. it seems so important to have a label to share with others- why? why? why?

  2. why indeed...i guess people like to put themselves into categories and maybe they somehow think that elevates their status.
    i love the way you are playing with your scraps, Dru.

  3. Because everybody's first question is, "so what do you DO?". I've been saying fiber artist for a long time, but always have to go further with the explanation, since sometimes people don't even know what fiber means. Artisan is nice- to me it connotes a very highly skilled craftsman- still with a worker feel. Artist does seem to require putting some kind of meaning into the work. But I feel for you- sometimes I want to just be in the process of making something and not worry about if it's functional or has some meaning in it. What if instead of "Artist" being about what you make, it was about how you see and think?

  4. i used to really dislike career-based labels, and that perennial question.. but now i think it makes sense to want to know - about others and oneself - where they fit into a community. more descriptive than defining or limiting (or elevating). and for me right now, it's about wanting to be conscious about creating my life and work. categories give a framework to live into and through, and i want some version of that... i've been blowing in the wind for too long.

  5. I usually say that I'm an artist who works with textiles if anyone asks. Sometimes I just say I like to work with textiles. I also like what Lou Reed (I think) said once: "It's better to be on the edge of things because you can see a lot farther from the edge." Being in an area that is pretty liminal, like fibre/textile/art/craft, is very exciting and offers a lot of freedom, I think.

  6. "liminal"....what a great word.
    maybe we could say we are Liminists

    whatever, i really really really love looking
    at the above

  7. beautiful cloth, doesn't matter this artist thing, right?

  8. heather, yes i see how fiber kind of encompasses or confounds all those labels. liminal and edgy are lovely ways to think about it.

    thank you grace!

    jude, of course you're right, it doesn't Matter in a big way, but still perhaps important to work through and get to that place where it doesn't matter...