How do you define *craft*?
i am new to this forum and am posting because i wanted to get a sense of how do you, crafters, define *craft* and what types of activities you think fall under the definition.
i mean, embroidery and cross stitch is craft to me, but do you think it could also include baking? what about binding a book, by hand, but the content was produced on the computer? can computer designs be considered *crafty*? does technology fit into it, in your opinion?
the reason i ask is i am doing my thesis proposal on the subversive nature of craftmaking, how it is a revolutionary act in current times (revolutionary and subversive in that you are shunning the current system of consumerism to acquire things you need, not buying but making them instead.)
any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! i figured this would be a good place to check in for my research.
thank you in advance and have a great weekend!
01-20-2006 04:22 PM
I think of crafting as simply the art or skill of making something. i believe this includes computer generated items, cooking and baking, carving, crocheting, collage, building a canoe, restructuring clothing, dyeing fabric, etc. i also think fine arts and crafts overlap. although, i generally think of crafts as art work that is functional. for example a ceramic bowl thrown on a wheel as opposed to a sculpture or a quilt as opposed to a photograph. i was a fine art photo major who was always drawn to making functional objects. crafting had more than a bit of a stigma in a fine art institution, but i always found more depth and expression in craft work.
I think you're right, tootsiecat! You pretty much hit the nail on the head (ALSO A CRAFT!!! haha).
I guess it's all in the context of the word. If someone says, "I'm doing crafts!", then usually it's associated with something like knitting and sewing, etc.
But, people rarely refer to crafters (the sewing/knitting kind) as crafts.. uh, people? You know, craftsmanship. I'm not sure what the non-gender specific term is, ha ha.
There are many ways I define it, one is if you were to ask me, "Is ___ a crafty thing to do?" I would probably say yes, because almost anything could be, depending on the person doing it and their feelings and motivation.
So to avoid that I'll just say what makes me FEEL crafty. It can be with anything, as long as I'm doing something obviously crafty (like embroidery) or if I'm making something I haven't made before. Like recently I resized and cropped a bunch of Horror pictures to glue to the back of glass marbles for magnets. That made me feel really crafty. I also felt a bit crafty when I made my first batch of homemade salsa with my brand new food processor. I ended up throwing it out because it was horrible, but it was still fun to chop up all the vegetables.
It's kind of like a gradual measurement, I feel less crafty when I'm cooking spaghetti because I always do it, but I feel extremely crafty when I'm making something out of materials that aren't normally used how I'm using them. So I guess it has something to do with creating, creativity and imagination.
Also "functional" defining the difference between craft and art is a really good word. and of course the two overlap quite a bit.
I have a natural knee jerk reaction to the word craft. It makes me think of Church Basement craft fairs of my childhood...
I prefer textile arts, seemstress, or other more specific words.
However, since the word id defined as:
Skill in doing or making something, as in the arts; proficiency. See Synonyms at art1.
Skill in evasion or deception; guile.
An occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or skilled artistry.
The membership of such an occupation or trade; guild.
pl. craft A boat, ship, or aircraft.
tr.v. craft·ed, craft·ing, crafts
To make by hand.
Usage Problem. To make or construct (something) in a manner suggesting great care or ingenuity: “It was not the Chamber of Commerce that crafted the public policies that have resulted in a $26 billion annual subvention to the farmers” (William F. Buckley, Jr.).
I am getting over my aversion to the word craft, but it is hard.
i was a fine arts major and i think about this sometimes too.
(off the subject but, i've been privy to many a discussion whether a dj is a musician or not. and i've heard it from the world's top djs and some of the the most popular band people too...i only bring it up because with us discussing crafts vs arts, it feels like the same argument...your opinion is most likely always skewed by what you do or have done)
well. like everyone is already saying. i think that anything you work on with your skills is you crafting and i think anything done can be seen as an art. dang, i think i do my laundry in an artful way! i even think the way i arrange things in cabinets and cupboards is art! (hmm, maybe i'm the wrong person to get a good straight answer from about this.) i think the way the leaves fall on the ground is art.
it is weird how crafts or arts n crafts aren't taken as seriously as art, or fine art or whatever.......but, i think that has been changing here in the past few years big time..don't you guys???
I've never really thought of what I define as "Crafts".
I guess that whatever I can manipulate to make something else is crafty to me. Fabric, paper, yarn, embroidery, ceramics, wood, beads, etc. If I can make it with my own 2 hands, then it's crafty!
craft is alchemy - making your life into what you want it to be. So, I guess I see it as a philosophy as well as the glue and paper.
After seeing that book on Victorian crafts (see my review over in the BookWorm section) I can understand why crafting has such a bad name.
Up until recently I thought of most arts and crafts as being equivalent to macaroni necklaces and holiday wreaths made from paper plates on one end, and ugly crocheted dolls on the other, even though I've been 'making things' by hand for most of my life. Half the crap in Martha Stewart qualifies, even though it's well-executed, because it's useless over-produced makework that's usually intended to entertain empty-headed women with disposable time and incomes and small children whose minders and nannies were looking for a way to keep them from destroying the house. That image is reinforced by the blandness of most of the craftwork- it has no 'flava' and reflects very little connection to the real-world needs or desires of people, except to reinforce their sense of 'good taste' and ability to spend money.
I don't think that's what crafting has to be. I also don't think anything is bad in being a woman and a crafter. I guess what bothers me is that at least in North America, crafting for women is usually put in magazines that ignore the concerns of the larger world, actual fashion trends, and the fantasies of women outside of sex, childrearing and obsessions over food (making it or keeping off its effects). My ideal craft magazine would have crafts from a variety of cultures, would show both older and younger people who love crafting, address social concerns and interests (where does all that wool we use come from, anyway? Is yarn made in sweatshops or family-run businesses? Are there people knitting caps for people who've lost their hair to chemotherapy?) and show crafts being used in urban as well as suburban settings. An ideal issue might have goth crafters decorating an Edwardian house from top to bottom, hiphop crafters creating runway-style pieces, and an article about older crafters teaching kids and younger people. Right now I see a disconnect beween the 'Better Homes and Gardens' crowd and the twenty-somethings who read 'Readymade' and 'Bust', and I think it's a false dichotomy. Crafting doesn't have to be kitschy or tacky; it doesn't have to be useless and only decorative to be beautiful, or quick and dirty in order to be practical. I wouldn't put most of the items in 'Readymade' anywhere in my home, and I feel the same about the items in 'Better Homes and Gardens'. I prefer sites like this one, 'Gothic Martha Stewart' and a few others because they fit my sensibility a lot better.
The word craft is one that all ways seamed to be a level down from art to me. It took growing up to learn that crafting and art are one and the same to me. I paint on canvas and I all so make greating cards, I make jewlery. I feel that I craft all of my art and all of my arts are a craft.