Have another drawing of my queen. I’m going to be spoiling her for awhile lol. Only one more month until we get to see her, it can’t come fast enough. If we have to fight her, I’ll literally just sit there and let her kill me.
Given that I do needle arts, this craft vs. art thing is an issue that comes up a lot. Crafts seem to be things that people classify as something to keep your hands busy. The implication is something small in meaning. “Not something that would go in a museum.” Pleasure, not “real work.” Cross-stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, knitting, crochet, quilting, weaving (basket and cloth), beading, but also woodworking and blacksmithing and pottery. These are all things that are seen to require skill to do well, but the end results are only rarely held up as examples of “art,” and are thus not often seen as truly creative endeavors by people outside that crafting community.
If the work isn’t seen as 100% the maker’s original idea, no working from instructions or patterns at any point, is it really art? they ask.
Does it matter? I counter.
When I started writing fic this past June, I hadn’t written fiction of any kind in 16 years. Nor had I drawn or painted. My artistic creativity, as I had been told to define it, had seemed burned out, gone, dead. All I’d been doing in those years (“all”) was extremely complex cross-stitch, temari (a Japanese form of geometric embroidery), and knitting. It was the temari that really grabbed me, so I worked hard enough at it that I started to get some recognition for making original pieces, which, in the temari world, means combining techniques that are centuries old in possibly novel ways, or at least novel colors. And at this point, people started asking me what it was that kept me coming back to temari. Why did I keep doing it, sometimes variations of the same design again and again? The answer I came up with was this:
I like the way temari sets up rigid constraints that you must work within (the geometric divisions, the stitching techniques), but then challenges you to be as creative as possible within those constraints. Sure, I did that particular pattern five times in a row, but each time I varied the colorway, or I explored how changing just one element would affect the overall final look. And that spurred me to greater and greater creativity.
Fanfiction is very much the same for me. Exploring how to be as creative as possible in a few areas while operating within a set of constraints is oddly freeing. I can experiment with changing just one aspect of canon and explore how that would change the overall dynamic of the established world, or I can push everything into an AU setting and work to keep the character dynamics recognizable even with everything else changed. And if creativity within constraint is what’s inspiring me to actually write/draw/stitch, I’m not going to look down on that.
Nor should anyone.
Blur that line in your mind. It’s all art. It’s the value judgements that are fake.
“Lately, I find the truth has become so elusive, often imaginary. But, in the end, it’s all that we’re left with, isn’t it? What is real, what you can taste and touch and feel. The words that pass between us as we look each other in the eye are all we have to hold onto. The truth.I hold it dear.”