I consider myself an artist and yet i am labeled a craftsmen

5 Sep

  I waver on the word of craft and what I think crafts are, usually when i think of the word crafts, i think of home projects you make on saturday afternoons at the dinner table with your mom and siblings. And when I entered art school I never imagined the word craft being used in a context to descibe a type of work, like ceramics, printmaking and fiber arts, all forms of “crafts” that I work in and make work in. maybe it was my art world naiveity. But in art school I learned that the type of work I like to make is contextualized as crafts, and are part of the crafts movement, which always left me with a dirty taste in my mouth and a demeening feeling about my work, which made me start questioning who the hell are these people that have the ability to catagorize fine art and craft art?

What makes a craft a craft, and who says so? When I think of the word craft I always think about how that work is made, the detail and treatment paid to it. Why are ceramics and prints considered “crafts” and painting and scultpting considered fine arts, is there not craft in that type of work? Are there not technical aspects in painting, like there are in ceramics? And why is anything involving fiber cinsidered a craft? Is making clothing not a fine art form? I’m sure Coco Chanel and Cristobal Balenciaga thought of themselves as fine artists with excellent craftsmenship. Or are these art forms considered “crafts” because they tend to be mainly utilitarian? Or is it because they can be associated with women, and the things that our mothers and grandmothers liked to do in the basement while the we their children were at school. 

I understand or at least am trying to understand the history of craft, the region of art making that I have been placed into. I can see the giant strides of artists and the art world towards accepting crafts into the fine art world, yet I don’t understand why money is the main divider, and is the object of affection by not only the art world but the dealers and historians as well. It bothers me that terrible drawings on xerox paper can be consider fine art and are sold for tons of money yet when ceramics, jewellery and hand made books are up for sale it seems outrageous to ask for a far price, that considers, materials used and time taken. And while yes many things in the craft world can be mass produced, someone originally designed them and made them, and then they were copied. For example at target there is a dinner set that I like, it is stoneware, 16 pieces, square plates blue and brown. I know I’ve seen pieces like it at craft fares, and ceramics conventions, and yet I am too cheap to buy them(well i would im just poor) a set like this hand made should and would coat something upwards of 2-300 dollars, at target I can get it for 60. Big difference. 

 

Why is it that money dictates the art world just like it dictates the rest of the world? 
In my time spent in the crafts world, I sometimes think I am okay with being labeled as crafts and yet at other times not so much. I have realized though that at looking at grad schools, generally the “crafts” areas have better facilities and more students. As well special names for their departments. 
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