Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is it art or craft?

This weeks Trans-Canada Carnival question is "Is it art of craft?"

The short answer: Arting and Crafting are both skills developed with practice over time. If what is made is loved any piece should be seen as both. Art is not only frivolous, and craft is not only practical.

The long version: When I was teenager in high-school I wanted to grow up to be an artist but I also wanted to make money. Ultimately I decide the two were not mutually compatible and left for college and a career in Advertising Art /Graphic Design.

I have to admit that despite a (very expensive) education in Graphic Design, I've discovered I'm not competitive enough to make a satisfying life for myself in advertising, and I still have a secret ambition to be an artist - someday.
my take along sketch set

But what is it that makes an artist? In the last few years, as my family has grown much of the *stuff* I have created are things that are traditionally considered "craft". Although being a craftperson is satisfying part of me harbours the feeling that really *anyone* could do this stuff. Knitting, crochet, sewing are all skills, all it really takes is practice and perseverance to make beautiful things. If you keep making, chances are what you make will turn out to be beautiful, despite yourself, eventually.
Octopus Patch

Now that I'm not making babies I've been inspired to create *art* again, and this process has caused my view of art and craft to evolve. When I stitch a patch, or sew an article of clothing, build a something useful out of re-purposed junk, or knit a toy that is beautiful - how is that not art. Baby Hey's Fisherman's jacket receives more comments than any other pieces I've assembled in the last year, the choice of fabric and yarn, the combination of colours, that is art, the construction, is craft.
crochet finish yellow jacket

My paintings, and mixed media pieces are more traditional arts pieces but assembling them is also skill. When people watch me draw, and tell me I have *talent* I tell them they could do it too, it's just a matter of drawing what you see, and practicing. 90% of what I draw is crap, but I draw every day. Ultimately what I have discovered over the last few years is that the process of making art and of making crafts is really the same. The same creative part of the brain is sparked, and the same sense of satisfaction is felt when a project is finished.
hobby horse: 1

I feel a real sense of joy and pride in knowing that my family and I are surrounded by beautiful things, that my daughters wear, and are able play with bits of art. Ultimately the question of whether a piece is art of craft, for me at least, is redundant. If I love it, and it is used, or displayed in my home, it can, and should, be seen as both.
 whiffin spit: mermaid: 1


4 comments:

artgirlATL said...

Love your blog!

fluffywelshsheep said...

Art or Craft is a major question especialy here in the UK when ever i have done pyrography (drawing burn marks in to wood or paper) I am alway consiter is it a craft or an art.
Keep up the good work :)

Artyfax said...

Hi, found your blog via blogrush

This question is one that has recently bothered me as I am basically a painter (artist) and I have been doing lots of collaged ATC's (crafting?)at the expense of my painting. I feel that I am letting my art down But what the hell I am enjoying it.

BTW Great blog, I have bookmarked to visit again) - john

Artyfax said...

Hi again, just reread the main post and really feel that you have answered, or helped me to answer, this question for my myself. Basically it comes down to "is it original?". that should be the question that matters

I have just included a short post on my own blog discussing this as is it something that I have often referred to in the past.

Thanks for the thought - John