This time it's at Constance Rose Textile Design.
In Japan, many involved in craft are women, particularly in textile, (although respected masters covered by the press are usually menfolk), so I don't feel as strongly that men's work is priced higher there necessarily, and in some ways craft is respected more than fine art because it has to satisfy the utilitarian requirements and technical excellence first, before even thinking about looking at the aesthetic merits.
Which makes me think of the term "decorative" art as used by museum to distinguish themselves from fine art institutions. Notice how decorative art museums are, well, kind of quirky and in-between art and historical museums, with the notable exception of V&A? Or maybe I'm too ignorant and not well-traveled enough; I'd love to hear about other "beautiful things you can use" museums which command a modicum of respect by the general society. Paintings and sculptures appear more "decorative" than weaving/garments, furnitures, etc., etc., etc, in my estimation, because "fine" art don't do anything, but what do I know...
In New Zealand craft is very much the underclass of art practices, though some people have successfully elevated their craft into art in the societal perception; ceramics (the kind you can't use) and more recently jewelry, with jewelers calling themselves sculptors. Within weaving, of course tapestry (picture/decorative) weaving is higher art than fabric art, and many weavers are women and there is a very blurry line between an armature and a professional. And there are no "serious weaving school", whatever it may mean, in the country, to my knowledge. So we are at the bottom of the rung.
I totally agree with Constance. In in the West, there is the strong association between the value of the artist and the price their work fetch. At least in Japan, in craft, there is a sliver of hope the government might make you a living human treasure, though you stand a better chance if you're well over 70 and male.
And then, there's the problem of critics, isn't there? Who's going to decide we've done well? And perhaps we're even lucky in this area because fabric weaving is seldom taken seriously as a art form so we don't get scrutinized as viciously as, say, painters or installation artist? Oppps, I've gone too far; don't get me started in installation art!
I wish we got some kind of a magic "letter" for the intrinsic/existential value of the work we do and the pieces we make, so we can all walk around with, say, a golden W on our shirts, but even for that I need to invest a few more tons of elbow grease. Besides, if there were such magic letters, nurses, for starters, will get all the gold threads, I reckon.
Trust me, I'm not grumpy this morning, in case you couldn't tell...