jude hill spirit cloth

Not the Last Sunflower

The thing is, hopelessness is useless.  And actually it is just a point of view.

And you can change it.

Not the last Sunflower

Over the years, I have grappled with the word Art.  The concept of Art.  The use of Art.  I have often been frustrated with the romantic approach to Art.  It's exclusivity  in terms of community.   Although many might disagree.

But now I can explain, I think, how I feel.

Art is not the contest that reaps the title artist, the attention, reward and fame and inclusion, so often the goal of the artist, and even the so called not artist.  No, I sense that the role of the artist (which I will separate from the skilled craftsperson here)  is to give rise (form) to another point of view.  Not to gather approval or agreement  or an army of supporters,  but simply to make the point of view apparent.  As to bring light to the fact that there are many points of view.  For to understand point of view, without judgement will save us from hopelessness. Art, then, is a form of kindness.

I guess without realizing, I began, with A already,

A is for Art  and I just updated the Glossary accordingly.



  1. Pingback: Art – Airy Nothing

  2. Ingrid Johnson

    For me, labels create an expectation that one then has to live up to, be that artist, craftsperson, wife, mother or friend amongst others. Very interesting discussion and food for thought.

  3. Sarita

    Indeed an engaging conversation!
    “Art is a kindness”, love is kind!
    Absolutely agree that the true artists uses their gifts to create as a translation of an undefinable message in a universal language to be interpreted by the viewer. The act of creating is unique & free to each individual, it doesn’t have to be a commodity. Kindness is not a commodity, love is not a commodity.
    💝 Peace

  4. Jan Stevenson

    Catching up a bit late in the day. I tend to think of Art as in living. . .the art of living. and when I think about your work Jude, the length of time you have been illustrating and explaining your process — as well as sharing bits of your life with us — the whole stands as an integrated body of work. . .your dear old self. maybe that helps some.

  5. sharon

    like nancy, some children’s art strikes a deep chord for me. it feels true. it’s not trying to be “good” or to gain admiration. it’s simply an honest expression of the heart. ie. spirit cloth. “hopelessness is just a point of view and we can change it” belongs on a t-shirt. thank u, jude.

  6. Gayle Visher

    Your words and wisdom rings true. I find your thoughts refreshing, uncluttered and seemingly shared with the intent to know one’s self. It nudges me along my own journey. Thank you!

  7. Joan Hinchcliff

    These last few years my making has kept me sane and most of the time hopeful. When I was younger I got caught up in the Art versus craft; I finally realized, for me also, it doesn’t matter. Right now the Art to me is that the making is keeping me sane and hopeful…some days hard to do!
    Thank you for sparking such an engaging conversation.

  8. deemallon

    “For to understand point of view, without judgement will save us from hopelessness. Art, then, is a form of kindness.” Going on the fridge. Brilliant. Freeing.

  9. Joanne in Maine

    I like (love) making. I never transferred it to selling. Which is possibly why I still love making. No transference.

  10. Jana

    “For to understand point of view, without judgement will save us from hopelessness.” The world could be remade with this.

    I love this beast’s mane, spiral chest, moon dust, tail at attention … all in the glow of pinks.

  11. Appreciated this very much. First thought- art is an expression of self and story. When it touches and connects with someone else’s, that’s where the “success” and beauty is. So much more to ponder… Again, thank you for how you inspire such good thinks.

  12. Marti

    This conversation had echoes from long ago so I went searching and found this from Sept. 22, 2010 on Spirit Cloth:


    At the time, I was new to cloth and to the cloth community but I wrote these words: They still hold for me: “This conversation is a wonder to me since I am not someone who has an intimate knowledge or skill set with needle and thread but I have been deeply moved by the exchanges posted here. This past year, I have been introduced to this world of cloth through dear friends, grace and Nance. As a result, I have been reading many cloth blogs and looking at many, many works of cloth.

    The cloth I see has a sense that moves it beyond a static object. It feels alive and I am not even touching it, I am only sensing what comes over my computer monitor. How much of that is due to the words that accompany the photos and how much is due to a jolt or feeling that I get, I can’ really say. What I do know is that when cloth resonates with me, it does so because I sense a personal vision unfolding from the cloth maker, not a commercial vision, but a need to tell coming from deep within a special and I will come right out and say, at times, a sacred space. Certainly I have seen etsy shops in some of the blogs and some do make things specifically to sell and that is fine. But what I sense so strongly from the cloth work that creeps into my marrow, is this personal quest,this translation of an inner voice via needle and thread.

    Cloth is alive, it can tell a story, but most of all it lives in the hands of the person who works with it. When does it cross over into “fiber art” and does that label matter? Cloth speaks, it connects and it does so, to someone like myself, on the periphery of all of this, by amazing, by causing questions to be raised, by reaching in deeply, by being beautiful in its own right, by being powerful, by being gentle, by being revered if it is especially old cloth. It is no different than when I look at a painting, a sculpture, a basket from long ago, a piece of pottery. If looking at spirit/story and/quilt cloth gives me all of this, there is no need for anything more and no need to define it further. That’s all I wanted to say.”

    • jude

      translation is an important take away here, hence my motivation to be more specific about my use of language.
      I love that you dug so far back.

  13. Nancy E

    Thank you thank you thank you. Your thoughts around this help me to more clearly see what I want my role as a maker to be. I’ve also followed for years, but not commented. This one demanded a YES, thank you!! We all struggle as best we can; being able to share the ups and downs, joys and discouragements, as you do, is a wonderful gift.

  14. Deb VZ

    And this is why I love coming here….thoughtful thinking and inspiring work….thank you Jude!

    PS….my summer house pieces arrived yesterday and the ideas are percolating…the fabric is even lovelier than I’d imagined. Thank you!

  15. Bendy

    I have followed you for years. You!! Yes you are truly a real artist. Everything I have seen you do, paper or cloth, especially cloth, is brilliant. I can’t wait everyday to see what you have done next. Keep doing what you’re doing. It makes so many people happy. I’m no where near the only one. 😃

  16. I read with interest and think about certain children I have known…ones I have considered true artists, as something comes out of them, which then grabs and holds the imagination of others (me!), their medium, was often easel painting with tempera and added cloth, yarn, etc bits. I can still picture how two of them stood at the easel working. I don’t know if they were expressing their viewpoint or truly what their motive was, but I saw it as exploration in the moment.
    This beast…I love her. Something about her mane, her spiral center…she is a charmer and a wonderful August Beast 🙂

  17. Lynne Watson

    The skilled craftsman is an artist, and the artist is a skilled craftsman. The separation surgery that a lot of people perform on Art/Craft is appalling and unnecessary. They come from the same well within us, and only cultural norms deemed it outlaw. It’s just another set of rules that creates an outcome different or similar to other facets of your life. You can’t have one without the other. Why would you want to???

    • jude

      Only separating them here because of the point I am tryingto make. Focused on the thought and point of view. Still your emotional reponse signals how important the word artist might be to you. And so many others. For me not really, call me anything you want. Art, craft equally valuable in my point of view, they cross over, yes, in many ways, but they also are different in many ways. And then, skill. Another realm of consideration. As always, just my point of view about one small aspect of being an artist.

  18. Sharan

    A huge OHHH YES! to your wisdom …“ For to understand point of view, without judgement will save us from hopelessness. Art, then, is a form of kindness.” Understanding “Point of view” WILL save us, and art can and does play a role in that. Putting needle to thread and fabric to connect, repair, bind, embellish is one of the ways arts/ craft persons flesh out a point of view and serves as a
    metaphor for larger issues … and yes such a kindness in the making and the viewing …

  19. Suzanna

    Yes. Each point of view is so important to the whole picture and thus something might turn out to be quite different from how it first appeared, as the picture itself evolves as it is studied and commented upon.

  20. Glennis

    this may be the kindest definition of Art I’ve seen so far.
    I’ve grappled with this over time myself- especially the romanticized and exclusive characterizations of Art /artists. Making something exclusive, excludes.
    I see something there from a long time ago…
    kindness and inclusion is hopeful.

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