Interruption #4, by Linda

23 Feb
2101 close-up

Untitled 2101 close-up

 What question . . . ?

Oh no, not that question again. You can’t cover it with an elegant lie, as with, “Mummy, how did that baby get into your tummy?” or “How much have you bloody spent/drunk/shot your mouth off this time?”. This is because you’re a Nartist and they’ve asked you what is art, and of course there is no answer.

Oh, that question . . .

Unless of course you look it up in Wikipedia, hoping for some nice, comfy, sweeping statements, such as (I paraphrase:) art used to be merely skill and craftsmanship in the West until the 19th century, and now it’s supposed to make you think and feel. Oh, and there’s no mention of knitting and crochet on that page; is that because if you can’t get a baby or elephant or chimpanzee to do it so you can flog it as abstract art, then it’s a craft, therefore it’s not art by 21st century definition?

. . . so who gets to be the artist then?

Talking of craft, this question of “are we artists?” is often discussed by knitters. One of the suggested answers is that if you knit or crochet to a pattern, you’re doing craft; if you have designed the pattern then you get to be The Artist. And the problem with that is the naming game again, because names of trades carry implications of hierarchy: a company director is better than an executive because he earns more; an artist is nobler than his studio craftsmen because he or she is the one who puts the soul into the art – or so the Romantics might have you believe. So take a bow, then, Jeff Koons, Rolf Harris and that chimp who did the spatter paintings.

So why don’t we just say it’s all art, and that the epiphany – or the lucky break that makes you realise stuff – is the best bit. So if you’ve just bought some new blue yarn and you’re mucking about and experimenting with it, and your toddler grabs it and chucks it on the stash pile, right next to a green that should never match it, and the two colours make beautiful love, then that’s art – well it would be if you got off your backside and made a scarf with those two yarns together.

Opus 800

Mel's beautiful Opus 800

Happy crafting, my artist friend.


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