Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Paracord Picasso

Paracord Picasso
Validating Cord-Crafting as a form of art

I’ve never described myself as an “artist.” I think there is a certain presumed aura surrounding the artistic type; an eccentric, and sometimes doleful, nature that I have a hard time elucidating in my own character. Can I draw? Sure, I can draw stick figures on the notebook at my desk. Can I paint? Indubitably. I painted a pretty formidable mustache on my face last Halloween. But, were these acts of quasi-art enough to validate me?! Probably not, however, I eventually found my niche when I completed my first paracord weave. My girlfriend, a summer camp counselor with some paracord experience, taught me how to make the “fishtail bracelet” and I was hooked. I started crafting on my own nearly every day after that. I was addicted to this hobby—rather, I was addicted to this art. Sheldon Cheney describes art as “the formal expression of a conceived image or imagined conception in terms of a given medium.” This blog post aims to convince any doubtful readers that crafting with paracord is, in fact, a form of art.

Part 1: "The formal expression..."

Image from Wikipedia

Cheney begins his definition of art by calling it a “formal expression.” What that means is that there is a tangible process to the creation of your art. This is very much evident in the crafting of paracord. Whether you are basing your bracelet design off of a tutorial, or experimenting on your own, you must follow a set of steps to achieve your final product. From the measuring of your rope length, to the progression of your weave, there are many requisite actions that must be undertaken before your beloved design is completed. Crafting paracord most definitely satisfies this portion of Cheney’s definition of art.

Part 2: "...a conceived image or imagined conception..."

Image from Makezine

Few paracord designs are derived by accident. Whether you are following the instructions of a previous crafter, or have an idea of the knots and weaves you plan to create, there is most likely a conceived image or imagined conception to your design. Paracord crafters are often visually-oriented individuals, and can benefit from looking at a picture or video tutorial. To create art, you must have an idea of what you are wishing to create: paracord crafters do. Without help from video tutorials, my art would have never come to completion. Once you learn a certain amount of pre-conceived designs, you start conceiving your own. This is where your art will really take off. 

Part 3: "...a given medium."

Image from FoodStorageSurvival

Cheney ended his definition of art by saying that a “medium” must be determined. The medium with which we create is paracord. We are able to take a small piece of rope and create beauty and art from it. The medium through which we work is our hands. Perhaps you use a jig or a fid to help you along the way, but have you ever finished a paracord design and just thought ‘wow, I made this?’ The medium in which we share our work is what really allows our art to take off. Whether we are sharing designs on social media, selling finished products to our friends, or donating crafts to charity, we are allowing our paracord talents to be seen. Art is meant to be shared. Through our various mediums, we share it. 

Crafting with paracord is art in its purest form. I’m very grateful for my newfound obsession, because without it I may have never realized my potential as an artist. For me, and maybe many of you, paracording is the stepping stone to a life filled with creative expression. I wonder if Picasso would have gotten his start from paracord, too?

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Written by: Jackson Yakowicz, P2 Intern

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For more of Jack's work, view his full blog.