Would you call it art if a sweater designed by one is knit by another? Is this situation any different from the artist who designs a sculpture for a foundry to create? And does art made without skill lose something in the translation?
The above image is the interior of a sculpture by Mike Andrews which is currently on exhibit at the Winter Delights Stitching Salon. It towers for nearly two stories, but despite its grand scale, it is inviting, drawing the viewer into its interior, allowing a place to sit and reflect.
I love its bright colors and the way light passes through it, but I couldn't help focusing on the hundreds of staples used to secure the fabric to the wood frame. Andrews spent obvious hours at a knitting machine producing yards and yards of fabric, let alone in building the wood frame, so why did he skimp on the finishing details? This lack of craftsmanship detracts from both the beauty and power of the piece. I left feeling a bit disappointed.
This brings me back to the concept proposed by Tom Stoppard. Is craftsmanship to be so devalued or should it be used to elevate art to higher place? For me, craftsmanship and concept go hand in hand. One can't exist without the other.
What are your feelings on this subject? Is a sweater designed by one and knit by another nothing but a poor copy, or is something added by the knitter to make the sweater unique? Is concept more relevant to art production than skill? Are fiber and textile programs nationwide focusing too much on one over the other? Should they?