When does a craft become art?

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Georgina wrote
on Jun 13, 2008 1:02 PM

This is in response to the question "When does a craft become art?"

You know there is the scene from the movie History of the World with the cave man.

Art is when there is a critique. 

And yes sometimes we, the crafters, are the biggest critiques.


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MandyH wrote
on Jun 15, 2008 2:12 PM

 It could also be said that all craft is art.

After all, in knitting, the design is part of the process whether completed by the knitter or the designer. If it is a purchased pattern, whether in a magazine, book, pamphlet or on the internet, the design must sell itself or it would never become a completed garment/object. It must be attractive and tempting or the magazine, etc would not leave the shelf.

Art has an attraction. We all wish to go to an exhibition to admire the artwork / sculpture, etc. To me, a Textile exhibition is just as full of "art". I consider it Art, since each piece has usually been judged worthy to be hung, especially if is an important exhibition. Those critics again.........

I have managed to get my husband to come to some of the textile exhibitions I enjoy. He has always been very taken by the expertise shown and the quality of design. His passion is model engineering, making model aircraft and also working scale models of aero engines. I go along to a major engineering show each year. In return I am fascinated by the detail of work in the models I see. It is the textures produced in the metals which draws my eye every time.

Again, why is it that craft is not seen as Art. Is it that people see our craft of knitting as something they could do if only they had the time? Why should that decrease it's stature? Most crafts are useful, generally having an end purpose. But then so does pottery, sculpture, especially when it is made to be handled.......... It cannot be that crafts are mainly produced by women - we have quite a number of men now knitting, quilting, etc. There are many women artists out there too..........

Art is Craft and Craft is Art.

Mandy:)

 

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Just Jo wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 9:42 AM

 I so agree with you Mandy.  Who's to say that the person knitting a shawl or crocheting an afghan has any less artistic creativity than the person who paints a masterpiece, takes a beautiful photo, composes a piece of music, or writes a poem?  They all are art.  I wish they all got the same amount of respect.  I put my heart into my work when I crochet, and when the piece is done, I feel like it's a part of me.  Isn't that what art is all about-expressing who you are?

 

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MandyH wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 11:32 AM

 Well said! Just Jo, I do so agree with your comments.

Mandy:)

 

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ZassZ wrote
on Jun 25, 2008 1:38 PM

 Just Jo, add me to the list of agree'ers - is that a word?  When we express our given talent(s) it reflects a part of us and those abilities are now turned into something outwardly tangible.  No two person's fingerprints the same.  No two individual works are exactly the same.  Done at different times and can't turn out exactly the same (even tho they may look alike).  Each expresses who you are at the time.  Time  Even what your are thinking when working on a project is different each time you may do the same project, and does have some bearing on how it turns out, so you are really expressing yourself at that particular time.  No two sunsets the same, no two days the same. 

I understand why so many of us find it so hard to part with some of our projects.  As you said, you put your HEART into it. 

So it is as you said,  "a part of me".

 And all the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, and they kept bringing as yarn the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple, the coccus scarlet material and the fine linen.   Ex. 35:25 

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Liz Good wrote
on Jul 7, 2008 1:18 PM

These are great points! Working at Fiberarts magazine for the last four years, I have given this question a lot of thought (although that doesn't mean I have the answer!). I think a lot of the discussion comes down to how people view the terms "craft" and "art". Personally, I see the main difference between the two as intention. To me, craft is more execution and art expression. However, that isn't to say that the two aren't often combined. In my mind one doesn't become the other, they live in harmony.

Liz Good * assistant editor* Spin-Off magazine

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Georgina wrote
on Jul 7, 2008 3:33 PM

I think that our "craft"  as it is presented here is an "art".  Even the knit-alongs where everyone puts their own personality into the project.

When I think of "craft" and "art" I think a craftperson is someone who practices their craft and an artist is someone who cares about their craft.  By "care" I mean cares how it is presented, cares how it looks, cares about how long it will last, care if it fits the intended purpose, cares that other people may be inspired by it.

This may be off-base, but think of the electric conduits in most houses.  The reason they are hidden inside the walls are because they really are poorly layed out.  No one wants to look at them.  I have seen some electricians who make art of their craft.  When they lay out the conduit you definately want to see it.  (I'm and engineer that is why relating electric conduit and knitting seem natural to me.)

I have seen some knitting that just satisfies the need.  Knitting art does more than just satisfy a need.


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Just Jo wrote
on Jul 9, 2008 3:43 PM

 Great analogy, Georgina!  I never would have thought of comparing knitting to electrical engineering, but it really does fit now that I think about it.  I've seen electricians who just shove their wires into a box knowing that nobody can see it later, and it always makes me appreciate the craftsman who keeps it neat.  My dad-who does some electrical work on the side-always says he likes to keep it orderly for the next person, because you never know when the outlet or circuit might need adapted in the future and it's a nightmare to try to figure out someone else's tangles.  I suppose that would be like trying to finish someone else's knitting project, lots of tangles!

 

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on Aug 9, 2008 2:10 PM

 

This is a discussion many of us in the fine and performing art community have.  Why does an actor "practice their craft" while a painter or musician "suffers for their art"?  I have come to believe that art is all about the form while craft is all about the function.  A sweater can be an art and a craft - the art is in the design and color choices, the craft is in the construction and usefullness.

There is a car commercial here in the US that talks about the artistry of the design of a car and the craftsmanship of the builders.  It seems to me that that would apply to knitting and crochet as well. 

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ZassZ wrote
on Oct 13, 2008 9:53 PM

 You perfect your craft - you put your heart into it - it becomes your art  

copyright 2008 ZassZ

 And all the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, and they kept bringing as yarn the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple, the coccus scarlet material and the fine linen.   Ex. 35:25 

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ZassZ wrote
on Jul 9, 2010 11:34 PM

Well, to continue this discussion back in June 2008, I want to add that I came across a statement made on the subject. 

" And I think we're finally realizing that knitting is an art form in its own right."  Vogue Knitting Holiday, 2008, p. 50, Head Start by Cathy Carron 

 And all the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, and they kept bringing as yarn the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple, the coccus scarlet material and the fine linen.   Ex. 35:25 

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Boothacus wrote
on Oct 16, 2010 2:20 PM

I tend to see Art as something that can be done for its own sake, be it beauty emotion, etc.  While Craft is an item made by hand that firstly utilitarian: i.e. baskets, clothes, furniture, blankets, etc.. While craft items can be art, not all art is craft.  A painting isn't a craft, but sewing can take a utilitarian act such as making a quilt and turn it into an artistic masterpiece.   That's just my take on it.  To take the mundane and make it beautiful beyond its basic function is giving the gift of beauty.  A handmade item which has love worked into it will always show over an item of similar nature (a sweater for example) that was purchased at from say Walmart.  A craft also requires learning, skill, and expertise which shows when a person has been working at it for a long time. Think back to the 'Guilds' of old where the apprentice had to do the drudge work and when he finished this he had to produce a Master Piece in order to become a master of his craft.  A craft becomes Art when care has been taken to affect the appearance of the object beyond its basic purpose - a chair is intricately carved and detailed as opposed to just fitting the basic definition of a chair which is to be sat in. Visual and even tactile elements are added which do not make the chair any more adept at being a place to sit, but it becomes a thing of art when beauty or an emotion is evoked. That is when it also is art and not JUST a chair.

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