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Thread: Quality of Tools

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    I have taken several art classes, beginner watercolor and several oil. Not one instructor said not to use the best quality paints or canvas because it didn't matter for a beginner. Some ordered from an artist catalog some went to Hobby Lobby. The work done with the best paints and canvas looked better then the work done with the less quality even if the art itself was rather bad. LOL. Nothing compares to the best quality of anything from food to life.
    With art, it doesn't matter about the quality of the tool if the art itself is bad. The art is everything! I only went to one art school, not painting classes. The advice there was consistent in the scuplture classes, painting and metal working classes. Until your skill justifies it, don't spend the money for top notch tools. A canvas for a beginner could be had at HL. A top notch canvas would cost then between $50-$100 for a smaller size 20x24 and take a good 24 hours to gesso, sand, gesso, sand, gesso, sand until it was ready for a skilled painter. Most beginners couldn't even tell the difference by looking at the two canvases. Perhaps the instructer didn't say best quality paints didn't matter for a beginner, but I'll bet that when you were having trouble getting the precise shading in a glaze he explained , or should have, the difference in the quality of paints and mediums. Also, many classes don't even begin to explain the multiple oil mediums, drying times, varnishes, etc. Many of these differences are left to advanced students.Just as all art schools start with color theory and art history and painting classes don't. However, color theory is a very necessary tool as is art history. I think it compares to thinking a writer could produce a best selling book without studying literature. There is much more to the tools of painting than canvas, brushes and paint, but even these come in grades- usually listed as student, artist and professional.

  2. #22
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    'll bet that when you were having trouble getting the precise shading in a glaze he explained , or should have, the difference in the quality of paints and mediums.

    So the student would notice the difference by not getting the right results from low quality vs the higher quality in the paints?
    Got fabric?

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    So the student would notice the difference by not getting the right results from low quality vs the higher quality in the paints?
    In shading, there is a big difference in many colors in the translucence. There is always a big difference in the amount of pigment to the amount of binder and that means you use a different amount of medium. The amount of medium determines the properties of the glaze. A very high pigment content equals a small amount of paint in your medium - say a mixture of Holbein oil painting medium and Lesolvant with a touch of oil of clove. Very translucent, very good glaze. Cheaper paints sometimes make a somewhat cloudy glaze. Always take more paint because they have less pigment.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    My point was that in my art school we were taught to learn on oils that were popular priced, popular brands, student quality - hand ground pigments, hand mixed being about 4 times that cost and at our skill level you could not tell the difference in the oil paint. When you can charge $30,000 and up for a portrait you can tell the difference in the quality of paint because of the skill in using it. A student doesn't need a $40 brush when a $10-15 brush will work fine. A $5 brush is disposable after a few weeks. A pre-stretched cotton canvas bought at Hobby Lobby will work for a student. A professional needs linen canvas stretched on hard wood, custom stretched. Both cotton and linen are stretched with the same tools. A studio easel can be purchased for $100 or $1000. Usually a student doesn't invest in the higher priced easel. An artist has special lights to control the color spectrum in his studio, etc.

    In quilting, some of us tell a beginner to buy the best sewing machine they can afford, some say just get a good one that sews dependably. Some of us tell a beginner that you can buy fabric at yard sales, use cotton clothes, etc. or purchase at the chain stores like Walmart or Joann's. Other's want to buy only the best that the LQS sell. My point was we didn't give consistent professional advice like other art professions did. I equated fabric arts with painting, sculpture, silversmithing, etc. That was my mistake. Obviously, most of the women equate quilting with a hobby - not with what they do, but with what they are, what they deserve in equipment, what they can afford in equipment. They compare their equipment to their husband's fishing equipment, not the tools of a painter or a silversmith. Therefore, they don't judge their output against other artists, but against their personal satisfaction. I was wrong in my assumptions and my questions turned out to be spurious.
    Most women do think of quilting as just a hobby. There are not many that approach quilting from an art angle.

    I don't think you offended with your question so much as confused with your question.

    That said, in the needle arts in general there aren't very many things designated "beginner" or "professional." About the only things that have beginner and professional level differences are sewing machines. I personally wouldn't recommend that a beginner run out and buy an 8K Bernina. Nor would I recommend they buy the $99 special at Wal-Mart.

    I consider myself a fabric artist.

  5. #25
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    I'm not and will never be a quilt artist in your meaning. I'm not that creative. However, I strive to execute the process of making quilts artfully; that is, as precisely as possible. I believe the art of making quilts is the precision involved in a quality product in the end.
    Your meaning and mine aren't the same and that's ok.
    The best tools do not improve skills. I've seen quilts done on a high-end machine that have been crap and others done on lower-end machines that are beautiful.

  6. #26
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    I think some of the confusion in this thread is due to semantics. PaperPrincess tried to point out that canvas and oils are not technically 'tools', they are supplies, and that's a significant difference.

    To learn a new technique, be it printmaking, sculpting, or quilting, premium quality supplies are not essential for success, but the quality of the tools used can have a major effect not only on the result of your effort, but also on whether you remain motivated to continue learning the craft.

    Where quilting is concerned, for example, it's one thing to use lesser quality fabric and thread while you're learning and something else altogether to use a 'make-do' machine that doesn't behave as it should and a ruler that is crooked. When I advise others, I always suggest they start with inexpensive, easily found supplies until they've had a chance to try the techniques (surface design mostly) and decide if they want to take it to the next level.

    There are many here who consider themselves artists, myself included though I personally prefer either fiber artist or textile artist to fabric artist, and many who do not. It makes absolutely no difference what we call ourselves, or what others call us for that matter. What matters is how we feel about what we do, who we are, what we produce, and what we leave behind.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  7. #27
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    Buying "the best" "you can afford" (two separate considerations) is sound advice for beginning quilters. Using tools of superior quality does not boost inherent skill, but using inferior tools and materials can certainly frustrate the process and result in a product that is of lower quality than what might have been made.

    A beginning quilter doesn't know what a rotary mat is supposed to be like so she might be discouraged if she has one that "flakes". Likewise if she has thread that breaks in her machine, or fabric that frays terribly, or scissors that don't cut as well as they should. Give her enough "environmental" problems and she'll think QUILTING is the root of the issue because she doesn't know it can be better. How far would you have gotten with painting if your canvases consistently shed enough lint to muck up your paint?

    As quilters build their skills and experience they can better tell what a quality tool or material will be because they'll know WHY they're looking for certain things, and then price becomes less of a guideline and more of a project management consideration.

    In addition quilts, in general, are not meant to go on a wall or otherwise be handled gently. Quilts go to the park and the beach, they go in the washing machine, they go on beds where kids like to jump. They keep us warm, with both their form and their function. A quilt made with inferior materials (which cannot always be told by price) simply won't last as long or wear as well.

    I think you won't hear a lot of objection to your original post because many quilters don't think about "art" -- they think about doing what they love and call it quilting.

    Interesting thread.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Rose S.'s Avatar
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    I have enjoyed reading all of this. I am with JulieR...not having good tools could be so frustrating it could totally change how someone views quilting, or anything for that matter.

    When we first got married, for my birthday, my hubby went and got what he thought was a good sewing machine. A Kenmore. If I had never sewn before, I sure wouldn't after I got it. It would sew fine, then not sew. Jamming, thread bunching in back...you name, it would do it. I would take everything apart...look for stray threads, rethread.....change needle....and sometimes do it repeatedly and finally it would sew again for a while. It is still a mystery to me what was wrong with it. I never thought about taking it to a repair man...and still wouldn't. I gave it to Good Will...and suffered guilt for that.

    If I had not sewn at home, I would have thought that sewing was not worth the trouble. So, getting the best you can for what you are going to do is good advice, but that doesn't mean it has to have all the bells and whistles. To me 'best' means something that does what you want it to do consistently. I have an older Viking with lots of decorative stitches, lots of needle positions, but the majority of my sewing is done on my straight-stitch only Juki 98 Q.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    I take back what I said because I see that none of you consider yourselves fabric artists. I had mistakenly thought from many other threads that most quilters thought of themselves as making fabric art. I was confusing oranges for apples.I appologize for obviously offending you.

    Tanya, no need to apologize as you have not offended anyone. This has been a great thread and it has been interesting to read what everyone thinks and feels. It's wonderful that we can express our opinions on this site.

  10. #30
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    Hi, I do consider myself a quilt artist who is passionate about my quilting and piecing. However, due to a limited budget I have to make wise choices and I think that is probably taught me to not get carried away with gadgets. I have bought fabric at thrift stores and got really top notch stuff. In addition I use coupons at Joanne's and also buy at the LQS and wish I had a LQS where I am currently living. However, I have stayed in my budget and gained so many hours of enjoyment and I also made lovely quilts. I do think some quilters spend so much more than I but if they are truly enjoying themselves that's good. I also see other's that buy, buy, buy and never make a darn thing. I can only hope I pass by their yard sale the day they decide to downsize.
    Create something beautiful from scraps.

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