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.
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.
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.
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.
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.