They write about crafting.
That’s right (no pun intended–okay, not much), crafters write. Actually, Handmade News is looking for editors, columnists, and contributors. Kinda shiny, yeah? I submitted my application about 5 minutes ago. \o? <—-This is me being really nervous.
My submission, which I’m hoping wasn’t too craptastic, fits very well with The Book that has been living in the back of my head. So–here is my submission in all of its craziness.
As a fine artist and an avid crafter who has spent a great deal of her professional life hearing about how craft and art do not mix, I have to say that I do not agree. We all come by different streets. Art and craft are no different. What one person considers “art” and another considers “craft” is completely subjective and likely to be based upon nothing more than the conventions that they have been trained to think within.
Currently, there is a competition titled “Art vs. Design” brought to the art/craft/visually-oriented world by the wonderful people at Artists Wanted in Brooklyn, NY. The PSA for this competition states that “This contest is designed to answer the age old question: What shapes our world more, art or design? The answer is up to you.” While the competition itself seems to promote artificial divisions that have, for so long, divided the “fine arts” from any other type of visual creative practice, upon viewing the competition pieces, it seems that the competition is actually about the slippage between the places that once were brick and mortar walls. If this subversive reminder that categories are not fixed was not enough, much of the actual “Art vs. Design” judging is conducted by anyone and everyone who comes to the site in a Threadless-type, by-committee vote.
Technology is democratizing the arts, and that democratization means that art is no longer the purview of the elite, and craft is no longer something that can be looked down upon as “kitchy” or “non-conceptual”. It is no longer an “us” or “them” creative world; there is only “us” and “us” and what we chose to do with materials and ideas.
All of this—the melting of long held divisions, the merging of medium and practice, the choosing, like Picasso, of the best material or technique to achieve a specific end as well as the willingness to step outside of the stuffy expectations of previous generations—is what the old creative practices are becoming: unified, whimsical, ironic, and more than a little sublime.
This type of creative practice—practices that I am seeing in other visual creators, I am seeing in my own artistic practice, and I hope to continue seeing for a long time to come—seems to be linked to a desire for craft to match concept and for art-making to be an extension of self-awareness rather than merely the next money-making venture or political protest. And, as always, there is a need to not takes oneself too seriously.
Now, I wait. *WAITS*