Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Calculated Imperfections

I really enjoyed this image from the American Home Crafts Magazine Spring/Summer 1975 edition, but what really struck a chord was the statement, "Freedom of expression is more important than technique".

Sometimes people get so hung up on technique (not ignoring the importance of learning techniques), it blinds them as viewers and crushes them as artists. I got an excellent bit of advice on how to do satin stitch this morning and had I been an embroiderer I would have said, "yes, that is the way I SHOULD do it,". Here is the problem. I am an artist, not an embroiderer. I don't see marking with stitches any different than marking with paint or pencil. For me embroidery is not a vehicle for technique but rather a vehicle for my art and therein lies the distinction. The best bit of advice I got from my art teacher/mentor is learn all the rules and then you can break them. The danger of showing my embroidery art to embroiderers is that all they can see sometimes is technique.
Here is a piece of mixed media textile art I did a few years ago, that was not subject to concerns about rules.
It's gessoed linen, with acrylic paint, vintage button and embroidery.

"Not everything I do is dictated by the political history of having a vagina."


Art said...

Hah- that is a great line. It's true that it is too easy to catagorize more challenging work that way..

and eff the rules : )

JafaBrit's Art said...

yea, eff the bloody rules!

Paulette said...


Checked your post and I think you hit the nail on the head. There are to many who are so hung up on the "right" way to do things that they completely miss the joy and excitment that comes from making art. I loved your piece. One of the first needle arts I was taught as a child was embroidery. I have always thought of it as painting with thread.

Undaunted said...

This is a fantastic lesson for me - I've been struggling with Fred the head, even though I've made a head before. The difference is (apart from being over 20 years apart) that I didn't know how to do it back then - I just did it! Now I've watched a tutorial I seem to have lost my confidence! Absolutely, eff the rules! Other pieces of embroidery may be beautifully stitched (and of course I'm not saying that yours isn't) but they don't contain the same originality, uniqueness, and expression that yours do, and some how I think yours may lose some of that edge if you were to follow the rules.

ps. my spell checker doesn't work in firefox so I'm not sure if I spelt eff right :)

Bill Evertson said...

Wait...there are rules? Seriously, I was recently impressed with Picasso's early drawings...he could exhibit with the best realist out there. But why let technique have all the fun.