Monday, November 18, 2013
The World of Craft Without Being Art
This is a public exploration of my journey to understand the difference between art objects and craft objects. It may not make sense, but I feel the need to write about it. Seems there are folks out there that toss these words around without thinking. I also feel the need to address this because I sell this thing I create to folks who also seem to have no idea what they believe, never really thought about it, or did any research into the subject.
I mostly like to talk/write about this subject as much in an objective perspective as I can, although not perfectly or all the time.... What society sees it as as a whole....although this is hard to quantify.
Why is when decorating something then becomes art? Is the body design on a car art? Is a car designer an artist? on the broad cultural definitions I'd say no. I have many more examples some better than this. There is also the point that I was turned onto when talking to Silas (my son) he asked, are tomatoes vegetables or fruit? Well.....both. Technically, in a botany perspective they are the fruiting bodies of the plant, which contain the seeds i.e fruit. But, as food, it's classified as a vegetable. I think art is this way too. Yes on the broader level most things made can be art, and on this level I agree. But, on a specific level, some things are not. The fine art world has a history and an academia behind it and it's alive and well. The craft world on the other hand does not, and therefore struggles with this question. I also think that our needy modern egos need something special, so what historically was just a finely made (crafted if you will) decorated wooden spoon becomes art to today, or specifically "folk art".
I am of the new wave of "craftsmen" makers, who do not and fear the words craft, hand craft, or finely crafted. I believe this is OK and a great mission that I'm slowly dedicating myself to as I read, learn, make, and most importantly think about.
OK, I admit it, the title is provocative. But this subject deserves attention and it seems wherever I bring the subject up folks have a lot to say. This means there is interest and it means people have strong feeling about it as well. The last time I wrote about this subject I got a bunch of comments and 3 personal emails, which was first. The emails were folks wanting to share their perspective and where not in agreement with my perspective. This is fine, but an emotional argument has no ground with me.....we can't just call things art objects or craft objects interchangeably ever we want, or can we?
Don't get me wrong, I like art and artists. I even admit to creating an art object once in while, but mostly I make craft objects.