When were you able to describe yourself as an artist?

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Dale Kathryn wrote
on 13 May 2009 5:14 PM

PS - What's really weird ... my fabric paper, free motion on water soluble stabilizer and several other of my experiments have shown up in magazines AFTER I played with the technique! Very strange indeed! Perhaps I should start photographing and documenting ...


"To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage." - Georgia O'Keeffe

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lcordova wrote
on 13 May 2009 6:31 PM

I just started calling myself an artist about a year ago. I used to sell pastels and oil paintings, years ago, but outside of private lessons, I never took any college art classes. I was so afraid my work would not be good enough! My husband has called me an artist for years,saying it to me to boost my confidence and telling friends, family and aquaintances the same. I have always wanted to be an artist and decided if I refer to myself as one I will live up to the label. It has been very freeing and I have had much more confidence , which has given me more creativity. I even finally started keeping a journal, after reading so many QA articles and seeing so many of the QA shows. The more I  feel like an artist the more art I have been able to produce.

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Dale Kathryn wrote
on 13 May 2009 9:10 PM

I didn't mean mine - as in "mine" but in as I experimented at the same time someone else did.


"To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage." - Georgia O'Keeffe

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on 14 May 2009 2:49 PM

Amazingly, I just gave a speech on this yesterday to a graduating leadership class. What I told them is "what you do is what you are, and what you are is what you do." I wasted so much time wondering if I was an artist...even googling "what is an artist?" If you make art, then clearly you are an artist. The proof is in the pudding. No, you don't need a degree, no, art does not need to flow from you effortlessley, no, others do not have to validate your creations.

Would you not call someone who plays the guitar a musician? Would you say to them--oh, hey, you're just a guy who plays around on the guitar but you're not a musician unless you're Bach? Why is it so much more of a stretch to use the term artist? Is it because art is less recognizable, less tangible in some way? Music is more recognizable for the most part. Notes that form a melody....But art might be a leaf fallen on the sidewalk or a piece of trash that Belinda has no doubt apprehended and glued to something, lol. It's harder to feel certain that you're seeing art. The definition is so broad.

So for some, they feel as if they are passing off the emperor's new clothes. They fear that someone will say "your canvas is naked!"

I told the future leaders that they had an obligation to step up and claim the word that described them and that they owed it to the world to inhabit their true selves because they are each unique. There is a spot that will never be filled until they are able to say "I am an artist" or "I am a speaker" or "I am an environmentalist" or whatever it is that defines their passion. And it is most certainly about passion. When I am huddled  over some art supplies and mumbling "my precious" you know that I am where I belong. You don't want to try and separate me from what I love to do, and that is make things. To create.

I make art, ergo I am an artist. If you make art, let's be artists together.

Art. Just Do It.

Blog: ephemeralalchemy.blogspot.com

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MellyT wrote
on 15 May 2009 4:18 AM

So eloquent. Thank you Kelli

Author: Inspired to Quilt
Melanie Testa<--my art
Go play in your studio!!!

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on 15 May 2009 6:01 AM

Kelli, I want to print your post and hang it in my art room for inspiration. And reminding.  There are times we doubt ourselves.  We should never forget who we are and who we long to be.  Thank you.

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Muppin wrote
on 15 May 2009 6:31 AM

Kelli- I agree!  Thanks for posting that!

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Jody Johnson wrote
on 15 May 2009 10:24 PM

I have been thinking.... could we find it hard to call ourselves artists due to the fact that much of the art we (i.e. those of us on the forum) do has been categorized and viewed by the public as "crafting" over the years? I work in the downtown core in a major city near several fantastic, large magazine shops that seem to carry every subject under the sun. I have noticed in these shops that the "Art" magazines are in a completely different area of the store than the "craft" magazines. Quilting, knitting, mixed media, scrap booking and general crafting magazines tend to be grouped together in a section called crafts while while the art (fine art, graphic art), painting and architecture magazines are grouped together in the art section of the store well-separated from the previous group.

Just a thought. Does this distinction seem to exist in your part of the world?


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on 16 May 2009 12:14 AM

I live in the Midwest. I am in a suburb of Chicago and it is the same here.  I noticed that a long time ago and that does not bother me. It makes it easier for me to find what I want to get anyway. I bypass the other magazines when I look at the Mixed media ones. There are not many mixed media magazines out either.  They are not hard to miss.  That is another discussion.  I don't find it hard to call myself an artist and I don't know if it really matters.  I go to both crafts and art book sections when I am at the bookstore. They are both sad.  I usually buy my latest mixed media books online.  They take too long to get to my bookstore. I would like to be able to see what is inside before I get it but they take about a month or more before they are physically there unless I specifically request it. Too much of a pain. 

Yesterday, Friday, I got a postcard from an artist aquaintance who is having a gallery show.  I had a quick thought about it since we were having this discussion.  This artist has chosen to take a different path from the path that I have taken. There was a time that I was exhibiting my work and you could see my work in a gallery.  I was in a juried art show.  Found out it wasn't my thing and I chose a totally different path. Way happier with what I am doing now.  Well, there are mixed media artists out there who take this path (galleries and juried art shows). I feel more like an artist more now than I did when I was doing that for a brief time. I did not feel as creative when I was creating to show in a gallery.  It felt great when my stuff sold but that was not the most important thing to me.  Thus, I guess I would fall into the starving artist category. 

Belinda aka crazyartgirl

Blog:  http://alteredbelly.blogspot.com/

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lcordova wrote
on 17 May 2009 3:41 PM

My husband had to keep telling me for YEARS that I  was an artist. When I finally did clall myself an artist it was soooo freeing. I am going to enjoy the rest of my years, however long I have as an artist! Also, thanks for the Hi from my newbie hello. I don't know how to navigate here yet as I haven't been able to view the video from Pokey. You made me feel welcome and I thank you!

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tiedyejudy wrote
on 17 May 2009 6:03 PM

Even though I've been involved in creative things (art/crafts... you name it!) since I was very young, I have had very little formal training.  I took drawing and design in high school, spent one year at the junior college level as an art major, then took a class here and there over the years.  But I never felt confident enough in my abilities to call myself an artist.  I still refer to my workspace sometimes as a 'workroom' or sewing room, but I'm working hard to convert that to 'studio'.  Basically, I have only referred to myself as an artist for a couple of years, but I've been a 'wannabe' forever!  These days, I'm involved in our local Artists' Coalition, and this year I will be participating in our annual Open Studios.  I have also shown my work at our gallery, and I'm thrilled with the response I have received from gallery patrons.  So I guess I can't deny it anymore, or hide the fact that I'M AN ARTIST!  Oh, m'gosh!

Judy Sall


'Busy hands are happy hands... especially when fabric, dye, thread, beads, etc., are involved!' 

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13Dandelions wrote
on 2 Jun 2009 7:05 PM

I first called myself an artist when I finally had a room of my own filled with fabric and beads and paint and equipment!!! It took me a while to get used to it - I used to call it "the back bedroom" or "the other room", but it is in fact a "studio". So, now I am an "artist" with a "studio" and all my friends have stopped looking at me funny when I use those words. And, I make stuff  - so, I am an artist!!!

Its all about respecting what you do as important.

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mary j3 wrote
on 2 Jun 2009 8:09 PM

I love what ChelseaOllie (sp?) wrote - our quilting has been art for a long time.  I love this line of commentary from all of you. And I agree with _____?I forgot who said - this should be an article in Quilting Arts. As for drawing, I sat down with Betty Edward's book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain 25 years ago, found out I could draw, was satisfied. Moved on. I read and reread Julia Cameron's books The Artist's Way and Walking in this World, and know, now I know, I feel it in my soul, we are artists. Quilting Arts magazine gave me the freedom to jump into the fabric pile with both feet. Fabric just feels so goooood.  Yum! mary j, Fresno, CA

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