Precious Kitty!

It’s something you sometimes hear in art circles —  “Don’t get too precious” “Don’t be precious about it!” “Keep your work fresh, not precious.” Precious connotes perfectionism – sometimes overworking, sometimes underworking a piece in order to get it “just so.” For some reason, this is considered bad. (I’m a perfectionist…) But who am I to talk? When a friend complained about a town being too “twee,” I said, but I LOVE that town! (I also never told her that I was planning ot move there… and in fact, I didn’t – I fell in love and moved 2500 miles away instead!) maybe “precious” is in my blood.

You don’t hear the word precious thrown around in American needlework circles very often – sometimes I’ll hear it in the more avant-garde UK textile forums.  I have, however, have had acquaintances tell me that American stitchers tend to replace creativity in design with perfect craftsmanship. Indeed, needlework kits feel the need to underscore “the back should look as good as the front.” And there is a fear here that someone will turn over your work and analyze the back… (I do, but not for neatness… I want to know HOW they did what they did!!)

Note on the photo – I’ve never met a cat named Precious that wasn’t psychotic and scary. 🙂 Dora is NOT named precious, but she has the nickname of The Cuteness… does that count?

I’m not sure where I’m going with this ramble. So let me ask y’all a question – are spontaneity and craftsmanship deadly enemies? Can we have spontaneous, fresh design and still keep quality of stitching? Can stitching be taken into the “real art” world without sacrificing this?

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3 Responses to Precious?

  1. I don’t think spontaneity and craftsmanship are incompatible. The problem arises when the craftsmanship is mechanical or lacks any real feeling. It’s still beautifully-crafted, but no longer expressive.

  2. I definately think you can be too precious. It can be debilitaing when you are too scared to do something incase it goes wrong/ruins a piece of work. If you don’t try new things and push yourself you loose the ability to be creative…and if you have skill, it doesn’t mean you can’t try new things competently!

  3. Oh…and the only reason the back should look good (it doesn’t need to be as good as the front, unless it is both-sides-alike technique) is so you don’t get any suprises… know that the ends are finished off and the embroidery will lie flat because there isn’t a pile of knots underneath!

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