(Still recovering from the movie. Is going to require a visit with doctors, and may turn into quite an annoyance. Or nothing at all. Still, the movie rocked. If I got fucked up, at least I got fucked up watching an excellent movie.)
And so, inevitably, I come to "Art Yarn". I've been pondering this post for, oh, at least a year now, and still don't really know what to say. If you like, you can go read what I've said about art before, HERE. I've never quite gotten "art for art's sake" as a philosophy, applied to ANYTHING. In fact, I greatly prefer art that's useful, so I'm a huge fan of the decorative arts. Related, I'm never going to say a yarn or a textile or something made of fiber can't be art. Anything can be art if enough thought and effort and skill are applied to a project, and everything lines up just right, and the magic happens.
But that doesn't mean you can just call something art and I'm gonna believe it. (Please look at the Dada art movement if you want the foundation of my side of this argument. I get that they were trying to get people to look at things differently, and in that they succeeded, but Duchamp's "Fountain" is still a freaking urinal.)
The point of this blog post isn't to point and laugh. I'm using pictures of yarn (credited, of course) that is up for sale. I believe that when you put something up for sale, you offer it for critical examination, so for us to look at these yarns in such a way is fair. It's not like digging through someone's Ravelry page, finding their first spun yarn and sneering at it. And I'm not posting pictures of the really ridiculous stuff. You can hit Regretsy for that, or just search Etsy yourself.
So. Art yarn. Here's one I ran across last night that I thought legitimately fit the term:
HERE. The spinner herself calls it a "Themed" yarn and I really think that's a better term - She tried to capture a koi pond during feeding time, and did quite a good job of it.
Themed yarns. I like that term. It covers a lot of relevant ground without going all "I'M AN ARTISTE!"
Or another of my favorites, "Clouds":
Is it art? Or just really cool themed yarn? I sincerely can't decide. The same goes for textured handspun. Is it "Art Yarn" or just nice, textured yarn?
I do think a lot of sellers are doing themselves a disservice by using the term "Art Yarn" because many people have begun to roll their eyes at the term.
I have a theory, or an analogy, or something, about yarns like this:
It's like freeform jazz. You can observe it, and you can appreciate the skill involved, but it's really more about the act of creation itself. It's a celebration of taking fluff and turning it into something else.
Maybe the celebration of Making Stuff is the basis of all art.
What's prompted all this thought is a set of books.
"Intertwined" by Lexi Boeger/Pluckyfluff:
Spin Art is one of the best technical spinning books I've ever seen. It's up there with Judith MacKenzie and Abby Franquemont. Really. There is physics and science in there, and a great deal of tech and detail, all presented in a way that's a thousand times more accessible than The Aldon Amos Book of Spinning. Seriously. Jacey explains the potential problems of twist in thick-and-thin yarns with two diagrams and a couple sentences that make way more sense than Amos' full page on the subject. I've already improved my regular spinning just reading the book.
Conclusion? I still don't know if it's art. But some of it's pretty cool, and the textured yarn techniques are interesting.
At least it's not a urinal.