Once upon a time, Art was overcome by a feeling of dissatisfaction and emptiness. He was longing for more - more recognition, more fame, more success. Art had been knitting socks since a couple of years and felt that he had to bring his knitting to a new level. He has perfected his craft, always upgraded to the newest knitting needles, only used archival wool, and even invested in noble argon atmosphere containers to preserve his socks in pristine condition for centuries. He stayed abreast of the newest developments in the sock knitting business and created a large following with his blog and by interacting with his many friends on me2, sockbook and SockR. Nevertheless, his sales stalled.
To promote his knitting, Art had started offering themed knitting workshops, took on book projects, and did commissioned sock knits here and there. However, with all these efforts, he had less and less time to develop his knitting vision, let alone to actually knit, and he felt just as one anonymous knitter in the big wide ocean of knitting enthusiasts (a feeling that became particularly strong after his ever rarer visits to the SockR website). He clearly had to find new ways to found his righteous claim for knitting greatness. After all, he had many thousand me2-friends and subscribers on his blog, while some of those silent wannabe sock knitters were not even on sockbook!
Art's socks were much more than socks - he thought. He clearly had a unique sock vision, incorporated profound feelings and emotions in the yarn, and embedded deep and universal meaning and insight into his sock compositions. His socks were not merely socks, they were works of art - thus, "art socks" was born! From that moment on, Art was not just a knitter anymore, he was a knitting artist (for brevity and crispness, "knitting" was soon sacrificed - he really was an artist now). The success was beyond anything Art could have imagined. Suddenly the true value of his socks was recognized, they sold like hot cakes, became sought after collector's items, and even found their way into museums and galleries.
The success of Art's art socks did not remain unnoticed for long. The community was amazed and admired Art for his ability to elevate sock knitting to a whole new level (albeit some missed the good old times and lamented the decline of traditional sock knitting values). Soon, art socks sprouted like mushrooms, because almost every sock knitter saw transcendental value in his very own socks. Art himself was now a celebrity and nurtured his cult status. He was busily jetting the world, endorsing a new model of knitting needles here, naming a new yarn color there, launching fine art sock series, and distributing personalized designer art socks to celebrities all over the world. The knitting was now mostly done by his assistants, but he still insisted on casting off the last stitch of all his original signature fine art socks - a task quickly completed on a stop-over and while on the move.
This is how the craft of sock knitting became an art and as long as there is a public there will always be art. However, the public acclaim may not correlate with the content or quality of a piece of work, but rather with the value an artist manages to attach to whatever she creates. For, it is not the craftsmanship that is the art. Art is the creation of something artificial - in many cases an artificial value. This is neither good nor bad, but please remember: All the fuss about art is just a distraction. After all it is only about knitting socks and it is perfectly fine to just knit socks!
A photograph (not a work of art) of Val di Comologno, Ticino, Switzerland.