I don't call myself an 'artist'. I accept weaver, crafts person, even 'master' - I got the paper that says so.
But I don't think of myself as an 'artist'.
In this day and age, being an 'artist' generally holds the connotation of someone who is trying to reflect back to society a new way of looking at something. Their role appears to be one of provoking thought - sometimes gentle, meditative thought, sometimes revolutionary thought, but a reflection of what is, and what might be instead.
All I want and hope to do is make good textiles. I am a solid blue collar kind of girl. I aim to make my textiles as beautifully as I can. I carefully consider colour, design, but most of all, function.
I call my textiles 'mundane' in that they are in existence to be used, preferably daily. When people tell me my tea towels are too 'nice' to use, I wonder who said a tea towel wasn't supposed to be pretty while it did its work? When did our society determine that pretty couldn't also be useful? That the everyday chores of life and living were meant to be drab or bland? The dishes need to be dried, why not do it with a cloth that feels good in our hands and is delightful to look at?
I can't draw worth beans, so for the tapestry problem for level four of the Guild of Canadian Weavers master level certificate, I went for the 'primitive' look.
I happened to have all of these yarns, already hand dyed. The frame loom was set up with a linen warp and for the background I used two warp ends as one, then split them into individual ends so that I could achieve greater detail for the central motif - my butterfly. In the photo, the warp is running side to side as that seemed to give me the most freedom and least angst than trying to weave the design from bottom to top. It made weaving the 'leaf' shapes in the background much easier, too.
The tapestry took literally years to complete because I'm not really interested in doing tapestry. When I'm weaving, I really want to be throwing the shuttle, not carefully passing weft butterflies through the hand picked sheds. Then not liking how the shape was progressing and taking out and starting over. My meditation in weaving comes from the aerobic activity of treadling, throwing the shuttle and beating, not the careful consideration of each thread being placed to create the design.
That is not to say that I consider tapestry weavers less - or more - of a weaver - they are just doing something different than my personal preference. I have the greatest respect for tapestry weavers.
That said, what I do does require a level of artistry because I am still working with design fundamentals and colour theory. But my purpose is not that of an artist. I did the above tapestry because it was required, not because I enjoyed it. I think it's fine, but it isn't a 'great work of art'. It was a problem to be solved for marking and my only hope was that I passed.
That's not really the definition of an 'artist' in my mind...