(Inside my studio: My 'years of collecting' yarn stash, Painting in progress, feather collection...
Well part of it anyway, it is pretty extensive!)
I once had a artist friend of mine (ie: went to and taught at prestigious art schools) tell me that I am not an artist, I should not call myself an artist, rather I should call myself a crafter. And she said it as if my work was not worthy of being considered art. She said an artist is someone who dedicates to one medium and explores that medium until it is exhausted and then explores it some more...
I have thought long and hard about it, about what those two words mean (to me anyway). I think of an artist being like a scientist, someone who is exploring and experimenting to get to the next stage in the hypothesis. Trying different mediums and avenues to find the final conclusion. And I don't believe they have to dedicate to one medium alone. And I believe that a crafter is someone who makes things, usually functional things or things with a specific purpose (other than just being beautiful, which I believe is a purpose all on its own) developing a special skillset. Crafting, to me, is largely based on functionality and skill.
So what if I do both? It seems to me that there is a fine line dividing these two titles, but does there have to be? I feel as though I am both. On one hand I like the slight disconnect from reality that I associate with being an artist, but on the other hand I like the practicality, functionality and ability to create something of use that I associate with being a crafter.
I didn't go to art school. I learn better by doing things myself, figuring them out in my own way and on my own time. That's not to say that I have never had guidance (nor am I in any way against going to art school), but I didn't have a so-called structured educations when it comes to my creative endeavors. And I am happy with that. I (continue to) choose this path and am proud of it. I have many outlets and mediums that I work with creatively. Some are extremely tangible, some are more interpretive, some are functional, some are for the sheer beauty of it or to make one think... And who knows, maybe one day I will find the right school offering the right classes in a new medium or a new idea about a medium that I already work with and I will feel compelled to attend. Either way, I have decided that I am both an artist and a crafter. And anyway, they are just words, they are titles, and titles aren't always necessary, or beneficial. In fact, sometimes that very title can be the block in the road and you just need to let it go in order to continue on your path...
A wonderful quote by St. Francis of Assisi:
"He who works with his hands is a laboror.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist."
Art doesn't go in only one direction... And neither does crafting.
Both have endless possibilities, endless directions they could go.
It is all open to interpretation.
It is all based upon the individuals inspiration and intention.
I choose to focus on that.
Tell me, what do you think the difference is between an Artist and a Crafter?