When I first started working in a medium I use a lot, polymer clay, there was a lot of discussion about how to get it to be "respected" as a medium. There were certain circles who would dismiss artwork made with it, because it was "that kids stuff" or "that Play Doh stuff." (Watercolor paints are often used by kids, and that doesn't seem to diminish them as an art material, and of course, there's a whole other discussion about not respecting kids as artists with things to express in their own right, but I digress.) There were artists who would come up with the most convoluted ways to describe the material, just to avoid calling it what it was. (To be fair, there were artists who had been told their work wouldn't be accepted by galleries if it was "polymer clay.")
It often seemed a bit silly to me. What you make the art FROM is not nearly as important as what you MAKE. Now, there may be concerns about durability and quality and whatnot, but people have a tendency to make stuff out of anything and everything they can get their hands on. And that's an awesome part of the creative experience! I came to creating art via crafting and craft materials, so while there were discussions about how to get this medium RESPECT as an ART FORM (which it absolutely deserves, people make amazing things with polymer clay!) I was busy...making myself laugh by making pendants and adding googly eyes to them.
So...here is my challenge to you:
Play with your materials.
Are you a Serious Visual Artist who works in Serious Art Materials?
Go grab some pipe cleaners and googly eyes and play. I GIVE YOU PERMISSION*! I often tell people that after spending every single second I could at the Play-Doh** table in Kindergarten, I just grew up and found the adult version of doing that! (**Yes, even while people were dismissing polymer clay as being like Play-Doh. I can be a little contrary at times.)
Are you a Crafty Person who is just a little bit intimidated by those Fancy Art Materials?
I find that looking for the "student grade" materials are usually a good place to start just experimenting and expanding what you work with a bit. Art is for everybody, you are allowed to experiment without passing through some gatekeeping requirement. I GIVE YOU PERMISSION*!
*Do you need my permission? Of course not, absolutely not! But sometimes, especially if you grew up as the kind of gold-star grubbin', goody two-shoes, people-pleaser kid that I was? It helps to hear it. Even from a stranger on the internet.
Julie's TIp JAr
Buy your crafter a cup of coffee! ;)