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Postcard 3/22

Florian's picture

This postcard is a photo of an art piece at the Center for Creative Works. I see it every day as I go down the stairs into the main studio space, and it always makes me think. It is a lucky find that gives me more questions than answers.

Questions like,

What does it mean that I find this piece "inspiring"? I've used that word to refer to it before, but I know that in many contexts it is patronizing to talk about "inspirational" disabled people. However, I myself do fiber art and find the work of many artists of all different experiences to be "inspirational". Does knowing the story of the artist who made this piece make the appropriateness of finding it "inspiring" any different?

The artist who created this piece is multiply disabled, and was taught to create fiber art pieces such as this one when the staff were trying to find "constructive" ways to deal with her "obsessive" chain-crocheting. Is she happier now making more artistically/aesthetically "acceptable" pieces, or was she happier when she was "obsessively" crocheting long strings of yarn without anyone else's interference?

The Center for Creative Works gets a percentage of every sale an artist makes, and this artist has had several shows. Was pushing her away from the "obsessive" creations that could not be commerical successes for the Center and towards more "acceptable" art primarily done for the Center's monetary gain, or to alleviate a truly obsessive behavior that was somehow causing distress to the artist herself?

Are obsessions necessarily distressing or destructive things, or can they be positive? Was the crocheting of long lengths of chain stitch truly a psychological obsession?

With all this in mind, is this piece of art and the work of the Center truly "empowering" to the artist? Does that change depending on the answers to some of the previous questions?


alesnick's picture

I appreciate these critical questions and wonder how you might pursue them.  I also wonder how stories/myths about people get constructed, and by whom.  I wonder about the line you point out between independence and sociality.  Do people sometimes need to give up one for the other?