From the age of four I wanted to be an artist. Later I grew to appreciate writing in its various forms, and was lucky enough to have a fulfillingly creative career in publishing. When the career became distinctly less creative I turned my attention more fully onto becoming more involved with personal expression. This was aided and perhaps even specifically directed by an inspirational magazine I found while living in the USA in the very early 80s: Fiberarts.
I did not turn to textiles immediately. Such is the power of the accepted view of what being an artist is that I worked first in acrylics on paper. But I subscribed to Fiberarts, just as I had subscribed to Crafts magazine for years previously. It was a combination of my previous experience with textiles as a child, the constant inspiration and broadening of my thinking by reading Fiberarts, and the encounter with a fascinating exhibition entitled Art of the Stitch by the UK Embroiderers’ Guild which finally tipped me over.
I found a voice of my own at the turn of the century, but the desire for incoming inspiration and information about the work of others, their expressions and their intentions has not diminished. I am sad that Fiberarts is now no more. I must admit that I have been expecting it ever since it was bought by a company which seemed primarily interested in enormous circulation; but I take no pleasure in being proved right. I am only glad that the Internet is there to supply serendipitous delights – but what is missing there is critical nourishment.
I had hoped some years ago that Telos books would grow into a list spanning from introductions to the artists in various countries using textile as their medium, through monographs on particular artists, to academic texts. The visuals were stunning. The design seductive, but the text was sadly lacking, and increasingly more so as the price increased. Even a book addict hooked on art textiles stopped buying some years ago now. So now Telos is also no more.
Does this mean that there is no market for thoughtful, thought-provoking critical analysis within and about art which uses textile forms and techniques? Have those of us who want to exchange thoughts more about intention than technique been swamped by the seemingly ever increasing thirst for the latter? Is it out there and I’ve just missed it somehow?