Monday, September 27, 2010

The C Word

I am not sure how all of you feel about this, but I hate the "C" word. That would be C for CRAFT. I do not do craft. To me, crafters are those who use patterns or pre-made kits and make pretty things from them. Artists come up with their own ideas and create original work based on those ideas. You can be an artist using any materials: paint, clay, fiber, metal, beads, etc.

This weekend I encountered this stereotype first hand. I interviewed and shared my portfolio with a professional, and for the first time chose to include some of my recent work I have done with knitting. The pieces I chose were designed by me and made from scratch with my own hands.I even included original sketches that I made to show the evolution of the piece. One of the 2 women I was speaking with used the "C" word to describe what she saw in the photograph. The blood drained out of my face. I said that I create sculptural pieces using the material of fiber and technique of knitting. Her partner did defend me saying that Craft has gained more mainstream acceptance as art. MRRRRR.

How do you stand on this? Why are you a crafter? Why are you an artist? Do you care about the definition?


  1. Agreed. I don't like the word "craft" in that it denotes "sub par" and more general hobbyist interest than an actual passion (never mind that there are hobbyists out there who are OBSESSED with their train sets and stamp collections, etc.).

    I don't feel I deserve the label "artist", but I certainly don't like following directions, kits and slapping things together according to someone else's idea. Yeah. Irritating.

  2. THANK YOU for posting this!! 'Crafting' has such a sudden positive mainstream appeal, but I too, consider myself and artist- not a crafter (although I suppose it's easier for me to go by artist when I went to an art school and mostly paint lol). Erica above makes a great point in comparing a 'crafter' to a general hobbyist. Craft vs Art to me is also similar to the difference between Handmade and Homemade. Handmade=high quality and special, while Homemade= not as skilled, a little homely sometimes. It's really all in the connotations though I suppose. I'm with you though... no 'crafting' for me!

  3. Honestly, I don't like being called a "crafter". Through experience, it also gives a connotation that what we (I've included other business owners/designers/artists) are not serious about our work. For other people, it seems that we are doing what we do because it's just a hobby or we have nothing else to do. Come on, there's a real big distinction between artists/designers and crafters.

  4. thank you for your responses! My struggles have obviously resonated with you. I would love to hear from someone on the other side of the argument so this does not seem so one-sided.

  5. Just because I like talking... ;)

    Exactly what Tess & Rozelyn said! I especially like the further explanation of why as being "we're not serious about our work". This is a sideline and something we fit into our schedule or do out of boredom, etc.

    I do henna body art around my straight job (which happens to be 50hrs/week!) and now I'm trying to do some glass painting and get that on Etsy. Again, I don't consider this a "hobby" - but I don't make enough money at doing henna parties to have this as my "real job". I wish I did!

  6. Couldn't agree more. It's like the difference between photograph and picture.