This past Saturday, I joined some sewing friends on a tour to The Fabric Workshop.
According to the tour guide, and their website, "The Fabric Workshop and Museum is the only museum in the United States creating and exhibiting new work in fabric and experimental materials in collaboration with emerging and established international artists. "
Our tour guide explained that all artists affilitated with The Fabric Workshop are invited to participate in their work. The artists are invited to explore their oeuvre through a new-to-them medium, sometimes, but not always, fabric.
During our tour, one of the artists at The Fabric Workshop stopped what she was doing , and asked our group of five people a simple question: "Are any of you artists?".
I stepped forward, wanting to say, "Of course! I'm an artist. My life is art. Every day is inspiration. My work is my art. My work is many things. What I'm paid to do. What I do for love. Sometimes, at my most inspired, and at my most blessed and high moments, these things intersect".
Did I say this? No. Because to this woman, my humble life, my daytime money-making job, my part time fashion sewing, my humble work, could never constitute "ART". Because to her, "Art" is pure. "Art" is elevated. I am not pure, nor am I elevated.
Being an "artist" to her, means declaring "Artist" as your profession on your end of year tax form.
Had I stepped forward, the woman at theTextile Workshop wouldn't have understood.
So what is an "artist"?