I have had some discussion via email with Chrissy O’Donnell Leasher about the peculiar position art quilting and fiber art is placed in within the art world. In many ways it is a new & developing art form.
From the beginnings of this movement, the art community has viewed it as more of a craft than an actual art form. Slowly that view has changed and more and more galleries and art museums are showing art quilts and having specific exhibits featuring textile art and art quilting.
Chrissy is running the Second Skin Textile & Arts show in New Hope PA . She is a designer and a Moore College of Art and Design alum. I thought some of the thoughts she expressed in this email were pertinent:
Quilts and sewing is a lost art. Many women do it and do not know its as art but as a hobby. There is so much thought that goes into the compositions and color story of each design. Some artist paint on the fabric, knit, collage, etc… but stitch control, which can be seen as interesting as line quality is key to good quilt making and is extremely difficult. As a painter and a fashion designer, I know the amount of details in this art medium. Art such as quilting is a labor of creativity, love and passion. The sewing machine is your brush with the amazing line quality it creates and fabric is your paint because it can be any shape in you dream of. Art is an expression and it does not matter how it evolves, because it is the sense of pride a master piece makes you feel when looking at them. It does not matter whether you created the art or it is just inspiring you hanging in a gallery or someones home. I love your work Barbara because when I look at your pieces I see an extreme amount of energetic details and color. -Chrissy-”
I appreciated her thoughts about what really constitutes art. When you look at the amazing work being done by so many talented quilt artists today, that is art by any definition.