Made By Mrs M

Art v Craft


Now, this is a meaty topic, I know. However it's one which is of particular interest to me and cropped up time and time again at Turn the Page last weekend.

What is the distinction between Art and Craft? Is it as huge as many people make it out to be?  

I spoke to so many people about my work last weekend that I almost lost my voice. One thing that really struck me though was that the vast majority referred to my work as art (and/or to me as an artist). This was something I struggled with. My design work is easy to define - it's design, I studied how to design at college. Easy. Not art though.  

When I talk about my crochet and knitted artworks, I call them artworks but actually consider it to be craft. Not everyone shares this view though. "Have more confidence in yourself" they said, "you're a talented artist". Blimey. I wasn't sure how to respond to that. It's not just that I struggle to call myself an artist, I also feel quite strongly that good, modern craft is something to celebrated not belittled (because it "isn't art").

So this got me thinking a little more about the age old art v craft debate. There's a brilliant piece by Jamie Chalmers in this month's Crafty Magazine in which he says that:

"If you make [something from a kit] and pay attention to the details, making sure it's the best example of the prescribed [kit item], you're crafting.  If you change the [item] and personalise it at all, I reckon you're being an artist. I don't think it should get much more complicated than that."

So, on this basis, I'm am an artist. I'll go away and think about that.

I did a little more digging on the subject, and wondered if I'm just opening an enormous can of worms here. Feel free to add your thoughts below (and/or tell me that I'm talking rubbish - many people don't feel that the words art and craft should be used in the same sentence - please be nice though!).

During my research I found several interesting articles which you might enjoy:

From the V&A - What is Craft?

Grayson Perry on the subject - The Great Art vs Craft Debate

Divine Caroline - The Art vs Craft Debate Continues

Creativity Journey - Art vs Craft

Coffeesmiths - Documentary Embroidery and Social Ceramics: The Art vs Craft Debate

Let me know if you have anything to add (or have come across any other interesting articles I should read!).  I suspect this one will roll on and on, even though it seems to be quite topical at the moment.