Wednesday, August 07, 2013

art or craft

Sunflower by Marie Covert
I was perusing the pages and came upon this blog in Beading Daily that really brings up the  question... is it art or is it a craft? I have been wondering that myself, as I have friends that are full time artists that actually look down at me because what I do isn't believed to be artwork... even when I am painting, which granted I don't do often anymore... it is not what would be considered as artwork... and my beadwork is thought of as just a craft, not a real form of artwork...

bead weaving and embroidery by Jo Wood
When I paint, mostly now-a-days, I paint murals or fabric, or posters or what ever it is that I am working on... people think that it is just not worthy as being artwork... even though some of my fairies are pretty intricate and beautiful, they are used for utilitarian functions... pillows, quilts, tshirts, sweatshirts, baby clothing....

So what do you consider to be art work?

I respect people that do jewelry, I respect people that do crafts, even though they might not be "art"... some of the "art" I have seen is not really what I would consider "ART".  I see people working on collages made from trash and think... well... it is a collection of trash, and maybe it is pleasing to the eye... so is a sink full of fruit and vegetables... is that art?
Battle of the Centaurianess by Teresa Sullivan

I used to be a docent at an art gallery, which was about as close to being around work that I love as I could get... The gallery had an exhibit of an artist that primarily did wood carving... he made large carousel horses and was very good at it. Some of his work included collages made from trash, and it looked like he needed some extra work to round out the show, so he threw together (in my opinion) a bunch of the same looking collages .. all out of trash, all looking very similar... and I thought, how disappointing.  I had expected something else... but what? I don't know exactly what I had expected, but it wasn't a bunch of the same cookie cutter work. That is what I do, for crying out loud.

Mobius by Tina Koyama
In all honesty, because I sell a lot of work, and it is utilitarian, I do a lot of cookie cutter work... But... all of the fairies that I paint are different, they all have their own personalities and features... I don't know why, but I feel like each one is their own entity, even though they all look very similar.  Maybe all the murals that I do might have something in common, but they are all different... all the posters that I make are different... all the tshirts, sweatshirts, jackets...purses,  baby dresses, anything that I paint on is a bit different, even if I use a stencil to make the original design, I go back and hand paint that as well... so I think of it as artwork. I personalize everything, even if it is cookiecutter....
Bead sculpture "Annette" by Tina Koyama

So when I do a piece of jewelry, or a quilt, or whatever it is that I am working on, I put time and effort and thought into each piece. Even the head garlands that I make or fairy wings... each is different, each is unique and each has a bit of me in it. So, I think of what I do as artwork... yes, even the head garlands... they are something that is useful, functional, and has purpose, but they are for hanging on the wall as well... for being pretty, even after they are worn... they serve as a decoration, a thing of beauty...

What makes a piece of art... art?

Bead sculpture "egg basket" by Tina Koyama
is it the beauty? no.... the guy that won the competition a while back on America's next artist or whatever the name of the show was...  submitted a painting that in the end (excuse my language) he ejaculated on the piece... Is that art? To me, in 100 years, a canvas that has a well executed painting of a circle, one that has even brush strokes, beautiful colors of paint and is framed well... would be a nice painting, in 100 years.... a painting with a stain is just a dirty painting... needing to be cleaned off. Does it have significance? Not to me. To me that isn't art. That might be a statement, but not a piece of art.  Like that "artist" that has a statue of Jesus or crucifix, whatever the item was... in a jar of urine... that is a statement, but not art.

Art Quilt Moon Glow by Barbara Olson
I prefer realism in artwork, but I also appreciate abstract, I also appreciate dimensional artwork,  sculpting, beadwork, quilts... they are artforms that are pleasing to the eye... but there are some that are just not appealing to me. That is ok, and I wouldn't say that they aren't art.  Isn't art in the eye of the beholder? What I consider to be a statement, another person deems art... so... why is it that people that create a piece of beautiful jewelry, or a piece of beaded sculpture, or a beautiful quilt are called crafters?

Traveling kid... come to visit us in the desert... My grandson's artwork, and my son's humor  This is a cutout of what my grandson thinks he looks like. He sent it to us to take some pictures with around the area... the snake is a rattlesnake that has been to the taxidermist, my son thought it was funny


  1. I personally consider "craft" as the skill set needed to produce goods. As a lifelong sewer, I would add that some clothing is art (hence the term "wearable art"). I am thinking hand-painted, meticulously embellished or historical costuming, though not to the exclusion of other garment designs. Definitely some jewelry qualifies as art. But in all cases, whether it be on canvas, in stone or worn, the very act of hand-crafting a unique creation walks that piece to a special place worthy of being "art" to those who chose to see its beauty/value. So, yes, ART is in the eye of the beholder, but not all beauty qualifies as art, nor must all art necessarily be beautiful. Just one gal's opinion :)

    1. Very true! I just think we are really hard on people that do very nice work... While I wouldn't consider my jewelry to be art, I have been lucky enough to see Teresa Sullivan's work, and her jewelry, especially her mermaid necklace is quite a work of art.
      I have an acquaintance that does toothpick art... not what I consider artwork, but she has been shown in a gallery, I just find it to be a more intricate form of playing around with toothpicks.


Please feel free to leave a comment, thank you for visiting the blog!