Sunday, October 8, 2006

Art vs. Artisan Craft

I belong to several communities on DeviantArt under two different identities--one is my personal ID, "chocobogoddess", and the other is my community about spinning, "daspinners". DASpinners is part of a larger network of 'artisan crafts' communities. One of them posted a poll asking what we thought the difference was between an art and an artisan craft.

I voted "something that gives priority to function over design" because I think that's really the only difference. As a spinner (of yarn, not of wheels ;)), I know that my end product can be utilitarian as plain white wool with no embellishment or as frivolous as cashmere and silk spun with glass beads and flowers.

Honestly, for me, the difference between art and craft has always been the same as the difference between talent and skill. You are born with a talent, but you can learn a skill. I know many skilled people who can draw pictures with amazing detail, and people who have little skill but form pictures that evoke an emotional response. The talent lies with the second person, not the first. It's the same way with artisan crafts--the question is not how technically well does one do their craft, but how beautiful is the product?

Food for thought.

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