Recently there has been a discussion on the Studio Art Quilt Association forum as to what is an art quilt? Good question. The particular quilt in question appears to have been done with great technique. The design is certainly original. The artist or should I say quilt maker seems a lovely, caring person. There have been a couple of comments assuring this lovely woman--and yes, it is a woman--that the work can be considered an art quilt.
But is it really art? Now I will not be showing you the quilt that is being referred to. I am sure the woman in question had her heart in the piece, but I am not convinced that it is art. Is the fact that the work is a new design sufficient to make it art--I don't think so. Being well done helps--but I am not sure it is sufficient. Shouldn't there be that certain pzazz to the piece? That certain je ne sais quois? (Is that even spelled right--I have forgotten high school French.) I think so.
Now, I don't want to pick on this particular woman--after all, do I consider all my quilts art? Actually no I don't. Some are--some are personal expressions of particular times or places, some are the visions of particular customers that they have relayed to me--but are my potholders art--no. Are my placemats art--no. Indeed I would say that even some of my quilts are not art. I am not even sure that my new piece--the one I wrote about for the last blog post is art--it could be if the quilt manages to fulfill my image. But if it doesn't. Well then it will be lovely and decorative and that may actually be sufficient.
What do you think? Are all quilts art quilts if they are new designs? What about those that are old designs but somewhat different? Isn't there the need for the soul of the maker? How do you define it? Is it even necessary to be an "artist"--isn't being an excellent craftsperson sometimes enough?