I don’t like it when people criticize needlepoint saying it’s like “painting by numbers.” Being the daughter and granddaughter of very creative women, I have always seen, as have they, needlepoint as a very artistic and creative process.
A blog post last week at The Textile Blog got me thinking about this again.
All art is a conversation. In it there are always two people: the artist and the person seeing the art. The artist has an idea and expresses it in a particular way. It may not be an idea you like and it may be expressed in a way you find ugly. But he began the conversation with his idea and its expression.
The second person in the conversation is the person viewing the art. By seeing the expression of the idea, you, even if it’s just mentally, react to it and comment back.
I never thought much about my part in the conversation since looking at art is almost as much of my life as breathing until I was in my 20’s and invited to a docent-led preview of an important modern art exhibit. I went through it and hated every piece, but I understood them. Without knowing it I took part in the conversation.
But in needlework there is always a third party — that’s you the stitcher. As The Textile Blog points out, often they are unknown. But always, always, we take part in the conversation. We do it through our choices of thread, through our stitches, and through our ideas on what the piece is about.
It may be not obvious at all, as is the case in the tapestries in the blog post. Or it may be very obvious, as is the case in how I personalized the baseball player pictured here. But as the maker we take the artist’s idea, add our own, and express that combination in the finished piece.
So go out, embrace your creativity and stand up to be part of the creative conversation.