Thursday, May 27, 2010

Art verses Craft

My best friend is a writer. She is also a "bookbinder". While she hates anything that has to do with crafts, I love creating with paper and fabric. When I have started a project that involves anything from a craft store we usually discuss her dislike of them. The few times she has decided to "make" something I usually razz her because I know I'm going to get a response from her. Trust me it's fun.

When she started taking book binding classes I was a little jealous, it's something I have allways wanted to learn. Well lucky for her I live in the boonies and she lives in the city. She got to take the class and I got to be jealous of her over the internet.

The discussion of whether what she does is either an art or a craft is a common discussion between us. What is the definition of art versus craft? Is there really a huge diference? When we were little didn't we all take "arts and crafts" classes in school? Didn't those classes involve anything between painting/drawing on paper to creating those little clay pots for mothers day? Just yesterday I laughed about her booking a table at a local "craft fair" hosted by a scrapbooker. She even defended her position by informing me that most book binders are men. Okay. . .

While I consider myself an artist I also consider my self a crafter. I love manipulating things to get the result I want. I love taking a few yards of fabric and turning them into something beautiful. While I insist that what I do whether it's writing, sewing, drawing or papercrafting is both art and craft she insists that things like bookbinding is an art.

I'm fine with the "art" label, I really am. But I also firmly believe that the actual process of making a book is a craft that is learned. I know that bookbinders call it a lost art and I won't argue with them. But taking materials and using tools to make something completely diferent than the raw materials is, in my opinion, craft.

While a clay pot is art, the knowledge of how to spin and fire and glaze clay into something that can hold water is craft. At least that is my opinion.

Writing is the perfect example of both art and craft. While a finished book can surely be called art, I believe its more the way words flow from a writers hand. The picture that they paint in the readers mind is an art. The time it takes to learn a craft such as writing is equal to an artists time spent in creating a masterpiece.

However, I believe that knowing how to construct a sentence, how to write a character that a reader loves, how to plot and then execute that plot, how to do all those things that a writer needs such as formatting, writing synopsis and querys is where we writers use craft. While some writer may have a beautiful story or an amazing character if the execution, or CRAFT, of that wrtiers skill isn't great, the story will completely flop.

A begining seamstress can not create a beautiful wedding dress, a begining writer cannot become a master of words with thier first draft. It takes time and lots of practice to combine both the art of story and the craft of writing to become an author that is worthy of reading. Knowing how to meld the two is I think what all "artists" of any form strive to achieve.

So while my best friend insists she is an artist, I insist she is also a crafter. Of not only words, but also paper, leather, book board, and glue. Maybe my elementary teachers were right in teaching "arts and crafts" combined because in my head, there's no seperating them.


Angie said...

Nice thoughts. I agree with you about art and craft. Gee, I never considered myself craftsy before.

Pendragon said...

Everyone's gonna think i'm a nut now! LOL Okay okay. But, let me point out the difference in definition. English is such a touchy language.

Craft as in a learned Skill. I'm cool with that. "Learning one's craft".

Craft as in c... well, i don't want tomatoes thrown at me from all my more 'crafty' friends, so i won't go there. LOL It's your fault you know. You're the one who teases me so much.

Noble M Standing said...

But it's so much fun to tease you! LOL JK.

When I speak of craft I speak of the skils and learning process used to produce a piece of art.

The phrase "crafty" or other uses of the word in that context is totally diferent and that is where there is a difference. I am not a crafty person perse' I am an artist who crafts art.

Your books are beautiful, and you definately have a skill I am jealous of.

Truce? :)

Shari said...

I completely agree with you. Arts and Crafts go together!