Friday, April 24, 2009
This I know for sure...
In my position as 'committee chairperson' in the organization of the Connections: Small Tapestry International exhibit, I have had the opportunity to look many times at images of the small tapestries sent to me for consideration. As I look them over, both the ones that will be in the show and ones that will not, some speak more loudly to me than others, and I ask myself what the difference might be. I have come to believe the difference is passion.
Jean Lurcat has said that tapestry, to be true to the medium, must be very large, even "lofty" in size. It needs to fill our vision to get our attention. That is no longer true. I have seen some very small ideas woven into large lofty tapestries, and I have seen large ideas fully realized in small tapestries.
In these times of economy, when we are told constantly that we must conserve our resources; that everything must be smaller and less to survive, it is natural for artists to also 'go small.' I'm seeing this trend in all mediums, not only in the medium of tapestry. And perhaps with tapestry, a costly medium, it is a natural economy. Buyers cannot afford large pieces in tight times; artists cannot afford to create and stockpile large works, hoping for better times to come. But one thing we artists must not conserve on: we must not conserve on the content in our work. While we may 'go small' in size, now is not the time to 'go small' in message.
Artists have the power to be social spokespersons, cultural mirrors, and spiritual healers. And if we work on a smaller scale, we must make sure that we speak in louder voices. We must create what is true and noble, what is encouraging to others and of value to ourselves. In hard times, perhaps more than in easier times, the world needs from us the beautiful and the specific, the original and the universal, the small statements filled with large affirmations. Even when we work small, we can be large.
If we create expressions of what we love, what we value, we can make life better and stronger for ourselves and for those who view our work. We can have a part in the healing that needs to take place. Creativity is a necessary medicine to heal a 'sick' world.