Monday, August 31, 2009

Actual spinning content. Etc.

I bety you all sometimes wonder where the "spinning" part in Spinningfishwife is, some days? Well, I am spinning. And knitting. I promise. I'm just not very good at blogging about it. I'm not a fast knitter and I forget to take photos and I usually blog at odd hours of the day when it's awkward to just leap up and get a quick snap of a WIP. Anyway, it;s still summer and the focus is on camping, gardening and summer holidays. Which I also forget to blog about, but that's just me being lazy!

Anyway, when I came back from Amsterdam I decided to clear off my bobbins to make a fresh start in the new spinning year. I have been working on this and do have a pile of new skeins but I hit a problem when I stripped the whorl of my old Kromski in such a way that I couldn't get it off the flyer. So the whole kaboodle has had to be sent to the highly respected Woodland Turnery, where they are going to make me a new whorl. I hope. I also went to the Broughton Gathering the weekend before last. This is the event where all the spinning Guilds and other spinning groups in the south of Scotland gather once per year to basically spin, natter and eat cake, plus buying opportunities. The Yarn Yard was there, also Scottish Fibres and some of our independant fleece producers selling their prize winning fleeces. And there was a bring-and-buy stall as well. I bought a dozen eggs from someones pet chickens, a pound of home grown tomatoes and some tablet but the only fibre related buy was a spare part for my Louet S40.

Last Saturday I went to an interesting event at the Dunbar Arts Hub. It is a sort of gallery and the focus is very much on showcasing the work of local artists but we spinners were invited to provide a bit of extra interest. Now I don't normally get drawn on the debate about craftwork v. the work of artists, but suffice to say that the artwork was in the front gallery space, which was bright and open and had a beautiful space facing right out onto the High Street We were squashed into a tiny back room with bad lighting and where no-one could find us unless they had actually come in to look at the front room exhibits. I thought this was rather a waste of us spinners...there's no denying the public pulling power of four spinning wheels going full tilt, and if the owner had put us in the front space she'd have had half of Dunbar in there. I did comment on this to her and got a brief lecture about how artists didn't like their work being diluted by being displayed next to craft work.

Oh well. She was a nice lady, if biased, and we spinners achieved our own ends by publicising the local spinning groups, raising awareness of the craft and getting to sit and spin and natter for three hours with free tea and cake provided. And the best laugh was though actual sales in the gallery area were nil that afternoon, as far as I could tell, one person who came in tried to buy one of my sample skeins which I carry around in a basket for demos. It was a small 5m skein of sparkly stuff that I'd had around for ages and she was a lovely lady who made embellished felted bags, so I did what the vast majority of us craftswomen usually do when talking to other craftswomen and just gave it to her. It's nice to have your spinning appreciated! Then I got a bit of cold shoulder from the owner, presumably because I'd just devalued the work of her artists a bit more, hmm.


Helen said...

I can't help thinking that their work must be quite weak to start with if it can be 'diluted' so easily, but maybe I'm a cynic. It sounds like you had a great day.

Anonymous said...

This whole 'art versus craft' thing can get quite nasty and ageist and even sexist, can't it.

Now take the making of tea cosies for example, it can be a medium as well as fulfill a function. I think that it's the 'functional' part of craft that makes art purists so skittish. It's as if art can only justify its existence if it kind of hangs around filling up spaces as opposed to accompanies you on every aspect of your journey through life where the human body becomes the wall for the art to be displayed...
Getting in deep here. i feel the need for a cuppa as well as having to actually switch on the washing machine. My new 'work' environment although I'd be willing to bet that to many retirement doesn't mean work either.
Stepping down from my high horse right about now...
Perhaps our 'Keepit Dam' is the NSW equivalent of your wonderful weekend.


Here is my little story: Once upon a time, I made art quilts, had my own shows, sold a good bit, etc.

My fiber friends rented a room at a local art museum in order to sell woven, knit, sewn items. Nice stuff. As I was hauling all my quilts in, I was told the the artist whose work was hung in the gallery upstairs, a quilt artist, had pitched a fit about having art quilts for sale downstairs. I had other items to sell, too, but the entire thing pissed me off to no end and I just took my toys and went home.

I think the artist must have been 1) worried about her work being "devalued" by being associated with craft and 2) not at all confident about her own work and 3) a total Grinch.

I refuse to argue about art v. craft. This episode, along with many others, made me abandon the so-called art world. Now I spin and knit, artistically.

Janet said...

Hooray for hand spinning. Are your groups doing anything for World Wide Spinning in Public Day on September 19th?