Crafting Art

I know I’m a bit late with this post… I do try to get one out (at least) per month, but nothing much happened in September. I didn’t want to write a so-busy-but-here’s-what-I-made post again… So I was waiting for inspiration.

Today it struck.

Someone posted a picture on Facebook of a local crafter/artist’s work and I got to wondering… What’s the difference? What makes it art? When is it a craft? Is there a difference between the two?

My first instinct was to say that art exists for the aesthetic while a craft serves some sort of purpose. But then what about a wall quilt? I’ve seen some amazing quilted wall hangings that I consider art… It’s certainly not keeping the wall warm (although I guess it could if you lived in a really drafty house), but it’s really no different than the quilt on the bed. The construction and techniques are the same. But there are also quilted potholders, which seem “crafty” to me. Where is the line? How do we tell the difference?

Of course, I went searching for the answer. Most websites defined “art” as something that is open-ended and freeform, coming from the imagination of the artist, while “crafts” are about following a prescribed formula or recipe to achieve a finished product. Therefore, “art” is unique while “crafts” can be reproduced.

But I’ve been in quilt classes where everyone used the same pattern with different fabrics and some turned out to be works of art while others did not.

If we give a creator paper and paint, are we not prescribing that they paint a picture? What then, makes it art? Is it the intent? Why is Jackson Pollack considered an artist while your average three year old is not? They turn out similar work…

I don’t have an answer for this quandry. I’ve always thought of myself as a crafter rather than an artist, yet other people have told me that my finished products are art.

What are your thoughts? Have you created art? Crafts? Can you tell the difference?

My husband says the only difference is in the attitude and the price tag.

On another subject, I have another book to tell you about. “Knockout Knits” by Laura Nelkin. (I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.) Laura has designed some YUMMY knits with all sorts of fun techniques including beading and lace. These patterns are ART by my definition. And she makes it look so easy! I like the way the book is laid out, with the easier projects first so that you can get an idea of what you’re doing. The book contains patterns for cuffs, mitts, scarfs, hats, and shawls – all my favorite accessories! Laura writes as though she’s talking to her friends over a cup of tea — warm, friendly, and encouraging. Some of the patterns include charts, so if you’ve never read a knitting chart, this is a nice way to learn. The color pictures are gorgeous and there are instructions for all the stitches in the back of the book. I wouldn’t recommend this book for a novice knitter, but if you’re getting tired of K1 P1 and want to stretch your skills, this could be the book for you!

So grab a book (or twelve) and go create ART! Or CRAFT! Or something!!!

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