Tag Archive: crafts


Talking Trudeau - Nixon - (Part 1:Tapestry Triptych (Left Section)). Helena Hernmarck, 1969

              Last week I visited the exhibit Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design at the Museum of Art and Design for one of my classes and it got me thinking about the whole art vs. craft thing again.  This exhibit is perfect for revisiting this issue.  The first floor of the exhibit deals mainly with the designer craftsman and pieces that emphasize a handmade aesthetic.  The second floor focuses on artists who really blur the line between art and craft.  It was really nice seeing pieces like this in a gallery setting.  I really loved all the textiles.  They have a lot of hand woven pieces there and you can really get a sense of the texture and fibers involved.  There’s also a bunch of gorgeous jewelry and interesting furniture.  A lot of the pieces do blur the line between art and craft.  One of the curators who gave us a tour said how she really had to fight tooth and nail to even have the word “craft” in the title of the show because some head people were concerned that people wouldn’t want to come see an exhibit of craft.  This makes me sad.  First because I believe craft deserves its place in the gallery setting but also because it shows that they clearly aren’t in touch with the growing handmade/craft movement that’s resurging.  I think there are plenty of people who’d want to see a handmade/craft exhibit; maybe not at the Met or MoMA, but certainly at a place dedicated to design and even started out as a craft museum.  It’s clear that at least some artists embrace craft and I think it’s time the art/gallery world did as well.

For more information on the exhibit and images from it visit http://collections.madmuseum.org/code/emuseum.asp?style=browse&currentrecord=1&page=search&profile=exhibitions&searchdesc=Current%20Exhibitions&searchstring=Current/,/greater%20than/,/0/,/false/,/true&action=advsearch&style=single&currentrecord=1

Mosaic Table, Lee Krasner, 1947


Art vs. Craft

            Sorry I’ve been neglecting this lately.  I haven’t had much motivation or inspiration to write.  I need to go to a gallery or museum or something.  It’s been too long since I’ve surrounded myself with art.  Recently most of my creative energy has been going towards my various craft projects.  I’ve been doing a lot of spinning.  There’s always crocheting and I’ve recently taken up knooking (which is knitting with a crochet hook).  I do love my fibers.  It has got me thinking though, about the divide between art and craft.  I personally don’t think there needs to, or should be, such a divide.  I have seen a lot of beautiful crafts, some that rival even the finest of the fine arts.  It doesn’t seem very fair that these pieces that people put so much time, energy and creativity in to are looked down on because they’re “crafty.”  Why should a painting be regarded so much more highly than say, a quilt?  I’m sure the reason is frustratingly sexist.  Back in the day men were the artists and women were crafty homebodies, therefore paintings and sculpture were better.  But you’d think by now the walls could have been broken down a bit.  Then again, there’s always been a struggle to decide on an hierarchy within the arts.  I think everyone wants their medium to be the superior one.  Way back in the day painters weren’t considered artists, they were just trades/craftsmen, and they managed to move up the ranks.  But crafts aren’t even in the discussion. 

        I suppose maybe it could be an originality/creativity issue.  It’s true that a lot of people who craft follow a pattern or instructions.  But even then there’s still some creative input – fabric choice, colors, yarn choice, things like that.  There’s always some personal touch.  And there’s still the skill needed to properly execute the piece.  Besides, it’s not like artists are completely original all the time.  They may not follow a pattern, but they can copy a style or method.  And not all crafters follow patterns; many create completely on their own.  Why shouldn’t they be considered as talented as painters and sculptors? 

        I think it’s high time that crafts and crafters get the recognition they deserve.  Just because their wares may have practical uses doesn’t lessen their importance, or the pieces’ beauty.  I think the art community is becoming more accepting of crafty elements, so hopefully that’s a step in the right direction. 


Needle and Thread, by me, 2005


Crochet 3, by me, 2006