Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crafting vs. Art

I generally call myself an artist rather than a crafter for lots of reasons,  but generally it is in deference to crafters. It really isn't a snobby affectation- I have to much respect for crafters for that.  Here is a perfect example of what I mean: I was looking at Aimee's scarf post, and thinking-I could do that, that looks like fun, and I set about going to work. I settled on a pair of old pajama's to use for my scarf. The pants had a nice vintage rose pattern on them. I like using old clothes for projects. They are soft from lots of washing, and you can bet on the fabric holding up if it has been washed so many times and still looks pretty good. I also have this thing abut taking something useless and making it more than the sum of it's parts. I looked at the precise squares from Aimee's picture and said, no, that will take too much time, and I cut long strips out of the pj's. Now here is the difference: Crafters are careful. They probably iron. Crafters would have made sure that all the fabric strips were the same width, and length. Not me. I hacked random long sections of pajamas out, some of them were crooked. I was going to take pictures of my process, but I was too embarrassed.  The edges were jagged and pretty much a mess. I didn't care. I noticed that on one of my pieces, there was a stain I had missed when I was checking out the fabric for this project. Crafters would say eew, and throw it all out. I decided it was "organic" ( It looked like it was chocolate) and I was going to use it anyway. I fashioned a patch out of some scraps, and sewed it on in an "I meant to do that" kind of way. After I sewed the patch on, I noticed it looked all wonky. Crafters would have carefully picked the stitching out and redone it. I sort of trimmed it up with scissors and then abandoned it, rationalizing that no one will notice that anyway.

I sewed the hacked up pieces together, and made one long patterned strip, and one long pink strip. I put them right sides together, and sewed down the sides, making a huge tube. I didn't sew straight, really, which is why I will never be a quilter, which is a highly specialized kind of crafter. My tube was ragged and uneven everywhere, so I hacked off the bits that were sticking out egregiously. I turned it right side out. In some places the stitching had puckered up some. Crafters would call this "a mistake", I call it "charm".

The ends were ragged so I hacked them off, tucked them in, and top stitched them, which just means stitching really close to the edge, on top. That looked sort of cool, so I top stitched the whole thing. And It is finished, my pj pants scarf. Maybe you are thinking it looks like I have a pair of old pajamas slung around my neck. If you do, you are probably a crafter. Artists call this "eccentricity" and walk around like we own it. So which is your style? Do you carefully follow proven techniques, measure and come out with a fabulous looking stylized gift? Or do you scavenge thru your junk, apply vision, and dive in headlong, not worrying much about the outcome? You answer will tell you whether you are a crafter or an artist.

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  1. Wow Krista! That's awesome that you made one. I think it looks fabulous! I am way to much of a perfectionist to be an artist. Just last night I probably spent and hour taking out stitches that were crooked in my latest project. So I guess I am a crafter.

  2. Of course you are a crafter, Aimee! That is a good thing, we need all sorts.



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