Definition of Art - The use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments or experiences that can be shared with others
Definition of Craft - An occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill.
I have a problem and would like to invite your opinions. If you have followed this blog during the course of my degree you will know that I have been interested in the dilemma of what should be defined as art or what should be defined as craft, It was even central to my dissertation . Personally I came to the conclusion that although craft is perceived as something of lower value than so called fine art many areas defined as craft contain exquisite pieces of 'art' so why on earth is there this distinction.
Now I am in the real world away from academia and over the last year I have been struggling as to where I should place myself and my work. I would love to keep fighting the fight to destroy this differentiation but practically I need to find my place.
I have been mixing with both the fine art world and the world of craft (by which I mean 'craft' of the highest quality, things that will be the antiques and treasures of the future) and I think I now know into which world I fit, am most comfortable. For me fine art now seems to be all about concept- about how well you can talk the talk rather than how beautiful or emotionally moving a piece is and to be brutal a lot about snobbery (has anyone been watching the latest 'Show me the Monet' program on BBC?. If I hear something degraded for being 'decorative' once more I shall throw something through the TV! Something doesn't have to be ugly, badly created or depressing to mean something to the artist or the audience.) To be quite honest when I am surrounded by the world of 'fine art' I get this niggling feeling of being trapped within 'the emperor's new clothes.
So obviously this is not my world - I feel my work has concept but I also like it to have beauty, I comment on the world in the way I see it and if people think that's a bit Disney, tough! But I also value skill and perfection of technique and when I mix with 'craftsmen' I see the same values. There is no pretense , no 'bullshit' basically just real passion . I like them more, they are real people who I am honored to be associated with - so after a year of soul searching this is my place. I know many will say you shouldn't define yourself ,be an artist. But real life isn't like that , the world will define you whatever so do you keep fighting this issue and stop producing because it effects your work or do you find peace and concentrate on moving your work forward.
Now for the dilemma for which I would like your input. It may seem a little thing but its bugging me. I need to get some more business cards printed but how should I now define myself for the client. Fellow craftsmen who work in other disciplines seem to be able to do this with much more ease - jewellery designer, ceramicist, blacksmith, furniture designer,etc... but what does someone who works with textiles call themselves. I am not a weaver, I work with fibre and stitch- so not a feltmaker .. If I call myself a textile craftsmen people think you make curtains? Any ideas? I feel if I can nail this it will be the last piece in the puzzle and allow me to move forward rather than waffling around as I have done for the past year. I need to move on.