To the Editor:
I would first like to say how happy I am that The Wandererso enjoyed my talk at the Mattapoisett Museum. It’s always such a treat to be given a platform to talk about what I love. I would, however, like to clarify a point that I think I, perhaps, did not effectively convey while I was presenting. Namely, the idea of the arts being an “all boys club”. My discussion of male designers was separate from that of the gendered discourse around what is art and what is craft. What I said, rather than comparing male fashion designers to female embroiderers, was an attempt to draw a parallel between what is craft and what is art. What I said could be better summed up with the following: I could spend four months embroidering a piece, and I would have to understand color and form and technique and design in the same way a painter would, yet the process is still classified as a “craft”. This is interestingly juxtaposed against a man who could balance five chrome cubes atop one another and his sculpture would end up in a modern art museum. Certainly a woman could create a chrome sculpture and a man could embroider, however the take away is the “why?” that surrounds the idea that embroidery is only elevated to “craft” status, whereas sculpture is elevated to an “art”. Historically, the reason is behind who was doing the embroidery, and sewing, and weaving, as opposed to who was doing the painting and sculpture. It is not a matter of art being an “unfair… all-boys club”, but rather a matter of what we value culturally and why it has historically and contemporaneously been a problem.
Abigail Field, Mattapoisett