TITLE: Crossing the Line
DATE: 3/14/2006 08:55:00 AM
Several stars have aligned recently to help me see ART and CRAFT in a new light.
When I began this blog I, unconsciously perhaps, titled it "Art or Craft". I had the sense that art and craft were merging and had been for quite sometime, despite what mainstream magazines or art guilds were telling me.
My friends who were craftspeople frequently read art history books and aimed for a goal of having solo shows in fine art galleries. My friends who were referred to as artists often visited typical craft venues, continually craving the personality and commraderie found at many craft fairs.
Today, I find myself sitting squarely within a scenario where many creative friends of mine are trying to "cross the lines". ...Craftspeople now finally ready to step into the solo, fine art show circuit and away from trade show events. ...Fine artists planning to travel to Penland where they will absorb traditional craft skills that will improve their art delivery.
The one nagging thought I keep having is... how hard it is to cross the lines!
Moving from one segment of the cultural divide to the other, you will encounter:
* Sadness and a tinge of regret as you slowly replace people on the networking list you've grown accustomed to, inserting people from the other side of the tracks who have, perhaps, already made the leep you hope to attempt. Friends will change. Daily conversations will change. The people on your speed dial will also change.
* Silence - The slightly uncomfortable sound of silence as you step into your studio each day and try to make something new, directed towards a different audience, away from the intuitive ways you've embraces to create thus far. It is hard to consciously stop what is unconscious. But you cannot make work for a new audience without pulling apart your old processes, symbology, and intentions.
* Anger as you fight with yourself, fight with your medium, and fight with people around you who may not entirely "get" where you're going or what was so wrong with where you were in the first place.
* Comfortability when you finally hit your 'groove', stepping back and seeing your new work... like when you meet someone in person you've only spoken to on the phone previously. Your expectations will be temporarily set aside as you wake to the ideas you had in you all along.
Do any of these steps sound familiar?
Don't they bear a strangely similar note to the 4 Stages of the Grief Process: Denial, Anger, Sadness, Acceptance?
This isn't by my design, I assure you! It surprises me as much as you... that we might MOURN our work and the process of change, as we "cross the line" and attempt to move our work out of one genre and into another.
So, perhaps what I found so inciteful about the invisible but real divides placed between art and craft is the struggle these walls present for artists. Defining oneself is hard enough. Add to this the pressures of making a living, still finding enjoyment in the studio, and expecting others not to pigeon hole your work into a corner... well, but of course there would be a period of mourning!
What were we all thinking?!
The road ahead will be rough... and rewarding.