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Art Artists Artisans inner Artist Discovering your inner Artist Artwork Crafts

There seems to be a myth about art. Is it the ability to paint like Da Vinci? Or sculpt like Michelangelo? Many people seem to believe that art is confined to painting and sculpting and whey they appear not to have a talent for either, they resign themselves to being non-artists. That’s just the way it is!

I was at the library a few weeks ago and the local quilters group was gathered in the meeting room for a work bee. I invited myself in to see what they were making and I heard one lady say, “I’m no artist. I just enjoy making quilts.”

She was working on an incredibly intricate design. Each small square (and there would be over 100 of them on the finished quilt) featured a tiny crane designed to look like origami. It was amazing. This woman, patiently stitching together literally hundreds of minute pieces of fabric into a blend of colour and depth, could not see herself as an artist. It almost broke my heart. It also made me stop and think about what art is.

Art hangs in galleries and graces museum walls. Its humble counterpart, craft, appears on fundraiser tables and as home-made gifts. Or so we have been conditioned in society to believe, like it takes any less creative energy to make a lace antimacassar than it did to paint the Mona Lisa. Tatting is an art. So is knitting, crocheting, quilting, weaving, making baskets, flower arranging, embroidery, sewing or any other form of creative expression.

Your inner artist is that part of you that wants to create beauty in your world. Do you take the time when you prepare a meal to arrange and garnish the food attractively? That’s art. Do you thoughtfully decorate your home, bringing colour, shape and texture together to create a specific atmosphere? That’s art. Do you write stories or poems? Well, that’s art, too. Whenever you are inspired to channel energy into something to make it beautiful you are being an artist.

You don’t have to make your living at it for it to be art. Art, whether it is auctioned off at Southby’s or gracing your own wall, is not dependant on a price tag to make it art. Art comes from within. I don’t think it is entirely coincidence that the last three letters in the word heart are A-R-T, for that is where art is born. And heart, the love that goes into it, is what drives art to become.

While writing this article, a friend dropped by and read my words. “It’s not art if you are just following a pattern that someone else made up,” she argued.

Fair enough. But consider that many art students learn to paint by copying the works of others. They hone their own techniques by emulating those of the great masters. Sooner or later, though, they will begin to apply those techniques in distinctive ways. What crafter’ has not altered a pattern to suit themselves, made changes to re-create a pattern or just used a pattern for inspiration to design something unique? That’s the inner artist coming out.

My inner artist loves to make socks. For some reason, socks appeal to me and I spend many hours creating each new design. My palate is the yarn. My brush is the needles. My canvas is feet. I am both painter and sculptor as I work the colours and shape the sock. It can take up to 40 hours just to knit a single pair of socks and that is after days of sketching and swatching and graphing in hopes that it will all work out on the needles. I have put over 100 hours into creating a single pair of socks, though, on average, it takes about half that time for most of my designs to be realized. I don’t make a dime at it, but my friends and family have the fanciest feet on the planet! I also derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from my art.

Satisfaction is another way to recognize your own inner artist at play. What makes you feel good to be doing? What, when complete, gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment? What can’t you wait to get your hands into? That will be your art.

The term artisan is an elegant definition for people who, like me, prefer to create functional art rather than art that is strictly decorative. I like the word. It contains an element of freedom that the word artist seems to lack. So, if you desire, discover and release your inner artisan. Then when you find it, accept it. Overcome those conditioned barriers that conceptualize art in limiting terms and bust those myths about art that keep your inner artist (or artisan) from emerging.

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