Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DYI Crafters, Good or Bad?

Lynne asked on Facebook: "Interview question: Craft v Art. Where do I stand on this age old debate? Pondering if DIY crafters diluted the word 'craft'. What are your thoughts?"

DIY crafters don't bother me, nor do the "quick", "one-hour" and "weekend" projects in magazines. If these can get one more person to participate, that's great, and who knows, one out of 30 or 50 or 200 might pick up the craft and change their life. That's where I started, and I'm still stuck there most days. Besides, I prefer to be inclusive than exclusive. Besides, I'd rather these people made things than... do less creative stuff.

On the other hand, I've read this in several blogs lately, and I understand the concern. A bit.

My first thought is when the economy improves and disposable income returns/increases, many will desert craft to fancier pursuits.

I can't forgive teachers and books/magazines that don't tell you the whole story. As in Lark Books' "Creative Weaving", which shows photos of what I believe to be cloths not wet-finished as completed scarves, particularly by such a reputable publisher of craft books as Lark. Even though I realize how far to "instruct" hobbyist/beginners is an uneasy editorial decision, or how to define "creative" in this context. (I know I blogged about this book before, but I cant' find the post.)

But more seriously, I think there comes a point where the work stand for themselves, as in Lynne's, where discerning viewers can see immediately that the maker is serious. So whatever she answers in her interview isn't going to be as flippant, or what she calls "craft' the same as, what the DYI crafter are/do.

I guess this is why I haven't pondered art vs. craft in a while; I need to raise my game fist.

6 comments:

  1. Hi, I've been reading a while but I don't think I've commented before.

    I'm so irritated by that Creative Weaving book. I bought it when I was first starting to do rigid heddle weaving, but now I've found it to be useless if not incorrect.

    As far as the art/craft debate, I have an interesting twist. People often call me a "fiber artist" because I knit, weave, etc. However, I consider myself an artisan. I am not particularly innovative in any regard. I know how to make functional and pretty fabrics without following step-by-step instructions or recipes, but I still use other peoples drafts or patterns regularly. I think this might be the same as the serious crafter idea. Anyway, just a few thoughts :)

    Carrie.

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  2. Hi, Carrie. No, you hadn't, and welcome! So, I think it's safe to assume that that book is pretty much a write off. Except the lovely names for the color schemes.

    I always forget about the term "artisan", which my friend Megg Hewlett preferred. It adds a new perspective to the art/craft debate, surely.

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  3. There are a few good links from this post I found in the comment section of Lynne's FB page.

    http://cynthiareynolds.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/art-craft/

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  4. "Artisan" may be the magic word. (Although it always makes me think of bread.) When we traveled on Vancouver Island in Candada there were these official road signs that just said "Artisan" and pointed you in the direction of a ceramics studio or a bamboo furniture maker or something equally interesting. It tickled me.

    I'm with you on the inclusive front. Better to make than not to make. Even when it's a frilly toilet paper holder made out of a bleach bottle.

    Oh, and I cant' stand weaving books where they don't finish the cloth, or make something non-functional purporting to be functional (an unlined bag with gaping holes in the weave) and say "look, you can make this flirty handbag with just a few scraps of yarn and your imagination...." It's not a new thing. I've seen it in 1970's books too. Not doing any favors to the budding weaver.

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  5. Aaaahhh. the infamous toilet paper holder, yes. I don't know what "artisan" means, exactly, but it sounds so far apart from the art/craft spectrum and peacefully concentrating on the making rather than the talking and worrying, Trapunto. Perhaps that's where we should aim.

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  6. Looking at on-line definitions of "artisan", Tranpunto, most mention "skilled" craftsperson, so I take it artisans have technical expertise? Which is one up on the more general "craft"-choose-your-suffix?

    But now, I think I'm just playing with words...

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