My current work in progress:

1. Brickless, designed by Martina Behm, knit from Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag in the "Boston Fern" colorway on a 4.0 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Art or Craft?

The other day, Annie asked:

Got a question for you…Your work is so beautiful and amazing. I wondered if you have been aware of the discussion on some of the blogs about
art and creativity. Do you consider your knitting to be art? Or is it more a
skill, hobby or craft? I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Personally, I would consider you an artist, I wonder if you consider yourself an artist.

The answer is . . . yes and no.

If you follow a pattern exactly and knit a sweater, I don’t think that makes you an artist. A skilled craftsperson, certainly, if your execution of the pattern is skillfully done.

The designer is the artist. I consider the knits that I design to be art. Whether or not it’s good art is debatable. And starting with a written pattern but making your own changes to it to suit your own vision of how it should look I suppose is art in a way. Because I often do this, I guess I’m an artiste manque.

Or something like that.

What do you think?

Speaking of art, I do have an idea for a fair isle slowly percolating in my head. If I ever get two minutes to rub together, I might actually commit it to paper, electronic or otherwise.

Booga Bag!

Here it is! In all it’s felted glory!

booga52 Art or Craft?

This one is in color #52. And I’ve started the next one, in color #88.

felted101403 Art or Craft?

And I got this in the mail:

kureyon89 Art or Craft?

That’s Kureyon in color number 89. I’m thinking a couple more Booga bags, and maybe a felted Bucket o Chic or two?

Lucy’s jazzed!

lucy101403 Art or Craft?

Some of you asked where I got my little Halloween Spongebob. Ian gave him to me a couple of weeks ago. I believe Spongebob was purchased at Rite-Aid. A drugstore, in case you don’t have ‘em in your area.

Mouse-a-thon!

I received a sweet little mousie from Siow Chin Yeo in Hong Kong. Thank you!

PiS Sweater

About time for an update photo, eh?

pis1014 Art or Craft?

I have one more pattern repeat to complete before I start doing the front neck shaping, which I shall be winging.

In true artistic fashion.

Snort!

Comments

  1. Booga bag looks fab – as does all your Kureyon !
    The PiS is stunning.I’m sure you’ll love wearing it,even if you’re finding the knitting boring ;-] I have plans to make that one & shall get the yarn from Norway.We won’t embarrass each other at parties though,as I live on another land mass & shall be making an upsized cardigan :0)
    Hope my mice arrive soon,Big thanks to Rose for feeding them !

  2. i think your definitely an artist the garments are so beautiful maybe you didnt design but you are the one who took the time and patience to actually knit the designs and because you knit them so well i would consider you an artist because you are knitting items of beauty that make people literally go wow

  3. Have you seen the Holiday Vogue? WendyKnits, as well as 10 other noteworthy blogs, is mentioned in KnitBits — page 13 — in a tiny article about knitting blogs.

  4. When someone compliments me on my sweaters and tells me how “talented” I am, I tell them “I can read a pattern with the best of ‘em.”

    But YOU, Wendy, do so much more than read a pattern that you are definitely in the artist category. You have such an understanding of knitting that this knowledge alone would make you an artist in my book, but then you’re able to reenvision a design to make it your own, a VERY artistic skill.

    I took an art class last year where our teacher recommended a really amazing (and very short) book you all might be interested in: ART AND FEAR by Bayles & Orland. It’s really thought-provoking.

    Happy Wednesday!

    –Judy

  5. Your Booga Bag is awesome! Any tips for inserting the straps? The instructions seemed detailed, but a little confusing. Perhaps I will understand when I actually get to that point in the finishing process. Thanks.

  6. I agree with your art/craft distinction 100%. I couldn’t design my own sweater if my life depended on it, so I think that definitely means I’m NOT an artist!

  7. I love the discussions on art vs. craft. Your answer was intriguing – it sounds as if you mean something other than all the stitches in the right places when you say “if your execution of the pattern is skillfully done”. If that’s so, could you expand on that, if you wouldn’t mind.

    As always, your work is lovely!

  8. I find this artist vs. craftsperson discussion to be very interesting. First of all Wendy, you skill in the craft of knitting rises to the level of art on a regular basis from what I have seen! However, I find that the when people discuss this subject, there tends to be this implied idea that being an artist is somehow better that being a craftsperson. I question that idea. Great skill in a craft is something very special and something that should be admired as much as artistic talent. I think women, in particular, have suffered from the distinction brought about because of this dichotomy between art and craft for centuries. Many incredibly talented women have been overlooked throughout history as a result.

  9. And who is the lucky one who is going to receive that Booga Bag for Christmas? Lucky, lucky, lucky.

    I agree with the talent of knitting vs. designing. But you have designed some beautiful sweaters yourself. Face it – you are a multi-talented person.

  10. I’d like to add an element to the art vs. craft distinctions – creativity. I’ve always said I’m not artistic – can’t put colors together like Starmore. But I know from my work as a power-line design engineer that I am creative. Following knittiing patterns exactly the way they are written is like building a power line from existing standards. A good engineer or knitter can deviate from the existing when necessary and arrive at a finished product that is functional, and esthetically pleasing. Then there is the element of giftedness. Some of us have to learn by trial and error or OJT and others seem to have natural gifts for design. And finally there is another element that I admire – the willingness to try something different – to risk failure.

    So Wendy, I’m guessing you are a gifted and creative technician with enough experience and healthy ego to dare to be different – break some rules – when you ‘see’ a better potential outcome? And when you put all these elements together we get artistic creations like Baby Norgi!

  11. Hi everyone – I’m new, have been lurking for several weeks! Regarding being an artist – no one thinks less of someone like Van Cliburn because he interprets the great composers, even if he doesn’t compose himself. Now granted, my plunking away on the piano is no artistry, but Van Cliburn’s certainly is! Therefore, I posit that Wendy’s knitting rises to the definition because of her great skill in interpreting other’s original ideas, adding to them and often altering to suit her own needs. And I agree wholeheartedly with Suzanne that through the ages women’s arts have been downplayed. So Wendy, in my eyes you are definitely an artist!

  12. Just finished my felted bag in Color 74 and have started planning and buying for more bags. I made the bag 6 rows taller and used a 7 foot I-cord in one piece to make 2 long straps. I’m making up a “kit” with yarn, needles and instructions – in detail – as a gift for a 12 year friend. I liked the suggestion for using Lamb’s Pride for the bottom and strap. I’m starting a larger bag with 3 skeins of Noro and some LP from my stash. The possibilities are endless! Great commuting projects.

  13. Well said, Wendy, about the artist or craftsman question.
    When people ask me if I ever do custom knitting, I always say no, knitting is my art, subject to my whims and nobody else’s. I could never satisfy a client.
    I make up my own designs just as often as I use a pattern. When I get comments on other people’s designs, I always feel the need to credit the original designer in the same breath as I accept the complement.
    Artist? Craftsperson? I guess it’s all in the knitter’s perspective of her/himself, as long as we remember to credit our sources.

  14. I think someone who is a skilled craftperson is also in the same league as an artist. Who is to say that a person who has knitted many, many sweaters with much precision (such as yourself, Wendy!), is less of an artist who maybe whipped up a cool pattern design in a day?

    I think we are ALL skilled craftspeople and artists… We all have the ability to know what looks good and what doesn’t on ourselves or the people we knit for. Come on, who hasn’t knitted a scarf that we loved because of our color choice or texture or the choice of stitch?

    We are all knitting divas in this world…. ;-)

  15. Oops, now that I am off the soapbox! Love the Booga bag and I love color 89! I have started 5 rows of my Booga bag in that color!

  16. Jenny (in Davis) says:

    ok, all this boogaj bag discussion meant I finally had to buy some kureyon and give it a go!

    Claire, I love the suggestion of a “kit” and will steal your artistic idea if it’s okay and do the same for my good friend Alex….

    wendy: what kind of soap did you use to felt your bag? (or thoughts by anyone else on this?) I’m new to felting…

  17. Was that a real, actual, ink-beneath-your-skin tatoo of SpongeBob you showed after the hurricane?
    Gorgeous Booga-bag!

  18. Dontcha just love the Booga Bag? I made one that my daughter ran off with before it was dry; plan on making more for holiday gifts.
    I vote for knitting art for designers, skilled craftsmanship for pattern followers like me.
    Regarding the sock contest, I tried emailing you; but I get an error message saying the default mail client is not properly installed; is that something I have done wrong and are other people getting through?

  19. Hi Wendy! The PiS sweater is _gorgeous_! The cap that she shows in the book… the one that inspired it … is from Flå in Hallingdal, which also has a bear and moose reserve that I’m definitely visiting come spring. Just a bit of trivia for your Friday morning. ;o)