It’s time to answer another question posted in the comment section on March 31st.
Eva posted this: I really like the variations in the design you have in the picture. I have some beginner questions since I’m not familiar with fiber arts. What are all the types of materials you can use in fiber art?
The simplest definition I was able to find is on Wikipedia: “Fiber art is a style of fine art which uses textiles such as fabric, yarn, and natural and synthetic fibers. It focuses on the materials and on the manual labor involved as part of its significance.”
The answer in itself is simple but may not shed enough light on the topic, especially if the person who poses it is new to the genre. Yes, fiber art revolves around the use of fiber and/or textiles. It also encompasses countless techniques. These range from quilting, embroidery, collage, weaving, spinning, knitting, crocheting, macrame, distressing fabrics to achieve specific textures, recycling fabrics, and even incorporating paper (handmade and commercial).
As long as the work conceived and created is rooted in textiles it can be considered “fiber art.” The discussion veers off from here: What is the difference between craft and fiber art? Visions of macrame plant holders from the 1970s come to mind… I am going out on a limb when I state that “not all work with fiber and fabric is considered art.”
It is the age-old debate of craft versus art… and it will continue for as long as the world goes round. My statement that not all work with fibers and textiles is art stems from my personal experience: I consider art an object that may or may not be functional. Since we are talking art, I will use the quilt as my main example. I consider a functional quilt finely crafted, but solely deemed to cover a bed not art. I believe that the functional item can be finely crafted, but I would not label it fine art.
What about a piece of wall art that is created with quilting and embroidery techniques? I can hear your question now. A textile piece solely created to hang on a wall is art. I go as far and call it visual art. Let’s analyze this: It hangs on a wall, and its only function is for the owner to delight in its color, shape, composition. It will never be used to cover a bed, warm a child or your cold knees on a chilly winter night.
I did say that functional pieces can be considered art. A finely embroidered and embellished fabric box can be considered sculptural and art. Let’s open this topic up for discussion: What are the readers’ thoughts? I am curious to hear from you, as I am sure Eva is as well.
Don’t be shy: Weigh in with your comments below. Looking forward to hearing from everyone!