A lovely and creative knitter recently said that she didn't really consider herself an artist because knitting, well, is more like paint by numbers. That comment has been with me for days and days as I've turned it over in my mind. Is knitting artistic? Does it count if we didn't design the thing ourselves? Part of me says, well, no, not really, but the larger part of me says, heck yeah, knitting is both artistic and creative. Van Gough didn't invent sunflowers nor did Gauguin discover Tahiti. They captured the beauty nature created and rendered it in paint. Photographers too. They're not reproducing the subject in a different medium - they're capturing the essence of a thing through their unique lens. Just as photographers use a angle, focal length and lighting to create a particular image and evoke a certain response, so knitters use color, texture, gauge, and spirit to render a design their own.
This morning as I was still mulling over my message, I ran across an article by Monica Kim for Vogue Magazine which absolutely hit the nail on the head for me. Born in South Korea and now a regular contributor to Vogue Magazine, Kim talks about the culture of fake designer bags, shirts, and more created in Korea. She talks about the concept of the quality fakes carefully handcrafted in a place where access to luxurious designer products is completely out of the realm of possibility. I encourage you to read the article, because it is brilliant and well-written, but what is most relevant to my point is this, Kim writes:
One of my favorite films is Certified Copy by the brilliant Abbas Kiarostami, which I think about often. It explores the idea that in art, authenticity is completely irrelevant—every copy is its own original, still made by an artist. In one pivotal scene, Juliette Binoche visits a gallery where an old master’s work, revered for years, had been revealed to be a student copy. Yet, the script posits, did that erase the value people had given it over the years, diminish the beauty of it? Who determines an object’s worth? What is “real,” and why does it matter?
So it is with our knitting. Every "copy" you make, is uniquely yours. It is your original, and a little piece of you goes into every stitch and carries with it your choices, your skill, and your particular vision for that piece. Be proud of your work and know that it, and you, are special.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table creating your own original art. You are always welcome here. ~Ellen