There is an unspoken divide between arts and crafts. "Art" with a capital "A" stands separate from the mundane. It has an esoteric divinity of sorts. Crafts, however, are a wee bit less than--utilitarian, pretty stuff created by children, women and outsiders. I would like to suggest that crafts are so much more than that. Crafts are the accessible art; the very lifeblood of creativity in our culture. Even better, needlepoint is an art form that transcends the individual and becomes a shared art.
I have been stitching since about the time I learned to walk. It has been a way to keep my hands busy as much as about making something beautiful. I stand in awe of those who stitch canvases with a multitude of textures and well thought out variations in stitches. I've always been a Continental Stitch kind of gal, who throws in a little umph with a French knot here and there.
Now that I have taken up design, however, I have begun to think about needlepoint in a whole new way. I try to imagine the stitcher who can take my initial vision and shape it into something that is wholly his or her own. I am not the artist, but rather, we are artists in collaboration.
So often in today's world we are led to believe that success is in the having. But with art, the true success is in the sharing, be it a painting in public view, a poem read aloud, or a needlepoint canvas that becomes part of the world around us: a church kneeler or a stocking given to a grandchild, or the pillow that supports your neighbor's back when you offer them a seat. Something about this shared effort and the subsequent releasing of ownership gives our joint creation so much more meaning. Now that is what I call art.