Friday, May 16, 2008

Art, Like Craft

Much to my surprise, some crafty people on the web were having the same "Art vs. Craft" debate three months before I started my blog. I shared some thoughts about this idea in my earlier blog posting, "Glossary". It's interesting to think that somehow we're all wrestling with the same questions about this thing that we do.

I am not one to throw around the term "art". To me, art is a high form of creation, perhaps the highest form. So it's sort of ironic that I sometimes consider myself an artist these days. I'm constantly ambivalent about it. Why is art such an elusive label? Should it be? Most of me truly believes that art shouldn't be elusive, but the common paradigm is ingrained in me. It is learned and would need to be unlearned. Fernd brought up a good point that traditionally, work done by men was considered art, whereas much of "women's work" has been relegated to craft. So, I pose this important question that I haven't heard in the online debates yet: Where does gender come in?

Perhaps, like Jung's Thinking - Feeling & Introvert - Extrovert continua, or Kinsey's Gay - Straight continuum, there is an Art - Craft continuum. Perhaps I, and by extension, perhaps all creators, vacillate between artist and crafter, with stops in between on the continuum. Could this be a psychosocial breakthrough? You heard it here first!

Regardless of the debate, the answer (or no), I thought that the "She's Craft" episode of SSK Podcast was really interesting. The podcasters, Shannon and Stephanie, (who knit) were both of the opinion that what they do is craft because they aren't creating patterns. They like what they do, and they may change little things, or choose beautiful yarns, etc., but implicit in their conversation was the belief that in order to call their knitted creations art, they'd need to have designed it.

I only listened to the podcast once, but that's what I got out of it. Listen for yourself to see exactly what was said.