How do you think the work of the textile artist differs from that of the designer, the designer-maker of the craftsperson? Is there any crossover in terms of approach or the way in which each uses ideas or textile processes?
When I first started thinking about the answer to this question, I asked myself whether there is any difference between a textile artist, designer, designer-maker and craftsperson. The truth is, that I was not entirely sure about the difference. So I started by looking it up in my Collins English Dictionary. Unfortunately, my dictionary did not know the meaning of the word ‘textile artist’, so I had to Google it. According the Wikipedia a textile arts are those arts and crafts that use plant, animal of synthetic fibres to construct practical or decorative objects. Which makes sense. According to my dictionary a designer is ‘ a person who devises and executes designs, as for works of art, clothes, machines’. I found this be a little confusing, because if a designer also executes designs, what would be the difference between a designer and a designer-maker? I decided to put my dictionary aside and start looking for different sources of information. I then came across an interesting article on the website of The Guardian written by Justin McGuirk called ‘The art of craft: the rise of the designer-maker’. In his article, Justin McGuirk states that the designer creates the templates, which the craftsmen replicate. The designer-maker does both. So far this all makes sense. I think a textile artist can be all of the above. Most textile artists prefer to design their own fabric, for example by dyeing it or using image transfers. The design of the artwork can be inspired by for instance a painting or a poem but it can also be an original design created by the textile artist. Looking at the definitions used by Justin McGuirk, I think that a textile artist is always a craftsperson, but does not necessarily have to be a designer or a designer-maker. But the term ‘craftsperson’ does make me feel a little uncomfortable. A craftsperson used to be highly regarded for his of her skills. Nowadays the word craft almost implies that that person just follows set directions and disregards the years of experience needed to build up the necessary skills and knowledge about the materials you are using. I therefore like to think that everyone starts out as a craftsperson, because you first need the skills to create something. Once you have acquired these skills, you can start designing your own work. For instance designing your own fabric and your own templates to create your artwork.