Saturday, March 15, 2008

Craft

Several bloggers, including Paula Hewitt and Sharon B, have been discussing the question of art versus craft, and what the definition of each is. In one of those synchronicity experiences, I heard a discussion of a new book called The Craftsman, which adds another dimension to the discussion. The author, Richard Sennett, is interested both in the craftsman as a maker of handwork in a mechanized culture and as someone who does fine work for its own sake and believes in the importance of continued growth, education, and experience to master the craft. This focus sets the craftsman apart from a society that values monetary rewards and immediate gratification. Sennett also broadens the definition of craftsman to include people who do fine work in a non-concrete field, such as teaching or computer programming. Although no one in the blogs I read was belittling craft as opposed to art, Sennett's ideas might remind us again that craft in itself is a fine thing, whether it becomes art or not.

7 comments:

jenclair said...

I'm going to follow your links in a minute, but I love the comments about craft and craftsmen. I think, occasionally, of all of the crafts that have been lost or for which there are few practitioners left to share and carry on the traditions. I value the idea of craftsmanship, the dedication to mastering a craft, and the gratification of both the craftsman in creating and the rest of us in admiring.

paulahewitt said...

Thanks for the link to my blog. I have heard of the book, but havent read it yet. I think the notion of craft is very important - I consider what I do craft (I am in the initial stages of 'mastering' my craft)- I think the term craft has been diminished recently - and I hope that changes.

Nellie's Needles said...

It took three years of quilting before I considered that I had a handle on the craft of quilting. Even though I had nearly 40 years of experience in sewing (including tailoring, making wedding and ball gowns, as well as heirloom sewing) there were techniques and methods unique to quilting that required mastering. In my opinion a number of the pieces I made during that time are "art" even though I was in the process of perfecting the craft. As a matter of fact, each project requires me to explore options from my past experience or search out or develop new ones to ensure that it is well crafted.

Allison Ann Aller said...

At this point I feel there is so much baggage to calling oneself an "artist" that I would feel much more proud of myself if I were a "craftsman"!

McIrish Annie said...

I agree with allison. the term "artist" gets thrown around so much and is so open to interpretation. I would prefer to be skilled in my craft.

Kim said...

'a rose my any other name'

Artist or Craftsman, I'm happy with a simple definition - a person who creates 'something.'

How well they made it, how much I like it... it's all outside how someone feels when they create something by virtue of their imagination, talent or skill.

Karen Dianne Lee said...

"...reminds us again that craft in itself is a fine thing, whether it becomes art or not."

I dig this. I like the important of continued grow, education and experience to master the craft. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

Take on New Crafts at Every Turn with Love, *karendianne.