I often find myself feeling trapped when asked about "what I've been up to", when the things that are most exciting to me, most voluptuously inhabiting my brain, are the things I'm making or thinking about making. I often feel I am bursting with unrealised and partially realised creative ideas. I just don't know how to share this with others, that I'm not doing these things only to kill time or occupy "idle hands".
When I tell people I do various craft things - knitting, making jewellery, cross stitch - as the words come out, a certain sort of picture paints itself. How do you tell people, especially those who don't haunt Craftster (its motto: no tea cosies without irony) or hundreds of modern brilliant creative blogs? That you like to make things... but not teddy bears or doileys, particularly.
So there is a problem with "craft".
But I definitely can't get comfortable with "art" either. In my immediate family, those who have studied at Art School outnumber those who haven't (and I haven't). When I think about art I tend to focus on the conceptual end of the spectrum. An artist has something to say, and the medium may even be secondary to the message. Innovation is critical. A lot of the time I am making stuff from a pattern or instructions, and the level of originality varies - with knitting I'm not good enough yet to be inventing much. With jewellery I don't follow a pattern, but I'm hardly inventing new forms, just making things I like to wear or that suit others for gifts. I can see potential for some of my crafty pursuits to move in the direction of "art". But that's not explicitly my aim anyway, and what do you call that middle ground?
I would love to hear your thoughts on the meanings and uses of "art" and "craft". I know the distinctions are not black and white. To me craft suggests more of a focus on materials and processes and possibly functionality as well. Whereas art is more about self-expression. I believe many people make works that do all of this at once.
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