Thursday, 24 April 2008

Art vs Craft - My thoughts on the subject...

as suggested by Lostintheforest. Hmmm, good one this - although a bit difficult to discuss with oneself. It's more the sort of subject I would love to discuss over a meal and a bottle of wine with friends. Anyway - in the spirit of improv - I will attempt to have some thoughts on the subject although as I haven't really ever thought about it before, I suppose they will be initial ramblings, loads of assumptions and all totally open to change and/or correction! LOL

My initial thought was art goes on the wall and craft stuff is useful and perhaps decorative. Then hubby pointed out that sculpture is classed as art and that doesn't go on your wall and art cards are useful and decorative. Bang goes that theory!

Then I started to try to define in my own mind what I thought about each and it came to me in a flash (well, more of a fizzle actually - I was supposed to be processing invoices at the time) - art is more of a talent and craft is a skill. Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying there is no talent in craft or no skill in art but if you think right back to childhood - who 'taught' you to draw or paint - probably no-one initially - you may have taken lessons later but initially you just did it and out came a picture. Craft on the other hand is usually something that is learned - whether your gran taught you to sew or knit, a teacher introduced you to pottery or textiles or you taught yourself decoupage/felting/silversmithing from books or internet articles.

I suppose one of the more obvious distinctions is selling price and where it sells - but is this distinction a fair one? Of course not! It's a matter of perception and educating the buyers. There is a snob value to 'Art' which craft has never really achieved for some reason. I suppose there are a few exceptions - Faberge is the only one that jumps to my mind - his work is definitely superb craftmanship but over the years has become 'Art' in many peoples minds.

<--- And as for modern art - we won't even go there. I mean come on, a pile of bricks is a pile of bricks, however you arrange them and as for the famous half a dead cow (was it? or was it half a dog, can't remember, sorry) well, that's just bloody ridiculous in my mind.

I don't think the general public really care about this debate. I certainly didn't even think about it until the other night when Lost suggested it! If I like something and have a use for it then I will buy it. I don't care whether it is classed as art or craft by some high brow, posh talking knowitall - if I have a need or use or wall space for it - it's mine! (bank balance permitting of course).

It's been a while since I've had to write a discussive piece - they were always my favourite types of essays at school 'cos I didn't need to come up with a story line - just place your arguments in a logical order and come to a conclusion. I don't think there is a conclusion to art vs. craft though - it's an evolving and never ending debate with new and old technologies thrown in for a bit of spice. What do you think?

3 comments:

Jennifer Rose said...

I have never thought about trying define what is art and what is a craft. To me they are so closely linked it is almost impossible to separate them. They both take talent and skill to pull off well.
I am not a huge fan of modern art. Most of it I think is not that special, no matter what the artist says it represents.

Sarah McBride said...

hmmm that is a great subject and a hard one to define.
great debate topic and I think it will be interesting to see some weigh in on this topic!

Bejeweled said...

I remember essays on this same subject so long ago in university :)

I agree that this is an evolving debate. Just look at the recent surge in the indie art/craft arena esp. the popularity of vintage and upcycling to see how this topic is being discussed again anew. I think that any "answer", to this timeless and classic debate, will ultimately be subjective and a reflection of what the beholder believes.