When art comes to mind, most people either think of high-brow museum couture or public school classrooms. Some folks think art has to have a deep message to be art, and others don't consider it "professional" art unless there's a high-priced art degree behind it. We forget that art, can be as simple as the intention a carpenter puts into the design of a table or in the thread color used in a towel's stitches. Art, or the physical manifestation of intention, is found in all the little parts of our lives. The world we choose to build around ourselves deeply influences the fulfillment we feel in life, and the art of intention has everything to do with that.
Despite centuries of history & cultural made through home crafts, often the artisan skillset needed to create in these mediums is overlooked. As patriarchal societies developed, art forms like needlepoint, clothes making, knitting, weaving, and quilting began to be treated as docile, domestic feminine hobbies....and aside from the abstract or highbrow, fiber arts have long been excluded from Western Art history. As an American man in 2020, I can tell you most of our patrons are surprised to hear that my hands are the ones behind the sewing machine. It's me drafting all are product patterns, and I've been engaged in these art forms for more than 15 years.
The skills I've learned over the years, and the motivation behind my craft, were all fostered by female Artisans across my family and community. What I learned from my teachers was that hours spent sewing stitches with precision gives way to moments of meditation, reflection, and introspection. In those moments, what I learned is that most textile artists have a lot to say....and while they may not say it out loud, they certainly can and will articulate themselves within their craft.
With a long history involved in political activism, beautiful, dynamic needlepoint & quilt art can be found across the globe. Remember those pink pussy hats that began popping up in 2016? We wouldn't have seen them without knitters. Activism through fiber art goes further back then 2016, with demands for voters rights stitched into banners and blankets and then sent to politicians during the 20th Century. In 1830s, free women living in the Northern United States would quilt inscriptions about the violence of slavery into their fabric. It was Anti-Slavery Societies formed by quilting groups of freed black women and white women that funded movements like building schools for children in 1834. Stitching and selling artisan home goods was how these groups would raise money to fund abolitionist work around them.
Today, we have coalitions of fiber artists fighting for Black Liberation like The Yarn Mission, and artists reflecting on personal journeys of sexuality and gender like Hanecdote. Collectively, the visibility of activist crafters has brought modern attention to the artwork we produce. It's been such a joy watching my own craftsmanship evolve while engaging with all the different art styles & missions of my peers. Through the work we produce here at The Halfway Point, we strive to provide the same energy, intention, and quality in our fiber art. With our business Mission built around environmental stewardship and creating systematic change for our Peoples, it's been soul healing to be able to provide for our Community in more ways than one.
Without art we wouldn't have home crafts. Through home crafting, we've learned that quality is all about the intention of your details....and we love being able to share all this art with you 💜✨