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Thread: Is quilting a hobby or an art?

  1. #1
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    Is quilting a hobby or an art?

    Is quilting a hobby or an art? In a conversation about retirement plans with a non-quilter, I mentioned that I plan on doing a degree in Fine Arts (Fabric Arts) to help me with my quilting. The utter astonishment of the non-quilter threw me for a loop. He asked why I would go to the trouble of getting a university degree “just for some old hobby.” I love traditional quilts because they comfort me, but I also like unconventional ones, having been influenced by Beth and Jeffrey Gutcheon’s The Quilt Design Workbook, published in 1976 (and even made the quilt on the cover). My question is this: do you consider quilting a hobby or an art, or both?

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    YES it is!

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    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Depends....usually I consider it my beloved hobby, and I mostly make quilts that fit in this category...soft, cuddly, made with love for a specific person.

    Occasionally I make a quilt or a wallhanging or some such that is made specifically for entering in a show, and then I go into "artistry" mode.

    So, yes, it depends. I don't think I would go to college to get a degree to apply to it, but I do take quilting classes to learn skills that I would not use for a general use quilt, but would for an artistic quilt.

  4. #4
    Super Member huntannette's Avatar
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    i think it can be both.....

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    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    It depends on the person. For some people it's totally a hobby and for some it's both a hobby and an art. For some it's totally art.

  6. #6
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I would say that most all hobbies can be considered a form of art. You are taking pieces of fabric, cut them into smaller pieces and then sew them back together to make a beautiful quilt. How is that not art? I look at a pattern and see different colors, often the complete opposite of what the pic shows.....so I am creating a different look. Is that not art? Yes, it's a hobby that gives me relaxation and stress relief. Yes, it's an art form because I am creating something.

  7. #7
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    If someone can splash paint all over and call it art, why can't we sew pieces of cloth together and call it art. I think in some peoples minds anything that began as a way to make something useful will always be a "hobby." In their minds "art" is narrowly defined as something that hangs on a wall or stands in the park. Maybe we can just say we have a very artistic hobby.

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    I agree with Buckeye Rose. It is definitely an art form. Not everyone can make quilts or art pieces from fabric. Just like not everyone can paint pictures with oils etc. You have to have a creative spirit to make quilts. You can call it a hobby, but it is art.

  9. #9
    Super Member fayzer's Avatar
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    Definitely BOTH!

  10. #10
    Senior Member quilter1943's Avatar
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    I consider it both
    Nana Jan
    Friendships are gifts from God that should be cherished and nourished

  11. #11
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckeye Rose View Post
    I would say that most all hobbies can be considered a form of art. You are taking pieces of fabric, cut them into smaller pieces and then sew them back together to make a beautiful quilt. How is that not art? I look at a pattern and see different colors, often the complete opposite of what the pic shows.....so I am creating a different look. Is that not art? Yes, it's a hobby that gives me relaxation and stress relief. Yes, it's an art form because I am creating something.
    I agree -- if you make a ton of half square triangles and put them on the design wall turning them this way and that to get the different patterns, this is art. If you sit at your machine to relax, then this is hobby. How great it is that with quilting we can do both -- how satisfying is that. Right now I am trying to straighten out my sewing areas (yes, I have spill over into three areas) and just getting re-aquainted with my fabric is an an ahhhhhh moment. Ith is certainly better than drugs to have a creative, artisitc hobby that challenges both sides of your brain (remember -- we have a lot of math disguised as buying yardage and cutting pieces) and relaxes you at the same time.
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  12. #12
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Just an an artist ( painter) selects his palete and form so does a quilter.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Drue's Avatar
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    I consider it both. I guess it depends on whether or not you use your imagination. If you follow a pattern "verbatim", then it's someone elses "art" and you are just copying their works. If you change it to your likes/needs/designs/fabrics/etc...that makes it yours and makes it art. It is really an "OBSESSION" rather than a hobby tho! I was told that before I ever got into quilting...they were right!
    Those who are piecemakers will sew seeds.

    Hugs,
    Drue

  14. #14
    Senior Member liont's Avatar
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    What a strange comment!? Hobby and art are not mutually exclusive.
    A more relevant question would be - is quilting a craft of an art?

  15. #15
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I consider quilting an art form. A hobby to me is like collecting teapots or trainspotting....(not disparaging either hobby, just using as an example). Any activity which involves putting elements together or manipulating them to create something of utility or beauty is art. If you take a lump of rock and carve a statue....it is art....quilters just have fabric as a medium. I don't see a degree in fibre arts or design to be any less relevant than a degree in any other field.

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    Your friend is exhibiting a common prejudice. If it is a "domestic skill" it isn't "art". Chefs are culinary artists but the home maker is not even if their offerings are of the same level as a chef.

    Yes, quilting is an art. I, unfortunately, am not an artist. I try. Mostly I just sew but that is good enough for me and mine.

    I have a friend who took a class in oil painting. She did one painting and it hangs in her foyer. When asked she says, "Yes, that is one of mine." She only did one but it is enough to make others call her an artist.

    YOu are an artist.

  17. #17
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    both, I think it depends what type of quilts you make, but it can be both

  18. #18
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    and/or a profession

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    Super Member liking quilting's Avatar
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    My vote is "both."
    Mavis

  20. #20
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
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    I am going to say both. Every artist starts with a blank canvas, ours just happens to be a pile of fabric waiting to be cut and sewn. Sewing is my hobby but it is my blank canvas to create something amazing and beautiful, rather it is just for me.
    Sabrina
    Mommy to a 6 year old little girl, 3 dogs, 5 cats, and 2 fish. lol Life keeps me busy but when I have a moment, I love to sew
    http://ataleofamilitaryfamily.blogspot.com/
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/HugsLove

  21. #21
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Was this the same guy who thinks all quilters are little old ladies? lol

  22. #22
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    I vote for both.

    Comment. It seems like often when I read about professional quilters, quilt designers etc, it seems like many of them have started out in a different art discipline. And, many seem to have graphic design backgrounds.

    I am jealous that your are at a place where you can go back to school and study something you obviously enjoy.
    Good luck, enjoy yourself!

  23. #23
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I guess it makes some people feel important to disparage anything they don't know much about. You didn't say what your response to him was, but I hope he didn't make you feel any uncertainty about your choice.

    Quilting the way I do it is more of a hobby, just done for relaxation and to pursue a little creative impulse. But living in the Houston area, I have had the opportunity to see many of the world's most exquisite quilts over the years, and there is no doubt whatever that some quilters are artists of first rank, and many create quilts that are artistic and unique, in many cases intended only for display as art work. A person who thinks of a quilt merely as some old traditional craft done by following simple, uncomplicated traditions hasn't seen the half of it, and anyone who does creative work could be improved by more knowledge and a broader exposure to different ways with fabric, color, texture, tools and techniques.

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    Smile

    Not my usual style of poetry but I hope you enjoy...

    Quilting is:
    A passion screaming to be expressed.
    A picture in my minds eye waiting to be seen.
    History woven in mystery passing down from one generation to another and on into the future.
    My avocation, my joy, my gift to share with others.
    Love you can wrap some one in to give comfort and courage.
    A piece of myself I give away freely.
    Time spent alone in contemplation and time spent with others in collaboration.
    Learning, teaching, listening, designing, refining, beginning, ending, finishing and completion.
    An explosion of color or shades as muted as a whisper.
    Quilting is me, quilting is we...who are quilters.
    Cheryl Robinson
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    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  25. #25
    Senior Member Pepita's Avatar
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    I would say it depends on YOUR perspective. I tend to think from what you say that it is a vocation. There are just folks out there that just don't get it. They don't appreciate the vision, cost, and labor that goes into making a quilt. I remember going to a high school reunion and when I told them I was a catering director their response was but what are you really going to do? That's just not a real job! I was working for Intercontinental Hotels at the time, and didn't that a fair assessment. My daughter is in college now, and bless her heart she wants to be a politician! Now is that a hobby, or a vocation?
    I hope you see my point, there will always be people who question what we think and do. Fortunately, the world is made of many people and none of us are alike, so do what fulfills you, what makes you want to get out of bed and tackle the project at hand.
    Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. Mark Twain

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