Friday, 23 April 2010


This period of downtime has been really useful for getting my head ready for the big push over the next year towards my grad. show. Several tutors had said to me that the dissertation might prove the most important part of the degree and as I'm not a great academic I just thought 'yeah,right!' However now I think they might be on to something.
Although I am still only in the middle as I have the final draft to produce next semester alongside the 1st personal specialism leading up to my final work(gulp!) for me it has crystallised not only what medium I want to pursue but also how I want to be defined in my practice. My dissertation title is 'Felt, Art or Craft?- an analytical study of felt in the creative sphere since 1945' so I have been using this medium to research present day attitudes to being an artist or being a craftsman and it has been a really enlightening and surprising journey. We are all so desperate to be seen as 'artists' mainly for the validation this title gives our work, however, in my study I've discovered that some of the most beautiful and thought provoking pieces that I have come across are by those describing themselves as either craftsmen or artist/craftsmen.

Generally though there still seems to be this feeling that those working in a region designated as craft as slightly inferior to the area of so called fine art. To me this seems utter rubbish and the research for this dissertation has made me decide that I will be really flattered to be designated a craftsman. I not very happy with the pretension and elitism of the fine art world (the Goldsmiths programme also re-enforced this feeling for me).

The really sad thing is that there has to be this labelling at all and its a modern western thing. So now I feel focused on what lies ahead- Here comes Chris an artist/craftsman working with felt.


Judy Martin said...

You sound very positive about the dissertation experience , I am so pleased for you.
Your comments about art/craft and being a craftsperson are insightful.
I have been coming to some of the same conclusions. One thing that I discovered doing the fine art module was that it was more important to just do good work and not be concerned about what other's call it. The work has to come first for the maker, and others can figure out if it is art or not.
I'm not explaining this very well, but it took away some of my personal desperation to be considered an artist and focused me on just getting good work made.
thanks for your honest blog.

Gina said...

I couldn't agree more and you've put it so well... it's the integrity of our work that matters not what we call ourselves. I was appalled at some of the Goldsmiths stuff and I'm ready to face "Issues of 2oth & 21st century art" with all guns blazing!!!

Heather said...

You have obviously given this topic much thought. I have always thought of craft as something anyone can do, but I also think of a craftsman or woman as someone who is a master of their craft. As you say, we seem to have to label everyone these days rather than judge them on their merits. It all depends whether you make craft or Craft with a capital 'C'! There is terrible snobbery in fine arts as I discovered some years ago.

Jenny Leslie said...

I really like to think of myself as a craftswoman, I think it fits really well with traditional techniques as well as new ones.

well done.