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Re: Book Art vs. Book Arts

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Just a thought or two to add to the discussion.

I've made a few books, although I wouldn't claim that any of them was an
artists book. I also teach a (history/theory, not studio) subject called
'Art and Books' to undergraduate students.

As someone who started out working in textiles (fiber to you North American
folk) and is currently indertaking some research on the relationship between
certain textile practices and "Art", I am very interested in the issues of
exclusion v. inclusiveness, the relationship between amateur and
professional practice, the relationship between art and craft and so on.

I've recently read Howard Becker's book 'Art Worlds' and found some of his
comments very illuminating. One of the points he makes is that a healthy
'art world' requires all levels of practice. Those people who make 'pretty
books' are necessary - they provide critical mass to ensure the continued
availability of supplies, they are the clients of those who need to teach to
supplement their income for sale of work (as several people have indicated),
and as their consciousness is raised they become part of the market for your

So, it seems to me that there a fine line to be trod. Yes, you want people
to discriminate between high quality work (whether you wish to describe it
as fine craftsmanship or art) and the rest, but you don't want to entirely
alienate those people whose support (direct or indirect) helps to sustain
your practice.

Sue Wood
Lecturer in Art History
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Charles Sturt University
Wagga Wagga  NSW
Telephone: 02 69 332 646

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