Wednesday, April 4, 2012

But is it Art? Part II

I love blues of all kinds, and purples, too. So for my next art quilt experiment, I started with a dragonflies batik square.  I think of this as collaborative work, since the batik artist's signature is on the square. Even if that person made hundreds of similar pieces, this is the one I have, and my little work would not have come about without that unknown artist's help!
Let's see what I learned from the previous attempt:
Dragoonflies on purple and blue
Lesson One: pull more fabrics to work with! Yes, 17 or so is a good amount.
An interesting part of this step is discovering what colors are actually in the batik square. I was so sure that the blue was a dark true blue, but wouldn't you know, it turned out to be a deep turquoise! I had to replace a few of the original fabrics I auditioned, though most played well together anyway.
And that's an important lesson: colors are more about relationships with one another than about names or theories.You just have to see them together to find out if they'll be friendly or not!

Once again I cut strips to work with. If the fabric was a fat quarter, I just cut up the whole thing because I am really trying to use up fabric. And, yes, that is almost impossible to accomplish!
If the piece was yardage, I snipped the selvedge at some eye-ball length in the 8" to 12" range and torn off a hunk. Then I cut strips 1.5", 2" 2.5", some 3" until it was used up. Any odd size/shape left went into a new container I have for odd batik strips. More on using those in another post!

The fabric auditions continue!
It's a good thing I held on to that purple hand-dyed fabric from a class 20 years looks perfect here! That's why we never can really get rid of fabric...well, one of many reasons!
It's such a nice match with the square's upper corner, I knew I'd better put a value-contrast frame right away. So there's another lesson learned from the Bird House experiment in the previous post.
(I forgot to mention I call it Bird House because it has a triangle in each upper corner...but it does not look like a bird house).

I tried a few more things here like inserting wavy strips. I was having fun sewing.
I did not remember to take more photos.
So this is where I finally decided to stop:
Dragonflies 19" x 26"
I like it, but again I don't love it.
It's pretty and decorative, but is it art?
I thought about it for quite awhile, and came to this conclusion: not art.
Not "real" art. Of course, there is a place for purely decorative art, which also has skill and design involved.
What's missing for me is heart...or a story. Somebody else could make the exact same thing, and if they had a feeling for it or a story behind it, then they could call it art and be truthful.
For me, this has no real meaning other than a fun exercise.
So I guess "art"  has to be the call of the maker...we can never actually know as viewers!
Unless, of course, the work creates a story or meaning in you! can be a two-way creation! 
And at another time, this same question could take a whole new interesting direction. That's why we never really want a one-and-only answer!

I have two more batik pictures that I want to combine in a piece. I have wanted to work with them for a long time.
If it turns out well, it will be art to me, because it has a story and meaning to express (whether or not anyone else ever knows). I hope at least it will be pretty or decorative!

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