Art vs. Craft – part three


In part one of Art vs. Craft; I rolled through some of the aspects for the term, “craft”. Good or bad, craft tends to rely more heavily on the mechanical end of the creative process – that is, the physical act of making something.

In part two; I made my attempt at defining “art”, or more specifically, ” fine art”. Ambiguous terms such as the word “art”, are almost impossible to define in a concise way. That is why I believe the ambiguity of these words has been at the root in the questioning of what art is, and what craft is.

When craft becomes art - Shima glass sculpture

It walks like art… it quacks like art, so it must be…

I remember when I first began to learn how to blow glass. I remember making that first little blob-like vase that could barely keep from tipping over. But I also remember how the desire to master the material quickly took over as a big priority.

Let’s say hello to fine crafts.

Some may say fine craft is the emotionless cousin to fine art… as for me…

Many years later;  I had developed the skills and confidence I needed when working with glass. I didn’t necessarily feel as though I was making “art” per say – but rather “designing an aesthetic”. However, the craftsmanship was there, and that was important to me just the same.

Fine Craft is about designing an aesthetic.

When designing something that is considered beautiful, or has a good aesthetic, it takes a good amount of creative energy to make it work. The creative energy needed in good design can be comparable to the creative energy needed in producing a one-of-a-kind sculpture that is considered “fine art”.

But is good design just visual gymnastics? …Maybe… probably.

When Craft becomes Art

I knew for myself the exact moment when the boundaries between craft and art vanished.

While working on a body of new work, playing with some forms that I had been developing… I noticed that there was something more happening that I couldn’t put my finger on. It was a little more than just an “ah-ha” moment (I knew that because I have ah-ha moments eight times a day).

I asked my assistant at the time, to take a look at what I was working on. She was generally a quiet person and probably just humored me whenever I asked her opinion. Normally, our conversations about my work revolved around technical things like color choices, proportions, and maybe thoughts about the overall design.

This time, however, her response was different. She took more than a few moments, turned to me and quietly said, “It moves me.”

Is it art or is it craft? – Does it matter?

by Bernard Katz


Art vs. Craft

  • Part one – Is it Art or Craft? – Does it Matter?
  • Part two – Fine Art – Concept gives Longevity
  • Part three – When Craft becomes Art

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