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View Full Version : Do You Consider Knitting As Art?


Knitting_Guy
05-24-2008, 02:53 PM
One dictionary definition of art is

the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.


When a person hears the word art they typically think of paintings or sculpture, or possibly even architecture, but I think rarely do they think of a knitted item as art.

For the most part knitting is relegated to the realm of craft. But really, aren't most crafted items art in their own right?

If a person creates something special, putting something of themselves into that piece, isn't that the very definition of art? Wouldn't you consider that person to be an artist?

Or is "'art" solely the purview of the painter and sculpter?

mwhite
05-24-2008, 02:58 PM
It is definitely an art! Just as the sculpters and painters are skilled in their crafts....no less!

Ingrid
05-24-2008, 03:13 PM
We are fiber artists!:thumbsup:

Eccie
05-24-2008, 03:23 PM
I think anything that someone creates is art.

Wanda Witch
05-24-2008, 04:02 PM
Ditto to all of the above. You take something like yarn and you create an object with it. The same as a painter with a bare canvas, paint, brushes. I told DH, when I first resumed knitting again last fall, it was so unlike sewing (which is an art in itself also), where you you take a piece of fabric, and cut it out, mold it into a garment, home decor, whatever, but with knitting you start with a piece of yarn and create the fabric itself. Now for this 'artist' to get back to 'tinking' her ugly afghan. I have a Ph.D in tinking and frogging by now.

Doublereeder2
05-24-2008, 04:19 PM
One dictionary definition of art is
the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

When a person hears the word art they typically think of paintings or sculpture, or possibly even architecture, but I think rarely do they think of a knitted item as art.

For the most part knitting is relegated to the realm of craft. But really, aren't most crafted items art in their own right?

If a person creates something special, putting something of themselves into that piece, isn't that the very definition of art? Wouldn't you consider that person to be an artist?

Or is "'art" solely the purview of the painter and sculpter?

Knitting is definitely an art IMHO. If you read the second part of the definition re: production of more than ordinary significance, I think we fit right in there. As well as the beauty and appeal. And isn't a craft also an art?
As a oboist - I believe playing the instrument is also an art. A performing art. And the craft if hand making the reeds is also an art.

So no, art is not only the painter and sculpter. It is all of us who create beautiful items we have put a bit of ourselves into.

Good topic, Mason!

hummingbird
05-24-2008, 04:20 PM
Yep, knitting is art. :)

Raeknitsnwa
05-24-2008, 04:20 PM
I see knitting as a form of art & a forn of therapy lol(until you realize half way back you dropped a stitch lol)..I have seen some of the most beautiful things knitted and yes to me it is art

Knitting_Guy
05-24-2008, 04:52 PM
These are the answers I expected, and with which I agree completely. I just thought it was something worth thinking about.

Debkcs
05-24-2008, 05:08 PM
Well . . . if ArtLady made it, it's art. If I've made it . . . it might not be defined that way.:mrgreen:

cindycactus
05-24-2008, 05:44 PM
Knitting is very much an Art. :thumbsup:

Wanda Witch
05-24-2008, 06:40 PM
Well . . . if ArtLady made it, it's art. If I've made it . . . it might not be defined that way.:mrgreen:

I can second that. Right now, after tinking umpteen rows of the afghan I am not so sure I would ever fit the 'artist' category. :hair:

knitasha
05-24-2008, 07:37 PM
I don't think it's an either/or question, but a continuum from craft to art. Or vice versa.

I think that if you make a sweater from a pattern, using the yarn suggested in the pattern and following directions exactly -- it's a craft, and nothing wrong with that.

If you adapt the pattern, change the yarn, fiddle with the fit and the details -- it starts edging toward an art.

But if you use your own creativity to make an original item, if you reach into yourself and beyond yourself to find colors and fibers that express something about yourself, then knitting becomes an art.

Plantgoddess+
05-24-2008, 09:02 PM
I am leaning toward knitasha's idea of the difference between craft and art. I have seen some beautiful knitted creations that I would for sure call art. My earlier work done completely from someone elses design I would consider more in the craft realm.

snowbear
05-24-2008, 09:49 PM
There are several painters that have their works considered as artists. I may not like their art, but they did it, and there are those that consider it as art.

As a knitter who knits items, I consider it an art. It isn't a science per sey,even though there is science involved, so i consider it an art. There may be those who don't consider my work art.. but that is their choice.

thehatlady
05-24-2008, 11:38 PM
Ditto to all of the above. You take something like yarn and you create an object with it. The same as a painter with a bare canvas, paint, brushes. I told DH, when I first resumed knitting again last fall, it was so unlike sewing (which is an art in itself also), where you you take a piece of fabric, and cut it out, mold it into a garment, home decor, whatever, but with knitting you start with a piece of yarn and create the fabric itself. Now for this 'artist' to get back to 'tinking' her ugly afghan. I have a Ph.D in tinking and frogging by now.

Join the crowd. Believe we all must do tinking and frogging to get our Ph.D.'s.
thehatlady

CountryKitty
05-24-2008, 11:49 PM
Knitasha beat me to it--I was going to say that art is a form of self-expression, and I simply can't follow a pattern...I change something (my choice of yarn, color, or background stitch) and make a pattern unique. By expressing myself in my handicrafts, I am an artist. As are all my friends here.

thehatlady
05-25-2008, 12:17 AM
Great food for thought. Loved reading all the posts and others opinions. When you can see/feel the love, appreciate the time and energy(soul?) that someone has put into his/her creation then it is Art IMHO.
thehatlady

Knitting_Guy
05-25-2008, 12:36 AM
Great food for thought. Loved reading all the posts and others opinions. When you can see/feel the love, appreciate the time and energy(soul?) that someone has put into his/her creation then it is Art IMHO.
thehatlady

That is how I see it. If a person puts something of themself into creating something, that is the very meaning of art.

redheadrachel
05-25-2008, 01:06 AM
Oh definitely! Lately I've really been exploring this realm - knitting as art - and trying to choose yarns and patterns to match in the perfect combination for the maximum aesthetic quality. Knitted items are extremely function, but they can definitely be art as well.

Debkcs
05-25-2008, 01:21 AM
That is how I see it. If a person puts something of themself into creating something, that is the very meaning of art.

And by that standard a well tended garden, or a well cooked meal can be a work of art.

WandaT
05-25-2008, 07:16 AM
Well . . . if ArtLady made it, it's art. If I've made it . . . it might not be defined that way.:mrgreen:

:roflhard: Too funny, but also true!!!

Otherwise, my answer would be ABSOFREAKINLUTELY!!! Ditto to everything above. By choosing different yarns and colorways, even when you follow a pattern it becomes your own unique creation IMHO!

Jaxhil
05-25-2008, 10:01 AM
Definitely, no question about it! :thumbsup: And less messy than painting :teehee: (i know from experience, hehe)

newamy
05-25-2008, 10:29 AM
I think it can be both craft and art. And the line quickly gets blurry. Our town has an annual community art show which I didn't know about until this year... so you can see how much I pay attention to art. My 8 y/o had a piece in it, beautiful oil pastel sunflowers. (she has natural artistic talent) Anyway, they had a specific category for fiber. There were small quilted wall hangings, a fairy sculpted out of fiber. I did not see any knitting but I thought such a thing would fit right in. I just got to come up with some cool knitted art to put in...but I'm not good at thinking up such things. Knitting is also wearable art. Look at all the unique and beautiful yet functional things knitters get to wear!

Mike
05-25-2008, 11:23 AM
I think of art as something that is completely useless other than for eye candy.

Craft is art but it has a use which makes it a craft.

It's the difference between an artist and a craftsmen (or person).

I have seen quite a few afghans that are basically worthless as usable pieces other than as wall hangings. I guess that would make them art. I guess it all depends on the finished product.

willowangel
05-25-2008, 06:54 PM
Interesting question - I agree with Knitasha's definition, I think, but also think Mike's point is an interesting one. I'm not sure what the definitions are these days - 'Arts and Crafts' used to be fairly well-separated, as far as I can see, but these days all the lines are blurred. We can knit clothes, and make them purely functional (craft?), but if we make them something beautiful then are they different?

I think the intent behind something is what differentiates it. If I make a sweater because I need a sweater, then it's craft, but if I make a piece of knitting with a political message, or a spiritual one, or because the idea for something has come to me and I *have* to make it or it will drive me to distraction, then that's art. The spectrum between these two things is where most of us are, I think - we can go and buy a sweater, but we want to make something beautiful, something really 'us', something that expresses something about what we love (colour, texture, design), or something made as a gift to show how deeply we understand the recipient.

I did have another point, but my brain has abandoned me and I can't seem to form a coherent sentence ;-) so I'm going to go to bed :-)

knitasha
05-25-2008, 11:39 PM
'Arts and Crafts' used to be fairly well-separated, as far as I can see, but these days all the lines are blurred.

Mmm-hmm. The American Craft Museum in New York City (which, by the way, recently had an incredible exhibit of knitted art) changed its name to the Museum of Arts and Design.
In one way, I think this acknowledges the artistry in handmade objects. In another, I think it demeans craft.
The debate goes on and the lines gets blurrier.

SteveDallas
05-26-2008, 11:58 AM
Absolutely... I also think of the term "artifact"... something made by people. I think anytime somebody takes some stuff and makes something completely different out of it, whether it's a pair of socks from yarn, or a cabinet from wood, or a picture from paint, it's art.

feministmama
05-26-2008, 01:50 PM
There is a discussion of this in a knitting book that says that knitting and other handcrafts were delegated to "womne's work" and therefore were not considered art. Art is a thing men do. Utilitarian things that women do is craft. It is interesting how the men who knit like Kaffa Fasset are considered artist but women who knit like Anne Modesit are not. Maybe we still have vestiges of sexism left?

Knitting_Guy
05-26-2008, 02:18 PM
T It is interesting how the men who knit like Kaffa Fasset are considered artist but women who knit like Anne Modesit are not. Maybe we still have vestiges of sexism left?

Considered by whom? I'm not aware of any distinction being made between the items knit by men and those knit by women. Calling one art and the other not makes no sense at all and I'd be curious to know what sort of dimwit would make such a distinction as I find the idea absurd.

iza
05-27-2008, 10:02 AM
Mmm-hmm. The American Craft Museum in New York City (which, by the way, recently had an incredible exhibit of knitted art) changed its name to the Museum of Arts and Design.
In one way, I think this acknowledges the artistry in handmade objects. In another, I think it demeans craft.
The debate goes on and the lines gets blurrier.

I agree with your definition of art, knitasha, and you have a very good point here. In a sense, because crafts is often looked down upon, maybe we feel the need to elevate it as "art"? In my opinion, it shouldn't be necessary! Even if something is not "artistic" doesn't mean it has no value.

Of course, knitting CAN be art, no doubt about that. But I don't think it always is. The same goes for painting, sculpture and music. It takes a vision and a desire to express something.

heatherg23
05-27-2008, 10:18 AM
I think anything you can create with your hands is art.

jess_hawk
05-28-2008, 08:12 PM
And by that standard a well tended garden, or a well cooked meal can be a work of art.

I used to describe dancing as "painting with my feet" and painting as "dancing with color" for exactly this reason. Anything that is created, that is an expression of that person, is art. For me, it doesn't even have to be beautiful. Your first scarf (that holey, ratty, ugly thing at the bottom of your knitting bag) is just as much art as the amazing lace afghan you finished 50 years later, because for me art is the outcome of a process of artistry.

As for the craft/art debate: crafts are not necessarily art in my mind and it is sometimes hard to see the difference. Most crafts are, but then you get something so cookie-cutter that the craftsman isn't putting anything into it - my dad used to sell these wooden rabbits that were literally, photocopy a pattern onto a board, cut them out, sand for five minutes (not even) and tie a ribbon around its neck. Technically counts as woodworking, but art? no. On the other hand, he makes ride-on kids push-airplanes, and each one takes hours and hours of cutting, assembling, sanding, and painting (though sometimes mom or I paint, dad doesn't like it). He makes them because he loves making them and not because people saw one somewhere and said, "that looks cool, can you make me one?"
On the other hand, if someone found that cut-out rabbit to be a good expression of themself, it could be art in their case.

jess_hawk
05-28-2008, 08:14 PM
It takes a vision and a desire to express something.

:thumbsup:

nitewyngs
05-28-2008, 09:24 PM
Of course. It is the only type of "art" that I can do. I feel great about creating a thing of beauty... Even better- it can be worn! And even if it does not look perfect it is still art in my book. It is something that is special to me.