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Old 03-31-2011, 10:20 AM   #1
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Default Art v. Craft

Recently I've taken on a project opening a Community Arts Center. It's been a wonderful experience, but has really made me think a lot about what I do when I sit down with my stamps and paper and such. Is what we do art? Or is it craft? What is the difference between the two? At what point does our art become craft or our craft become art?

I found this on The Artful Parent blog when I googled the question art versus craft:

First, let’s look at MaryAnn F. Kohl’s paragraph about craft versus art from my interview with her since I think she describes them both well and succinctly:

“I would like to differentiate between “ART” and “CRAFT”. Craft follows distinct steps to a required or expected outcome. Fun, yes, but not art. Art has no planned outcome, though there may be some specialized materials and techniques to use. The results are not planned or expected. Art is free. Craft is static. Process, not product.”


Thoughts? Musings?
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:25 AM   #2
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I dont think I agree with her because my first thought is a Craftsman. A friend of mine is a true craftsman in wood carving and each one of his pieces is quite unique and expressive. He would not say he is a wood artist. He is a craftsman. His craft or trade is wood. His pieces are featured in art galleries. I personally do not think it matters as a title. What matters is the freedom to express.
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:26 AM   #3
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Hmmm I'm not sure I agree. A painter who sketches onto his canvas before painting has an end product in mind. I don't think crafts are static either. I work in a K/1 class every monday on their art station and what we do I'd call crafts but each kid brings their views, color choices, fingerprint to the project. None of them look like the example. Not static.

For me I think I craft cards because I do not design the image I'm using. But when I quilt I don't often use a pattern so that's more artsy to me.
Just my take
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:30 AM   #4
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At first, I thought "art" had more to do with the $ - like high end paintings. Then I took a look around my craft room at the amount of "stuff" I have to make my projects. Has anyone else besides me made a card or scrapbook page that cost more to make than their last pair of shoes?
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindykid View Post
At first, I thought "art" had more to do with the $ - like high end paintings. Then I took a look around my craft room at the amount of "stuff" I have to make my projects. Has anyone else besides me made a card or scrapbook page that cost more to make than their last pair of shoes?
Well, since I tend to buy kind of cheap shoes, but I don't skimp on my crafting tools or supplies, my answer would be yes, probably
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:40 PM   #6
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I think of craft as something that is used .. from a hand crafted wooden peice of furniture to birthday card that I just sent my neice. It just seems kind of wrong to say that a card is a piece of art when it's made of things that other people have made lke patterned paper and I only came up with the arrangement of it.

And I think of art as something to be hung on a wall and be admired.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
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ok but would you consider a blown glass vase which you can use to hold flowers a craft or art?

Is music and art or craft?

dancing?
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:52 PM   #8
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What a fascinating subject. When I was studying art, I was in the graphic program and not considered "Art". Even though they referred to it as the commercial art program, the "Fine" artists scoffed at us. There was even a difference made in the ceramics program. What was "fine" art and craft.

Any "art form" that we do where we explore and create is art IMHO. Even though we create things using other made things, and have an idea in our head, we are always adjusting and tweeking. Exploring. And in my head, and heart, that's art
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:23 PM   #9
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I worked in an art gallery for a few years and most of the artist that I talked to usually had an idea in there head of what they wanted to paint/draw/sculpt, etc., before they started and as there work came to life it would turn out for the most part like how they had wanted, with a few twist added. I know when I start making a card I usually have an idea of what I want to make and the supplies I want to us and along the way things get tweeked here and there and in the end it comes out to what I wanted with a few minor adjustments. So as for the definition of art being something that is not thought of before starting, I know a lot of artist who would like to challenge that definition.
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:31 PM   #10
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I have an article on this on my blog. Early on, so if you wanted to read it you might have to search for it.

What many of us do with our stamps could be considered art, because although the outline is stamped on, it is up to us to interpret what to do with that image once it is on the surface we choose to decorate. There is then how we decorate around the image once we have completed it. Certainly the making of the completed work into a scrapbook page, card, or off the page item, would be considered "craft" but really it is a combination of both - through our interpretation. It is the interpretation that is art.

Okay, maybe our "masterpieces" are not peer reviewed by other "experts" but really if you put a photograph of your item in the gallery and other people comment on it, favourably or unfavourably, who is to say that is not a valid peer review? So yeah, us crafters are also artists through our interpretations.

JMHO.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:03 PM   #11
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This is a question that I've pondered a great deal, and I've done some research on the terminology. "Art" and "craft" are often used interchangeably, and I think that the differentiation can be very subjective. In my opinion, and I'm sure there will be many diverse yet legitimate opinions here, the difference lies in the purpose behind what we do. I think that a "craft" is something that is done to get it done. There is really no personality or individuality expressed. On the other hand, "art" is an expression of feelings, emotions, personality, and/or individuality. Because this is the way I view things, I consider most "crafts" to be "art." People often underestimate themselves and their skills and creativity. Unless you are copying everything that someone else has done, without adding anything original, it's all art. Even very young children can create art. In fact, they usually do.
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:19 PM   #12
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I don't consider myself an artist. Even my stick figures leave alot to be desired - lol. But, when I create my own background, using different products, I FEEL artistic. So what do we do? Crafts with an artistic flair?
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:53 PM   #13
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Here's little more to think on. From Dictionary.com...

Art:
1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection
12. skilled workmanship, execution, or agency, as distinguished from nature.

Craft:
1. an art, trade, or occupation requiring special skill, especially manual skill: the craft of a mason.

I alo love Scrapjanny's distinction.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:17 PM   #14
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I appreciate Scrapjanny's recognition that art and craft are not mutually exclusive things. I believe that anyone who creates something out of a desire to express themselves is making art. That's most of us, so we can legitimately claim the title artist. We may not be Leonardo da Vinci-type artists, but we're artists nevertheless.

Craft can be both the skilled labor of professionals (which can often result in art) or the skillful following of a counted cross-stitch pattern exactly as someone else designed it (which isn't really art because the stitcher is recreating someone else's vision...and there's nothing at all wrong with that!).

We're all born artists, and sadly many of us have the art beaten out of us by cookie-cutter education and a society that values money and status over personal satisfaction, creativity, and happiness.

This fabulous website is testimony to the power of the creative spirit to find a place in community with like-minded folks because no matter how personal our art is, it's definitely social. We make it and show it off like kindergartners...and like professional fine artists. But that inevitably means social imperatives of status and quality intrude on the creative process. "Pros" have to make the amateurs feel lower than themselves, to maintain their professional status. I've read the nastiest things on graphic design websites about scrapbooking...and on fine art sites about graphic design!

In the end, I think splitting hairs over what we call what we do is really pointless (and I'm a well-educated word nerd!). I'm going to call myself an artist and recognize that while I'm no Leonardo in skill, the spirit of creativity is as alive in me as it was in him. And it is good.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:50 PM   #15
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If you do a layout or a "sketch" or even just wing it, choose colors, textures and mediums (papers, cardstock, inks, pencils, etc), ponder how it all goes together, then you are creating art, in my opinion.

It's the same processes used in "art". Multimedia art.

If you are reproducing someone else's work, then it's reproduction art.

And if it makes us happy, it's priceless!

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:00 AM   #16
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"craft" is a verb... "art" is a noun. We craft our art.
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:53 PM   #17
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I muddled through this quandry years ago - only pertaining to sewing. Here is the conclusion I arrived at:

When I sew a garment I follow a pattern. Yes I choose the fabric etc... but never the less I am adhering to a proscribed format. My nicely finished project is pure CRAFTSMANSHIP. Not art.

I also design Tarot Art Quilts. I will mull over my project for weeks or months, and even then the finished project turns out differently than what I saw in my minds eye. That to me is a perfect blend of Craftsmanship and ART.

I could view my cards in the same way - craftsmanship in how I execute the techniques, and art in my choice of layouts, embellishments, colors etc.....
Unfortunately, even though I love papercrafting, it will never ever compare to anything that I consider to be art. It's paper. It's dinky. It's cheap, and most likely will at some point be carelessly tossed out. When I give someone a card I almost bristle when they proclaim I am sooooooo talented. Talented? Seriously? Are you kidding me???? I took some decorated paper, stamped an image, colored it with colored pencils and die cut a shape to slap the whole affair onto. Talented??????? I have almost the same reaction when someone refers to me as "crafty". To me that just screams - crocheted toilet paper covers and/or plastic canvas.

I know the recipients are really complimenting me. So, I graciously accept it. And I'm always very pleased that they like and appreciated my efforts.

In reality I just want to say "Here - take the stupid card and forget about it".
But I end up saying "I'm so glad you like it. I really enjoyed making it for you".

Sorry about the rant. So I think papercrafting is - a craft.not art.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:31 PM   #18
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Many working artists use craftsmanship to bring their artistic works to public for sale... eg print-making, etc. I think the 'definitions' will vary from person to person. Can a person be called an artist if they are still learning the skills to bring their vision to fruition? I think so.
I know that my card and scrapping creations can be either what I would call craft, or art. It's often not an either/or situation. Sometimes I create an art-work (an original card or page in which I have the idea and use my skills and materials to produce it. And sometimes I take that same piece of work and craft it- make more, using what I learned from the prototype. Or I craft a card or page using someone else's prototype. That definitely to me comes in the craft category.
In both of these categories, people have varying levels of skill. So you could be an unskilled artist or a very skilled crafter, and possibly no-one else would know which, BG.

I sincerely think that neither one is 'better' than the other. I know absolutely marvelous craftsmen/women who turn up their noses at what they call 'artsy-fartsy' folk, sort of reverse from the aforementioned 'fine arts' people who feel superior to graphic artists.

I prefer artists and the crafters who admire and appreciate the skills, vision and effort of others.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:20 PM   #19
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Lets throw

"HOBBY ARTISTS" into the mix. Is there such a thing?
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jovian7 View Post
Lets throw

"HOBBY ARTISTS" into the mix. Is there such a thing?
I love it!
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:44 PM   #21
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Perfect. I like that.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:00 PM   #22
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:06 PM   #23
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Hobby - isn't that the difference between being an amateur and a professional?
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:20 PM   #24
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I'm not sure that hobby has anything to do with art v. craft.

My husband and I have also had this conversaion. back in the day, he was a professional photographer. His take was that craft was the skill to do someting (such as take a snapshot) but art is where you add (or subtract) to that skill to elevate it to another point (as in from pointing and shooting to arranging or looking fo specific lighting in a photograph).
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindykid View Post
At first, I thought "art" had more to do with the $ - like high end paintings. Then I took a look around my craft room at the amount of "stuff" I have to make my projects. Has anyone else besides me made a card or scrapbook page that cost more to make than their last pair of shoes?
The very first card I made cost me $50 dollars for all the things I needed and it has been that way ever since!! LOL
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:55 AM   #26
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My husband thinks this is the difference, and I can see where he's coming from: Art is created to be looked at, but a craft has a purpose/use. He says that craftspeople can be artistic, though. This does make sense - until I think of something like this: If DaVinci painted a breakfast tray or a table, wouldn't that still be art? This is a very interesting topic.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:24 PM   #27
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You know what else is interesting? Go to a museum. The have "art" right? But some of it is "art", I think, only because of the age or period. During the time it was created, it was everyday stuff. Think china, or a wooden bowl. It went from purpose, to art. Right.
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:44 PM   #28
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Quote:
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You know what else is interesting? Go to a museum. The have "art" right? But some of it is "art", I think, only because of the age or period. During the time it was created, it was everyday stuff. Think china, or a wooden bowl. It went from purpose, to art. Right.
I agree.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:19 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sewnmachine View Post
I muddled through this quandry years ago - only pertaining to sewing. Here is the conclusion I arrived at:

When I sew a garment I follow a pattern. Yes I choose the fabric etc... but never the less I am adhering to a proscribed format. My nicely finished project is pure CRAFTSMANSHIP. Not art.

I also design Tarot Art Quilts. I will mull over my project for weeks or months, and even then the finished project turns out differently than what I saw in my minds eye. That to me is a perfect blend of Craftsmanship and ART.
Ya . . . what she said! LOL
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:15 AM   #30
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My two cents:

My mother was an accomplished artist. She dealt in many mediums from pen and ink to oil painting to quilting. Her talent for color blends, out of the box thinking, and use of resources available to her was unmatched. Her creations were ART.

I can draw. I can color/paint. I can put together a quilt without a set pattern. However, I am NOT an artist. I can mimic just about any style out there, (CAS is a stretch for me, but I can do it), but I'm NOT an artist.

I think it's the PASSION that makes one an artist vs a crafter. I know a woman who is an artist. He charcoal work, along with her gourd creations are well known in those artist fields. However, when she makes a card, I almost LAUGH. It's like she had to put together a jigsaw puzzle and because the pieces didn't fit, she just cut them and FORCED them to fit. She'll tell you herself, "this is NOT my medium." This same woman can churn out 100's of these intricate paper folded pineapples that take hours to put together. They are lovely.

Her charcoal work, her gourd creations and her CARDS are ART. Her paper folded pineapples are crafts. Why aren't they art? NO PASSION.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:40 AM   #31
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Does she have a website or gallery somewhere? My interest is really peaked and I want to see her work.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:25 AM   #32
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Quote:
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Does she have a website or gallery somewhere? My interest is really peaked and I want to see her work.
If you mean my friend...no. She is OLD school...
If you mean my mother, she passed away at Christmas.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:32 PM   #33
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my take on it is art is expression and craft is obsession
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:52 PM   #34
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I was at a museum in LA and in one section they had Rembrant and other amazing works of art. Another section had glass jars full of urine with crucifixes in them. All lined up against the wall. That isn't my interpretation art. Blah.
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:06 PM   #35
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LOL.

Faith, I've seen your cards, and though you don't think they are art, I do. And I'm sure some other people do. And I can tell, you have passion when you make them.

And while, I don't necessary think that urine in jars lined up, is art. Someone had to. And I'm sure someone was passionate enough to do it.

So, I think that art is really in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? And the artist?
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:19 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Meowy View Post
LOL.

Faith, I've seen your cards, and though you don't think they are art, I do. And I'm sure some other people do. And I can tell, you have passion when you make them.

And while, I don't necessary think that urine in jars lined up, is art. Someone had to. And I'm sure someone was passionate enough to do it.

So, I think that art is really in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? And the artist?
You are too kind!

The urine thing is a bit off putting to me, too...However, the artist had to have a passion for this. Think of all the time it took to fill those!

I agree with the ART IS ART IS ART belief of my mother's. She thought even the youngest of us is an artist, if there is PASSION in the work.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:26 AM   #37
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According to Tolstoy, art cannot be defined as an activity which produces beauty. Beauty cannot be defined objectively, and therefore cannot be used as a criterion to define what is, or is not, art. The aim of art is not merely to produce beauty, or to provide pleasure, enjoyment, or entertainment. Art is a means of communication, and is an important means of expression of any experience, or of any aspect of the human condition.

Tolstoy defines art as an expression of a feeling or experience in such a way that the audience to whom the art is directed can share that feeling or experience. Art does not belong to any particular class of society. To limit the subject matter of art to the experiences of a particular class of society is to deny that art can be important for all of society. Tolstoy criticizes the belief that art is only relevant to a particular class of society, saying that this is a misconception which can lead to obscurity and decadence in art.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:33 AM   #38
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"Visual art is the skillful presentation of concepts and/or emotions (ideas and feelings) in a form that is structurally (compositionally) satisfying and coherent."

Source: Aristos An Online Review of the Arts
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