Today “crafts” are most commonly seen as a form of hobby or sometimes art. I have been thinking lately about the difference between arts and crafts. Primarily my question is: If I am a crafter, at what point do I become an artist?
In general, the term ‘craft’ has been used to refer to the products of artistic creation that require a degree of artistic knowledge and involve manual labour, which are accessible to the general public and are constructed from materials such as ceramics, glass, textiles, metal and wood. These crafts are often produced within a specific community. The Arts and Crafts Movement was a movement which advocated for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms, often applying medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. As an international design movement it flourished between 1860 and 1910, continuing its influence until the 1930s.
Dewey (2005) asserts that “art denotes a process of doing and making” (p. 48) and art is an experience. As a crafter, the process of doing and making are based on the experiences of the crafter, the same follows for the artists, where arts and crafts are the confluence of personal accounts and experiences. Also, following Dewey’s view of art as a mode of human experience, crafters and artists make body of art works to form new experiences.
As I ponder these definitions, my related questions are: Isn’t a crafter someone who puts a little of themselves into every piece, infusing it with their experiences and ideas and opinions? Isn’t a crafter someone who simply loves and creates from love? Ultimately both crafters and artists’ motivation comes down to one primary reason: he or she wants to create and add creativity to this world. Thus crafters are artists. Perhaps, what sets crafters apart from traditional artists is the choice of materials, but more importantly, the public’s point of view of who an artist is.