Monday, March 17, 2008

Yes, But is it Craft?

Photographers, jewelers and ceramicists are no strangers to the art vs. craft debate. For years and years, artists and makers in these fields and more have either defended the validity of their work, or ignored the crafty insult and just got on with what they do.

I remember when I studied jewelry at MICA, waiting for the 27 with my toolbox sitting on the ground at my feet. I had to get to class straight from work later that night. An older gentleman took note of my box and asked if I was an artist. He was curious and chatty.

"Yes," I told him.
"Oh, well, what medium?"
"Jewelry," I said.

See, and this is where things changed. This man who was, just a minute ago, so interested and cheerful now seemed kind of offended.

"That's not art. That's craft. You're not an artist."
At the time, I was really hurt. I felt I worked too hard not to be taken seriously, and from his mouth, the term "craft" might have meant unskilled or leisure activity.

I think things are different now. There is validity in craft and there are phenomenal advocates for it in the greater community. Which is why I was so sad to read about certain ideas and opinions that were presented at the last SNAG conference.

I wasn't there, but I think Annie from Imogene, a talented local jeweler, captured the details and the mood in her blog. Please take some time to read this piece. There is a movement amongst crafters at this very moment. We are young and old, trained and winging it, full-time, part-time, all-the-time makers.

We are here.

Editorial post by Sweet Pepita

images gathered by jen menkhaus in support of this editorial. found on etsy, and all likely to jury into some of the most prestigious fine craft shows in the country. from jenmaestre, kjoo, tijusai, cherilewis, misslo, and rhondagushee


jenygwen said...

great post!

ErinT said...

Can you please tell me who made the birdhouse pin that you display in one of the photos on this post? it is beautiful!

averagejen said...

sure -