Art: It’s Not Just For Artists
I am not an artist.
This statement, of course, begs the question, “Who is an artist?”
This answer varies from person to person, from medium to medium and from age to age (I’m pretty sure all children are artists). But most artists I know… they know they are artists. These are the people who can’t function without creating: The ones who try to smuggle knitting needles on airplanes; those who can never leave the beach without leaving behind a sculpture; individuals who sink into a deep depression after only a few days not behind their wheel, their loom or their canvas.
I read a post by Rebecca Mezoff the other day (side note: If you want to learn tapestry, you need to check out her online class). The post was titled, “The Desperate Joy of Making Art” and in it she said:
“One moment not so long ago, I found myself curled in a messy puddle under the conference table in my office which is piled high with books, electronics, random warp spools–sticky notes flagging the lot… At that moment a little voice reminded me I had forgotten to make art. I wiped the exhausted tears away, went to my studio, opened the shed, and wove. Within minutes my nervous system calmed and hours later I was humming a tune and happily solving the problem of the next example in that class that sent me under the table in the first place.”
Rebecca is an artist.
I am the daughter of an artist, and I understand what it means for your life to be dependent on creating.
But me, I can take an entire page of handwritten notes without doodling in the margins. I can leave a half-finished piece on my loom for months. I can be the passenger in a car and not crochet; not even once.
You could argue that we are all artists. In a sense, we are. You could also discuss craftspeople, and the differences between the two.
But to me, an artist is simply someone who needs to create to survive. An artist is someone who expresses his or her world through art. Talent… I don’t think that really matters when defining an artist. Talent is, to a point, subjective. But that need to create, that’s there or it isn’t.
What about the rest of us, then? The ones who love and appreciate art, but who don’t necessarily define ourselves by it.
I argue that creating art isn’t just for artists. Allowing yourself the time to create is a gift you give yourself. It might not be something you need to do, it might not be something you constantly crave, but it is something that is good for every soul.
My mom, the artist, she was thrilled when I got my license at age 16 because it meant when we traveled by car I could drive and she could bead in the passenger seat. I ultimately banned beads from my car after finding one million too many under the seat.
As a child, I was always a bit intimidated by her art and her commitment to it. She could happily spend hours upon hours at the loom, whereas I could sit still for just about six minutes at a time (still true, how I survived 15 years of school is beyond me). Tapestry, especially, felt like something only an “artist” could do, something you needed to be obsessed with to ever succeed doing.
Lately, though, I have seen a lot of tapestry that defies these rules. People are taking out their looms, warping them up and just having fun. They aren’t bound by rules just yet. They’re playing. Maybe they will fall in love with tapestry and begin to hone their craft. But maybe they won’t. Maybe they won’t weave in the right sett all the time. Maybe their joins will be wrong. Maybe their warp will show.
But the thing is, whether you need to spend your life creating or you just enjoy it sometimes; art is for all of us. Weaving is for all of us. It is for the expert artists who have refined their craft for years and who can’t imagine a day without weaving. It is also for those who have realized that being in front of a loom brings them joy, even if weaving isn’t all they think about.
The point? We all need to create, whether that’s a passion or just a subtle but unabating urge. You don’t need to consider yourself an artist to love art or to create art.
Art is for all of us.