Illustration in fiber has long been a contentious issue in the world of art practice. Translating an image into weave is still done today. For instance the Victorian Tapestry Workshop often source their designs from painters and hand weave an image. This practice seen as derivative by some still causes some to argue that since the image making is derivative it is a lesser art. It was the same at the Bauhaus as weaving was seen as “Pictures made of wool” and a craft form that was feminine in nature.
Following on from my previous post I have found this academic article by T’ai Smith about how weaving was viewed, theorized and practiced at the Bauhaus.
Declaration of War was written a few years ago now, but I encourage all contemporary textile artists to take a few moments and read Matthew Koumis’s provocative article about the lack of recognition textile practitioners receive in the mainstream world of art.
Currently there I have noticed a trend to produce “journal quilts”. I suggest this is a trend possibly because members of one of the large contemporary quilting discussion lists Quiltart, were challenged to create a journal in fiber. Karey Bresenhan, organized The Journal Quilt Project . Images of each quilt, measuring 8.5″x11″, from all 157 entrants are online. The project encouraged translating experiences into a textile employing experimental techniques.
These journal quilts as objects are fascinating particularly if you are interested in the form an autobiography can take. Scholars of autobiography already encompass within their field such texts as memoirs, the diary, letters, oral history, and travel writing, describing such works as “life writing”. The term life writing has also expanded to embrace non-literary autobiographical practices. Journal quilts would fall into this category.
However I know quilters who are not members of this discussion list have also created “journal quilts”. For instance Annie Whitsed, has done this. As she is a friend of mine I asked her if she was on this discussion list, which she is not. Illustrated above is one of her journal quilts, Who’s next in the Bath?. This piece by Annie Whitsed I probably particularly liked because we shared a common experience.
However, Who’s next in the Bath? prompted me to wonder if this is an example of a wider trend which is manifesting itself as a result of a discussion list online. Is it I wonder a case of journal quilts being created globally, initially by list members and then the idea spreads as it is taken up by members of quilting groups? This type of cross between life online and life off line interests me as much as the tangible objects produced. Leave a comment with your URL as I would like to hear from anyone who has produced journal quilts particularly if you were unaware of the Journal project when you made it.