Environmental Pressure translated to Art?

We are almost at the end of our downtime. YIPPEE!!!

Soon we will be able to hit the road again, and boy do we have a few great adventures planned for the next year. I’ve put together a little kit that will allow me to continue to work on my beadwork while we are traveling. Over the summer I’ve learned several new patterns and produced a series of necklaces and matching bangles that I’ve almost talked myself into keeping instead of selling.

I also started a huge project.

I came up with an idea to fill a blank space above my occasional table with a wildlife themed series of beaded canvases.

Now I’ve never beaded a canvas before and I really had no idea how much work it would turn out to be. So far I’ve put thirty-three hours into this piece and there will be a total of four canvases before the project is complete. The beads are stitched onto the canvas – not glued. If I had to sell these they would be priced out of the average person’s budget for sure.

I have to admit that I love the intricacy and painfully slow speed of the process. I’ve dabbled in several arts and crafts over the course of my lifetime and I’ve discovered that some things that are considered crafts should be considered art and some things that are considered arts are kind of just crafts.

My husband and I had a discussion regarding this just this past week. He asked me to define my concept of art. Wow! That was a hard question to answer.

A quick internet search defines art as

the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · Cortana · Bing Translator

Emotion is a hard thing to translate. It’s personal. Take this piece I’m working on now. My original concept was to mimic the form of a grizzly, yet as I continued to work a black bear began to grow organically from the corners. Was this the influence of my internal thoughts?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the cause and effect of action/inaction. How normally passive/agreeable people can be influenced by a counter type personality when pushed to hard and for too long. I began to think about the contrast of this juxtaposition and how this was much like the difference between a grizzly and a black bear: The one being highly territorial and often aggressive, the other usually being shy and giving way. But even a black bear will defend her cubs. They have also been known (rarely, yet occasionally enough to become a statistic) to attack when injured, sick, or deprived of resources. In essence the pressure of the surrounding environment can and will alter a passive personality.

I’ve seen this metamorphosis of power and internal conflict within my close circle. What will become of our world if every moment of every life eventually becomes a dog-eat-dog episode of survival?

It’s my opinion that when we become so hyper-focused on our own personal desires or goals that we justify lying to and manipulating others to get what want that we eventually lose a small part of our humanity. Where does that leave us as a society? What happens when every bear in the forest becomes a grizzly?

So just as my thoughts have probably began to influence my canvas, the actions of those around us have also began to influence the kind of world we will become. I fear the future we may create.

And so is the definition of art met? Does this powerful subconscious emotion behind my work translate even though the product is not a masterful oil painting or bronze statue? Most would say no.

As for what is considered an object of beauty, well that is (as always) also subjective. I look at any beadwork, be it mine or someone else’s, and see the beauty in the beads themselves, the beauty in the dedicated hands that work to turn them into something functional, and especially something non-functional like a piece of art. However, most would say this is just another handcrafted piece, not having the connections, or backstory, or glamor of someone famous like Jonathan Adler. So be it, that won’t stop me from doing what I love and maybe one day I too will build a following, because in my heart it’s not always about gaining something material – I do care about what happens to our planet, to all people, and to the black bear.

You can read some of my poems on these subjects HERE.

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