I’m Not an Artist. I Just Follow Directions Well

People who know me well know that I am an avid knitter and that I love the textile or fiber arts. I am not as much of a designer as I am someone who follows directions well. I was thinking about what it means to be an artist. I have never considered myself one, although I’m warming up to the idea of being a textile artist.

Students that I’ve worked with over the years also hesitate to call themselves artists or artistic. Many shy away from that title even when the rest of us see what they produce and proclaim artistry! Yesterday I was in an elementary school and met this incredible second grader who was drawing important events from a story they were reading in class. It was masterful! I bent down beside him as he worked and couldn’t help but comment on his artistry.

“I’m not an artist,” he said flatly. “My mom is though. She taught me how to draw.” I told him to never stop drawing – ever.

This child in my opinion is an artist. Does he have to be full grown to be considered as one? How do we define “artistic”? For that matter, how do we define “creativity”? I can tell you that they are not one and the same.

Here’s what the dictionary has to say about “artist.”

art·ist
ˈärdəst/
noun
It’s interesting to note that this definition does not say you have to be good at what you produce. This makes me feel better, although I believe I am good at different fiber arts, including knitting, but that has come after many, many years of practice and continually learning new techniques.
As I work with children I often engage them with some sort of creative or artistic manner. I strongly believe in the power of multi-sensory education and am always on the hunt for ways to use textiles in teaching. I also have been blessed to meet others who I truly believe are artists in their own rights and will showcase them here. Their stories, their connections, can help us see the world and make meaning with what we see through their art. Meet some of these incredible artists in Yarn Stories.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Maya Angelou
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