Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Art vs. Craft

A few years ago I was wrestling with whether I was a farmer or a rancher.

I am also an artist (among other things)... and currently wrestling with the idea of art vs craft.

I think it's another pair of words that mean almost the same thing, but evoke different connotations.

There seems to be more value placed on art... unless you're a craftsman, like a cabinet maker.  But what about artisan welders and bread makers.... or since I'm in Colorado, crafted beer and spirits?

Craftsmen seem to go through an apprenticeship period, but several artists I know continue to take lessons to improve their skills or learn other techniques.

Apparently this is not a new question:
Bernard Katz Glass (3 part series)
Tate Debate
One of the commenters on suggested that how it was made was the craft and the ideas it represents is the art.  Essentially, one piece could be both.  But another said "all art is crafted, but not all craft is art."

So I went to Merriam-Webster:
Art: (1) skill acquired by experience, study or observation.  (2) a branch of learning ie, humanities and liberal arts. (3) an occupation requiring knowledge or skill. (4) the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects or works produced. (5) a skillful plan. (6) decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter.
Craft: (1) skill in planning, making or executing. (2) an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill. (3) skill in deceiving to gain an end. (4) the members of a trade or trade association. (6) a boat, especially of small size
Both definitions talk about skill.  Both talk about implementing that skill.

I think we could argue that paintings, photographs, sculpture, furniture, weavings, carvings and literary works all meet both definitions.

So I think I agree with both commenters quoted above.

1 comment:

Voie de Vie said...

There's also a lengthy discussion in the Rav art knitters group about this very subject.