September 28, 2021

Art verses craft

Weaving, painting, sculpture, pottery, photography, embroidery, macrame, etc. is it art or craft? These are two forms of creativity that are commonly juxtaposed by the people, as they don’t see any difference in them. But often it is believed art is different from the craft in a sense that art is a creative merit that comes from within.

Craft is often seen as skilled work, learned from much practice in the specific application of the technique. Ideally one could say that art is generated within the heart, while craft comes from the mind. Some simple comparisons could be in the meaning, art is an unstructured and boundless form of expression while craft is an activity, which involves creation of tangible objects with the use of hands and brain. Another thing to keep in mind is what purpose does it serve? If the purpose is purely aesthetic then it is art however if it is decorative or functional then this is craft. It can be said that art is something that expresses emotions or imagination. The craft has a tangible form. It is the creation of goods of a utilitarian nature, to serve a human purpose. Art appeals to the mind and makes the connection emotionally, whereas craft only attracts people.

With all this in mind the argument could be made that skilled craftsman are artists within their field, it has been proven that art isn’t some innate skill given to a single individual but rather the continued efforts of an individual, through practice and persistence that result in great skill. This is the same for any good craftsman who has spent hundreds of hours mastering their skill set. When we look toward modern art we can see the influence of crafts within the art world. Often skills from the realm of craft easily and fluidly transfer over into the realm of fine art.

Keeping both definitions in mind, I would argue that art simply evolved from craft. Murals have evolved over centuries from cave paintings, and while they don’t tell us about our food or predators, they do tell us about the current cultural experiences happening within a given area. Cups can be simple things carved from wood or scavenged from any concave shaped item, but because we were able to master the skill of creating cups we now have fine China and hand thrown mugs by talented artisans that people put onto their wedding registry. I firmly believe that without craft, us humans wouldn’t have art, and the importance of learning the traditions behind these crafts only enhances their artistic value.