Monday, November 21, 2011

The Dynamics of Craft

showing the end of the towel including the hem area (at the top)

I think this is my favourite of the wefts I've used up until now.  Although the weft is actually natural, it looks very bright against the beiges of the warp and puts me in mind of icing sugar on baked goods.  :)

One of the blogs I follow is The Textile Blog.  Today John posted a very thoughtful post called The Dynamics of Craft.  I found it quite interesting.

It is something that people who want to sell their work ought to read and consider, I think. 

What do we offer the marketplace that is different or unique from industrially produced goods?  Industry produces everything we might require, and then some.  I remember reading somewhere that in it's heyday, the British wool (worsted) industry produced enough cloth for every man in England to buy 3 new suits a year.  Talk about market saturation!

So what makes what we make worth someone's while to purchase?  My tea towels are no better or worse than much of what is readily available in the shops in most any medium to large town.  What makes my towels diffferent is my design sensibilities - how I have chosen the yarns and the colours and put them together and the size I choose to make them.  I'm not copying someone else's design, I'm making up my own.

My approach to design falls within my personal preferences.  Do I prefer symmetry?  Assmymetry?  Do I prefer blues rather than greens?  Do I prefer cotton and linen rather than some other fibre?  I have acquired a stash of yarns (a palette, if you will)  - yarns that I like in colours that appeal to me.  I tend to work from this stash so my textiles will have a certain similarity - a style, some would call it - that makes my textiles pretty recognizable if you are familiar with what I make.

Just like Yves St. Laurent or Coco Chanel had a distinctive 'style', so do most creative people. 

From time to time we challenge ourselves to push the boundaries of what we usually do.  That is generally when we have our 'failures' - in the vein of "Well, I won't do that again" type of failure.  But learning what doesn't work is just as valuable as learning what does work.  Sometimes even more valuable.  Because in the end if we don't have a failure or two, are we really pushing the boundaries or are we actually continuing to stay in our 'safe' zone?

Market saturation is one spur to trying new and different things - a new item, new colours, new yarns.  But we have to be willing to 'fail' in order to succeed.