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Sewing as Art


"I don’t think there’s anything that communicates better than art—it is quicker than language and clearer than philosophy." — Frederick R. Weisman

Dictionary general explanations of art identify this word as a noun, specifically evoking who or what, giving us the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

The predominately functional or utilitarian process of sewing is grammatically classified as a verb, an action or doing word, in this case meaning to join or attach by stitches, to make repair, etc., by such means to enclose or secure with stitches.

As we take the verb to sew and connect it to the noun art we assemble an elemental insight that evokes much meaning.

Throughout human time women have usually been the everyday sewers who clothe themselves, their families, and their abodes - in the process producing works of great beauty and functionality, embedding their cultural traditions into fiber and cloth - often with superb craftsmanship. The discovery of precious textiles from times past, and the cataloging, maintaining, displaying these gems of human endeavor, enrich and educate us today.

There are costume and textile museum collections available online that allow us to visually experience the global smorgasbord of countries that have found the history and beauty of textiles and their resultant clothing and artifacts to be worthy of preservation and to be proudly displayed. It is a testament to the value of the sewer’s art. With every stitch, whether by hand or machine, the sewer infuses a bit of culture and tradition into the cloth.

Take some time if you can and examine those textile museums and textile collections that may be near to you. It is easy to see, by examining these jewels from the past, how fiber and threads, and a sewer’s stitches, can truly be counted as art for the ages.

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, located on Seventh Avenue at 27 Street in New York City has assembled a list of Costume & Textile Collections Online that is definitely worth the time to peruse when seeking that spark of uniqueness and creativity that sewing and art suggests.

Sew happy, sew inspired.


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Content copyright © 2015 by Cheryl Ellex. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.

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