Monday, 5 October 2009

What is Craft?

--A craft is a skill, especially involving practical arts. It may refer to a trade or particular art. [Wikipedia]
--trade: the skilled practice of a practical occupation;
--skill in an occupation or trade;
--make by hand and with much skill;

But do these definitions accurately describe the present day phenomenon of craft? Is cooking a craft? Is baking? Jam making? Hair styling? And what about blowing circles out of cigarette smoke? What do you consider a craft? What definitely is not? Do you have your own definition that describes the concept better? I would like to hear from you before I tell you what I came up with. Leave comments and take part in the poll to let me know what you think.


  1. very interesting- I would dearly love to fit into a Niche but have never found the right one.... crafting! .... any practical artisan type of creative endeavour as either a hobby or living. Some Industrial artists can be snobby about crafting , but it's so misplaced as I've seen some absolutely beautiful things & met some very very talented crafters and so many varied/ different types of crafting s over the last ten years. Creativity rules which ever way!.

  2. This is a good question. One that I will have to ponder to really give a proper answer. "Craft" is one of those words that seem to be throw around fairly loosely these days. My daughter's (ages 7 and 4) say, "Mom, can we do a craft?" Or they go to Girl Scouts, or school, and are always excited about the "craft". To them a craft is something that they can put together, usually out of some kind of kit that has everything prearranged for them. All they have to do is put it together.

    My personal definition of craft is probably more closely associated with the art and workmanship that goes into something hand made. Something that you take the time to learn more about, to challenge yourself with, to put everything you have into something you have made.

    I do think all of the things on your list can be considered a craft. I think a true love for what you are creating is also a big factor. I mean, a person can do all the things on the list, but I think it is only considered a craft when you put your heart and soul into it.

  3. I suppose anything can be a craft, but I feel there's a distinction between "craft" and "Craft" or Fine Craft.

    Not all skills are or need to be particularly artistic. People say someone is "skillful" when they execute a particular skill very well. One might say that the perfection of a particular skill is an art.

    I believe what makes it "art" is the intuitive ability to know exactly how to hold the yarn to make the tension on all the stitches come out even, or to recognize when the metal has reached the precise temperature that will make the solder flow without leaving a big blobby mess. All skills take practice. Some people will pick up on the nuances faster than others, and some people will never quite get there, even if they do it for years. I think that little abstract, intuitive 'knowing' is what starts to differentiate Craft from craft.