Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wherein I solve Art v. Craft

I can't solve Art v. Craft. I'll be honest. I'll admit defeat. This debate is older than I am and probably will not be resolved in my lifetime. I recently saw a button on Etsy that caused me to throw up my hands with the realization that no matter how much I write, I can't ever solve this debate single-handedly. The button in question features a pregnant woman and the text read "I'm SO crafty, I make people." Cute. But not helping my cause. When "craft" is now creeping into reproduction, I think I've lost all footing for serious study.

And that makes me sad. I want to argue so passionately for craft. For fine craftsmanship. For people who want to knit in their spare time. For those who occasionally dabble in the line between fine art and craft. Decorative arts tries to walk that line. Decorative arts is very easily defined as "the arts concerned with the production of high-quality objects that are both useful and beautiful." (According to my handy Mac dictionary widget.) But let's dig a little deeper in to that. What counts here?

- clothing: dresses, shirts, boots
- sliver: muffineers, vases
- jewelry: brooches, necklaces
- wood: furniture in a variety of forms

There are many other things that count, but I think by now you're getting the idea. So, where do Etsy sellers or this strange object fit in that? Well, Etsy sellers run the gamut from traditionally trained craftspeople to Do-It-Yourself folks who hope to make a small income from their hobby. The object linked to above (a memory jug) is a type of folk art. Both of these are subsets of craft. The best way I can explain this is the very, very simple chart above. I hope this provides some help in the Art v. Craft debate as I'm pretty sure I'll never solve it.

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last few months. Thesis is officially approved and it's now summer break, so hopefully I'll get back to posting more regularly!

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