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When does craft become art?

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  • When does craft become art?

    I don't know about the rest of you but when I saw, sometimes I get to thinking about the darnest things. Today while working on an intarsia piece, I was wondering - When does craft become art?

    For me, craft becomes art when the work isn't mass produced but made to be original and not just like the last one. I consider something art when I can feel, see or touch a peice and get MORE from it than what is on the surface. For example, I look for the spirit of the animal in a wildlife piece, or the personality of a person in a portrait.

    How about you - when does "craft" become "art"?


  • #2
    Whenever you make something with your own hands it is art for it is your interpretation of a pattern or your own design. That is why you are known as an artisan more than a craftsman. You are creating all the time. I as an electrician by trade consider myself also a craftsman because I do work that is repetitious and is done with skill in that trade. There is some creation involved but more skill of doing the same thing. Hope that makes sense.
    John T.


    • #3
      Here's my go at it.

      Art is the interpretation/presentation of a thought or feeling, while craft is the execution of somebody elses thought or feeling. You can be a great artist and a lousy craftsman or a great craftsman and a lousy artist or anything in between. Art is creating something with your mind or heart while craft is executing a plan or pattern, created by someone else, with your hands/tools. Art can be taken to the extreme as evidenced by some of the shows in galleries in recent years (if you don't know I ain't tellin' on this board).


      • #4
        I've heard it said that art is whatever an artist calls "art". It's like nailing jelly to a tree. I know what it isn't when I see it.

        As the New Yorker cartoon has it, "I know all about Art, but I don't know what I like"

        First, art is created by someone who wants to create something, not to copy something. This is contradicted by some of the greatest portraits and works of realism like those of Albrecht Durer, who used a brush of a single bristle to paint the individual strands of a rabbit's fur. Or Chuck Close, who creates undoubted works of art by meticulously copying snapshots of his friends.

        Okay, then the modernists emphasized that the work of art is the thing itself, i.e., the paint and canvas (or the wood!), and if it looks like a bunny, Durer is still the only one to paint that bunny and none other.

        You can see I'm spiralling into incoherence. Let me try to haul myself back.

        Clearly, as others have pointed out, art is not the reptitive execution of someone else's patterns, whether it is a scrollsaw project or a paint-by numbers script.

        However, merely creating the template yourself doesn't make it art, if the image is stereotypical or mundane. Go ahead and make another {name your tawdry subject} pattern, it's still kitsch.

        Here's a stab at a definition: Art makes you see something as if new or in a new way. "Novelty" isn't quite the word, but uniqueness is important. If there's a "subject", a work of art tells you something you didn't know about the subject. If there's no "subject", the work of abstract art has a higher hurdle, to tell you something new about space or color or you.

        At the bottom line, art is in the intention of the artist, insofar as we can discern and interpret that intention. If the intention was to create, then it's art; if it was to copy (or imitate, without a more complex intention) then it's not. The eternal disagreement among critics, artists, craftsmen, and viewers over what's art comes back to the difficulty of divining the intention from the product.

        Well, enough bloviation.


        • #5
          I have heard that Art is when the creator signs their name to it.

          I do a lot of decorative painting as well as scrolling. I still consider it art when I use other people's patterns. And even when I use my own patterns, I still consider it art when I make mulitples of the project. My own feelings is that the quality of the work done makes something "art" in my eyes.



          • #6
            I agree with you Forester and I have no idea what Steve said . I think what he wrote was art, written by a craftsman. The true meaning is in the eyes of the beholder. As I stated you can take another person's pattern and create your interpretation and it can be as artful as anything made up. How you use different woods and stains can alter a pattern as well as just changing a curve here or there.Change the dimentions, change the proportions and it is a whole different project. So to define it I do not think it can be done. So let us get back to creating some art and lets see some posted here.
            John T.


            • #7
              Especially in the new member gallery section!!!!!!



              • #8
                I just figured out where the gallery was! Now to get some pictures taken and posted....




                • #9
                  Could I add ........
                  I don't care a hoot what people call my stuff; art, craft, land fill.
                  I am happy doing what I do.
                  I know I have a long way to go to get good (how's that for grammar?)
                  Watching myself -hopefully - become more accomplished is half the fun.

                  What other people choose to name it doesn't often concern me.


                  • #10
                    Nancy G is 100% on the money. The question of whether a piece of work is a work of art is not a challenge to the piece of work. It's still a piece of work and worthy. The question is not one that everybody cares about, or needs to care about. It does ask about a distinction that most people make whether they care about it or not. The general world knows to expect something different when invited to an Craft Gallery than when invited to an Art Gallery. Maybe it's worth a thought to define what the difference is.

                    Craft or art ... Either the question is meaningful or it's not. If everything made by hand is art because somebody made it, then there's no need to talk about it. I call that the Special Olympics definition of art -- everyone gets a medal. In that case the word "art" itself is meaningless. If quality makes a thing a work of art, then every washer in the hardware store is a work of art, because they're all quite round and of the proper thickness and the dimensions are right -- the quality is extremely high.

                    For myself, I keep a more restricted definition of art, while still honoring craft. Personally, I know when I'm trying to create art and when I'm trying to create, usually.


                    • #11
                      OK I just HAD TO

                      Art is a guy that lives down the street from me.............

                      .................... Craftsman is a tool brand from Sears

                      With Sincere respect really,



                      • #12
                        LOL! Please don't apologize for having a sense of humour.


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