Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Art vs Craft vs Art vs Craft

art 1 |ärt|nounthe expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be primarily appreciated for their beauty or emotional power: art of the renaissance.
craft |kraft|nounan activity involving skill in making things by hand the craft ofbookbinding /pewter craft.
creative |kré'åtiv|adjective1 relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. inthe production of an artistic work change unleashes people's creative energy |creative writing.

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Where does one end and the other begin? To me, while the word "creative" is used in the definition for ART and NOT CRAFT, I think they both can be creative expressions. CRAFT can be original and imaginative and be appreciated for its beauty or emotional power and ART can be skillfully made.

Next I wanted to look at "The Arts & Crafts Movement" in Architecture. According to Wikipedia: The Arts and Crafts Movement was an international design movement that originated in England and flourished between 1880 and 1910, continuing its influence up to the 1930s.  Instigated by the artist and writer Willliam Morris  (1834–1896) in the 1860s and inspired by the writings of John Ruskin (1819–1900), it had its earliest and fullest development in the British Isles but spread to Europe and North America as a reaction against the impoverished state of the decorative arts and the conditions under which they were produced.
The movement advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. It also proposed economic and social reform and has been seen as essentially anti-industrial.

So it seems to me that Mr. Morris and Mr. Ruskin were looking at the creation of ART through more humane CRAFT worker conditions. Does that reinforce the case I am making for CRAFT being original and imaginative and beautiful and ART being skillfully done?

So it seems to me that craftspersons can consider themselves creative and artists can consider themselves skilled? I consider my friend Elaine, who is an expert craftsperson in the area of clothing design and creation, an artist and creative! I consider my friend Jan, who is an accomplished artist with many media forms, a craftsperson and creative.

Just as a P.S., I consider myself a creative artist and creative craftsperson.


  1. Hello, Michael, my, my to have time to ponder these things! I suspect that you are correct (or is that right?) about how these 2 ideas get ahead and behind one another (or is that before and after?) Perhaps one began out of necessity and the other after necessity. In either case, what joy. I think of myself as more of a work in progress, learning from others and learning from my own mistakes. But we need those who ask us to pause and consider. Thank you.

  2. I love the concept of WORK IN PROGRESS. If we are honest with ourselves, "Aren't we all?" We used to have neighbor who for most of her son's life has referred to him as "A WORK IN PROGRESS." That was the first time I ever heard it applied to a person. I like it! Thanks.


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