Tiny Tapestries hand woven by Pamela Palma Designs embellished with feathers and vintage silver beads
The art fairs have packed up. The dealers, collectors, celebs, are gone. So much talk about investment collecting, vanity collecting of work by a “name.” Who can be an art collector? Anyone.
What is the point of art? If the point of art is to make the viewer happy, to appeal to the viewer in some visceral way, we should collect art we like. I make art because it makes my heart sing to create something out of nothing. It is magical to sit at my loom and see cloth develop from a ball of yarn. Amazing, right? Oh and it feels sooooo good. Textiles are tactile! Love them! I love them so much I buy other people’s textiles, all kinds, as if I don’t have enough of my own! I especially like vintage laces because I know they were made by hand by a woman who loved making them. I can see it in their swirly patterns. I can feel it in their textures. Her energy, her fondness for her medium is in her fabric. So I collect them in a utilitarian manner. I cannot discern their age, stitches, pattern, provenance, or maker but none of that matters to me. I have amassed quite a pile of of vintage laces which I use and display because they are so lovely and I don’t make crocheted lace (yet).
But I also collect other forms of art. Paintings, prints, etchings, drawings, watercolors, smallish works that I can tuck into my carry on when I travel. Such lovely memories are stored in each. Memories of my visit, memories of the artist. That is what makes each piece valuable to me. My first original artwork purchase was a gouache by a Native American. I purchased it at the American Indian Museum in New Mexico, a big splurge at the time, all those years ago. It is called “Spirit Horse.” The artist captured a feeling that sparked something in me. The horse’s mane is electrified, dynamic, charged! It is magnificent. It has added value to my life to be able to look upon it, knowing it is…something special created by a person, for a purpose.
I have always valued things made by hand. I learned many of my skills from a family of women who were makers in cloth. Good intentions go into the making of things with our hands. Having them around me enhances my environment, makes me happy. My collections don’t have to match the sofa. Yet they all seem to be in harmony with everything else I love.