Saturday, October 30, 2010

wonder

It is a given fact that there are two purposes for textiles. Either they protect and nurture or they demonstrate social status and cultural belonging. These purposes continue, regardless of the time or the culture.

But art textiles do a third thing. They enable Descartes’ first passion, wonder.

We are surprised by wonder. Wonder is beyond intellect, an aesthetic experience that takes us to the brink of our senses. It is when wonder happens that we experience the existential condition of immensity within ourselves. Nature can give us this feeling. Art can give us this emotion.

Art made with textile materials or technique has texture, rich material, repetitive gesture and many nearly identical marks. Even the simplest and pared down minimalist examples of textile art have those things. When the art is pared down, the touch of the hand and even the movement of the maker’s body are embedded in the work. The intensive labour, the many considerations and small adjustments, and all the time it took to make is embedded in the work. When these things are combined with the aesthetic of simplicity, the result is a space for contemplation. It's similar to what we feel when we are in nature. These images are from the 'motherly advice' book I gave April last Christmas juxtaposed with my essay writing.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

would you exclude the use aspect of textiles, the uses not included in protection? like securing/ connecting or carrying, or gathering.

jude said...

sorry that was me, jude

La Dolce Vita said...

your book is just beautiful.... and what I love about textiles is that I desire to TOUCH THEM, is that protection, or nurturing?
I don't always want to touch a painting, but I want to touch and feel and sense any piece of cloth, stitching and it gives me a direct feeling associated with the piece. perhaps it is wonder that I feel...

Velma said...

not sure that textiles can be pared down so. (re: jude's question) maybe they can. maybe all the craze for embellishment, weird synthetic applications, making an interesting texture but not a rich textile is a turn about search for a simple aesthetic. or maybe i'm up too late!

Judy Martin said...

All of these comments are making me think more. It's good.

Perhaps you are right - not so easy to pare down the purpose of textiles so drastically.

The purpose of textiles is not the point of my essay really - shall remove the sentence.

Thanks for your help.

nandas said...

the point here for me is the clear distillation of wonder. comparing it to what we feel in nature. though wonder is still present i think in some experiences in nature. when you see a beaver weave a dam, or when you see a glacier lake that is bluer than blue. i have a sense of wonder about it. and how bird know it is time to fly south or the monarchs? a feeling that art often brings me as well, especially textiles. thank you for a wonder full post.

Jeana Marie said...

Loving the juxtaposition of thinking and feeling. Also love that you share some of your essay here. Thank you.

Penny Berens said...

Thank you Judy.

ArtPropelled said...

The paragraph about art pared down, the touch of the hand etc, is already written up in my Book of Quotations. It applies to all art, this imprint of oneself in the art we create. Art and nature certainly create in me a similar feeling of wonder.

Hazel Terry said...

So wild to see your book today! But also very inspiring. Thanks

Velma said...

i've been thinking about this: so if my mother had made a book of advice for me, just saying, i wouldn't have to try so hard to remember just what she said. this is a gift, a large gift.