Art & Craft: What’s the difference?

crochet knit iconI’m so excited to have my work shown in the Mississippi Museum of Art this Thursday, September 20th. The museum is featuring work from the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi in their Third Thursday event this month.

I consider myself lucky that even as a kid, I knew I wanted to be an artist. When I would visit the museum, I dreamed of having my work displayed here. In high school, I had my first opportunity when my drawings and paintings hung as part of the Scholastic Art Awards competition. Now, almost 30 years later, here I am again as a Craftsman!

I find that often in public displays, “art” and “craft” are often separated pretty sharply. I have wondered why that is. In my experience, they are the same, just different media. In any medium, you learn the basic technique first, then you increase your skill by replicating various techniques of the masters. Finally, you rework and extend your technique to create unique pieces. In both cases, when your proficiency and originality reach a high standard as judged by peers in your medium, you become a master.

So, what is the difference? Is it the difference between utilitarian and decorative? Innovation versus tradition? Beauty versus expression? The quality of the work versus the fame of the artist? If you would like to know more about the history of the divergence between art and craft, here is an interesting TedEd.

Top left: Traditional Granny Square afghan made for me by my MIL. <3<3<3
Top right: Granny square hexagon motif used to make Christmas stocking by Katie Clark
Bottom: Detail of table decoration using traditional filet crochet technique by Katie Clark
All images copyright Katie Clark.

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