Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do artists publish blogs?

I have been having a discussion with myself about this for awhile.  Do artists publish blogs?  I am serious about making tapestry and in doing that about expressing something important--I am interested in making art.  But I like keeping a blog.  It is a way to push myself to think about things and to try to reach out to the fiber community and maybe even to see what other people think.

I don't want my blog to just be random carpet sweepings from the recesses of my mind however, and sometimes I don't censor what comes out quickly enough.

I have just been listening to Syne Mitchell's WeaveCast radio show.  I learned of it recently when someone recommended I listen to her interview of James Koehler.  (It is a wonderful interview, so go listen.)  I realized today when searching her archives that she has interviewed a great number of tapestry artists.  I love this technology and that someone has gone to the trouble to put together these great interviews and share them with the rest of us.  James Koehler, Sarah Swett, Michael Rohde, and Mary Zicafoose are the tapestry artists I found.  She also did a wonderful interview with Claudia Chase of Mirrix looms in which I found out the looms are assembled at a place called Sunshine House which is a workshop for the developmentally disabled.  As an occupational therapist who has worked extensively with this population, I love that!  I am so thrilled to find that my loom was made not only in the USA but by people with developmental disabilities.  Thanks Claudia!  (No, I have no affiliation with Mirrix, I just love their looms--and most of my weaving is done on huge floor looms.  My Mirrix is my "fun" loom.)

So all of this got me thinking about blogs and whether they were just more word-making clutter in our already bursting worlds, or if there was anything constructive to add to society/the world/humanity by participating in the blogosphere.  I'd say that Syne Mitchell has made a very positive contribution to the weaving community with WeaveZine.  But what about my little blog?  Is it just distracting me from the loom or am I contributing something?

I think that many artists have this aura of secrecy about them and their work is their communication with the outside world.  (Though it does occur to me that perhaps they just don't have time to publish blogs.)  Do you have to keep all your methods a secret to be an artist?  I like transparency and would be happy to teach anyone my methods.  That doesn't make me less of an artist, does it?  The art world can be so fickle.  Maybe the important thing is only how I feel about it.

Probably what it comes down to is whether or not working on a blog is pushing forward my art-making or distracting me from it.  Does it complicate my mind and make me less available to ideas and creativity?  Is it just one more stream of words obfuscating what might be really important--lying silent and unnoticed (or avoided) in the recesses of my mind?  Or does it contribute something useful?  I am just not sure.

Yep, cutting another one off...


  1. Over the years I have ruminated on this same topic: to blog or not? Every time I lag in enthusiasm, someone pops up with a comment, a link, a message to me that reinforces my original reasons for starting a blog: to connect with other weavers.

    Just like old episodes of WeaveCast, your blog will let people know there are contemporary weavers out there, and some day, somewhere, someone will take up, continue or re-start weaving because of your inspiration.

    Thanks for your lovely images, and thoughtful commentary.

  2. 1. I doubt that artists' secret techniques contribute much to their identity as an artist to anyone but themselves. James would be the perfect example in that he was willing to take on students of almost any ability. And he willingly shared all that he could.

    2. Perhaps some artists blog and some do not depending on their facility with language. Some maybe frustrated by communicating artistic ideas outside of their domain of the visual arts. Others maybe creative "polyglots" and can communicate some ideas through the written word and others sorts of ideas through their visual medium. IMO most artistic work is not created in a vacuum, but by the germ of an idea. That germ may be found in a poem, a song, a photograph, a journey..... Sometimes playing with those things via a blog can be the germ of a greater work.

    3. To those of us who dabble in tapestry, it is helpful and inspirational to see the thought process of an artist we admire.

    4. And it strikes me that a blog can be a useful thing to educate and inspire those who purchase the work of the artist. By revealing a bit of the process, it becomes evident how much thought, work and attention to detail goes into that very expensive tapestry.

    Finally...I was afraid that the image of cutting off a finished work meant you were "cutting off the blog". I hope that isn't true. It's fun to see your work, the gallery shows you visit, and your thoughts about combining your art and your day job.

  3. Thank you both so much for your comments! I like blogging and am definitely not cutting it off! I have been a little frazzled lately and wonder where I can make my life feel calmer, but I enjoy thinking and writing about the process of tapestry, so I'm not likely to stop any time soon.

  4. Hi,
    I just recently found your blog. I have been following several tapestry weavers for a while. I think because we are so scattered that the blogs allow us to connect. I try and keep my blog up and current, but with other parts of my life things can get a bit slow sometimes. I love seeing your work. I try not to clutter my blog with too much personal stuff, a reason that I deactiviated my facebook account. I find that in the blogs that I follow people tend to showcase what they are doing and their processes and that is what I am interested in finding out about, not so much about how their son is doing on the soccer team, or how ballet and piano lessons are going for their daughter. But, that is just my 0.02$. I am a relatively new weaver, so I like seeing what is out there.


  5. only the cool, hip ones do....

  6. Rebecca, your blog certainly serves a purpose, it's always so informative, and thought provoking.

    I never wanted my blog to be a real "web log" or diary, chronicling my daily life. I think of it as more like a magazine. I feel like I've discovered a new art form! It's fun to create something with images and words, and much easier than writing for a newsletter because you make your own deadlines and choose your own topics.

    Before I started the blog I was nervous that I would run out of things to write about, so over a few weeks I compiled a list of topics. There always seems to plenty to write about though.


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