Sunday, August 19, 2007


I Am An Artist

Lately, I've been having that angst thingie. You know the one, the one where you start looking at other blogs and seeing what other people are doing and you go "oh fuck, why did I even think I could do this, I'm a total hack."

I know it's not about "better" or "worse" it's about "different" and there's room for all of us, and judging by the way the things I make get drooled on by those who see them (I had two women today get quite warm when fondling the cashmere I dyed lately, and a young man of great discernment chose to wear it as a beard and I almost had to tackle him to get it back) when I'm living in the real world, I'm fairly confident about the fact that yes, I am indeed an artist.

But dude, you get squirrelly sometimes. Or at least I do.

A lot of this has to do with the input that I got when growing up. The "good, but not good enough" shit. The "oh, nice horse" when I'd drawn a cow, thing (please note, I am aware that I draw like a six-year-old, and these days when I draw a cow I also put a word bubble coming from its mouth saying "moo" just so you know what it is.) and the whole art being beyond my grasp thing. I thought it was something I could never have, never experience, never live in.

Maybe a year ago, after we'd moved into this house and I had a real "studio" (which doesn't make you an artist) I looked on Craigslist and someone was giving away a cabinet which sounded like it would be perfect for E's room. I wrote, I got it, I drove over and picked it up. It's great but it wasn't what I thought it was and wouldn't work for her clothes, so I told them I'd likely use it in my studio. They said "Oh! A studio! You're an artist? What do you do, what kind of art?" And I looked at them and turned bright red, and said, for the first time, to total strangers "well, it sounds pretentious as hell, but I'm a fibre artist."

And they said that it didn't sound pretentious at all and they had a friend who was a fibre artist and bla bla bla and I felt validated. I'd said it, and they didn't laugh. In fact they respected what I was doing.

Respect? For a girl who has to put a "moo" balloon on her drawing of a cow?

Dude. I felt good. And I also felt like a great big fake. Because really, I just dye sheep string, you know? And knit the occasional washcloth.

Anyhow, on Friday I met up with my stalker (the one who can kick your ass, remember?) and we went to my favourite fibre pusher to peruse their products. And while I was there, the owner, who is a lovely lady with whom I have spoken several times, said to me "Oh, I'll have to get some of your yarns in here. Let's talk in September."

I showed her a skein I'd taken for Loraine, and she was impressed, and said that it was lovely -- both the fibre and the dyeing -- and she'd like to carry some in the store.

So. Um. Apparently as well as the online store that shall remain unnamed until I actually deliver some product to them, I'm also quite possibly going to be having some yarn in a bricks-and-mortar store as well.

Apparently I am indeed an artist.

And it makes me feel all smooshy inside.

You're a blog artist too, Rabbitch. Don't forget that. One of the finest.
Yeah, what Helen said! And don't forget, if you earn money for your efforts, you are also considered a professional :) But we always knew that.
Bunniegirl, I'm sorry if you had any doubts at all, you seriously are an artist.
Congrats on the brick and mortar!

(ps..did the magnets gets situated out?)
Having your stuff in a brick and mortar is beyond validating. I feel the same way.

Honestly, if the shop owners didn't think that your yarn would sell, they wouldn't buy it from you. They are out to make a profit, albeit from delightfully delicious yarn! Congrats!
Of course you're an artist! And you do beautiful work that reflects your own personality and passion. Though if it makes you feel any better, I had a fibre artist (whose amazing work I have seen on her own blog) by my booth a couple of weeks ago and she was lovely and all but also so totally "together", takes courses all over the world, and and and... I spent the next week in a complete black funk about what a clumsy self-taught hack I was by comparison, briefly considered quitting blogging, etc. I think that "being an artist" has mostly to do with the personal passion that drives you - I suspect the self doubt is fairly universal. Just keep pressing on through the doubt and creating. (It's the only thing that seems to work for me, anyway.)
Hell yes, you're an artist! And don't you forget it.

(Oddly enough, my verification word is "ihotr." This seems relevant somehow. Rabbitch is hotr! Yeah, baby.)
Great recovery with the moo-bubble thing.

Yeah, you are an artist, no doubt. You got the passion, you got the talent, you got the studio, you even got the stalker. Rock on, lady!
There is no doubt whatsoever that you are an artist. I am an artist. We knitters are all artists. And not just any plain old easel-dragging, palette toting, oil paint stinky painters. We are FIBER ARTISTS. Be proud and loud, woman.

I was in an art gallery (there's that word again) in San Francisco about a month ago, and since I look kind of... uh... different, a man approached me. Now, this guy had a matching set of a green beard, green eyebrows, and green hair. Turns out he was the former owner of the gallery and is now putting together a show for later next year. He said he came up to me because I stood out and was "fabulous" (yeah, well, I do stand out - as for the fabulous part, I dunno), and asked if I was an artist. Before I knew what was happening, I blurted out that I was a fiber artist. Long story short, I've been invited to enter a piece in his show, a three-dimensional piece that has something to do with San Francisco and the environment. Knitted and probably stretched over a chicken-wire armature. I don't have a fucking clue as to how to do this. It's a good thing I had signed up for a free-form knitting class at the TKGA conference next month. He was highly impressed and delighted to have something different "from the usual shit they always put in my shows", to quote the man. Whew.

It's really interesting how things from our childhoods stick with us. Nothing was ever good enough for my mother. I got straight A's all through school - where were the A+'s? I was too fat, too thin, too sloppy, too neat, drove too fast, too slow, was too weird, wasn't weird enough (I only wore white panties - when I wore them at all), blah blah blah. To this day, that echoes in my head when I do something. My mother thinks my knitting is "nice". I'm not even telling her about the show because she'll have something to say about that, too.

Long post. I'm sorry. To wrap up, I think you're awesome. You're one of my idols, and I read your blog whenever you post (yes, you're on my favorites and your button is on my blog). Thank you.
hey, you're doing ok if all you have to do is put a moo balloon on your cow drawing - if I did that, people would ask why my sheep was mooing. But seriously folks. I think we all get squirrelly. Even those who had good input. The ones who don't get worried are either geniuses or assholes.
You are totally an artist! I am not. But you, dear, you really are.

Recently I bought some how to draw boos for 3 year olds, so that I would be capable of drawing with my friends' three year olds! The book really helped.

Hey, I do that too, looking at other artists' blogs and getting carried away by their work and thinking mine can't stand up. To eveybody else I would say: don't compare, but I do and for a little while I am convinced I'm not a real artist and then something kicks in again and I make something or get sent flying with a new idea and I KNOW that down to the last cell I'm an artist. I'm sure you've got something like that too when you're in the middle of making/writing.
Good for you, and smart store owner to grab you and want to push your yarns! I agree with everyone else. You're an artist, and a damned good one. LOL, seems like we creative types all have some wonky leftovers from the past. I sure do, although I got the opposite of the "not good enough" bit. My dad had a thing about 'boasting', even if it was perfectly true that you'd exceeded expectations. Any form of saying you'd done something really well qualified as boasting. !!! To this day I have a hard time taking compliments about the different things I know how to do, or things I make. I start going, "Oh, nah, it's not that hard, anyone could do it, I just got some books on it..."

Which, y'know, is pretty much bullshit. And my brain knows it. Just not the feelings. We've really gotta work on that sort of thing. (I think beer helps.) So congrats on saying you're an artist out loud - and to everyone else in the comments - and let's hear it for things like dyeing sheep string!

(Aside to Ruth - boy, do I know how you feel. But there's also the bit that lots of people can't learn how to do things from a book or other self-research at gunpoint. They need a live person showing them. If you can teach yourself how to do something, without all those advantages of "courses all over the world" - you're damned good too!)
Yay!! Congratulations! And bless the shop owner supporting local artists!
Hurray!!! I love it when an artist says out loud, "I AM AN ARTIST!" Julia Cameron is somewhere clapping (her book "The Artist's Way" is fabulous for artists of all kinds). And so am I!
I've been thinking about this post, because I'm a newish knitter and frequently feel like a hack. Last night I realized that fiber arts are really the only kind of visual art I've ever really been good at. I draw ok, but give me some string and I am all over it. I remember a hideous art class in high school, with a hideous art teacher who liked to cut the students down. Haven't drawn a thing since that class, but that's not the point: the point is that he fawned all over the piece I made for the weaving segment of the class. And it was good. My embroidery's quite nice, too. Hmm. I guess this comment is mostly a thank you for reminding me that I'm not a hack.
I was once told that the definition of an artist is someone who has something to say. I think you qualify for that admirably.
Aw, *honey*! :D

I think I could even kick your stalker's butt if she went for my "Jennie" yarn. Then again, I fight dirty... there are no rules when yarn is on the line.
I'm far from a newbie, and I often feel like a hack. I feel like a fraud - I'm not really designing my own stuff, I'm not really doing anything all that innovative. I mean, I can make a good warm scarf or a pair of socks - but that's not really art, because it's "functional."

A lot of the time when I see what other folks are making, I get the "why bother?" feeling - why bother doing what I'm doing because I'll never be even remotely as good as these other people.

Congratulations on your validation as an artist - and as a writer.
Your stuff is beautiful, toots, and don't ever entertain the slightest thought that it's not art.

(And my art form is buying YOUR art and posing it in flowers for pictures. Heh.)
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