By Juline Chevalier
As we prepare for the opening of the Bloomsbury exhibition that features some decorative art, and as I knit like crazy (‘cause that’s what I do when not at the Nasher) I’ve been thinking about the various categories we use to classify various hand-made/machine-made objects/artifacts.
There’s capital “A” Art (which seems to mean fine art, or museum quality art), there’s Decorative Art (which seems to have connotations of things that are functional, yet beautiful and better than your average functional thing), and then there’s Craft.
Craft has always seemed to be at the bottom of the hierarchy. As someone who crafts a lot (I mentioned the knitting, and I also make books, make jewelry, sew, quilt and on and on) I’ve not felt comfortable calling what I do Art.
But then the art historian and feminist in me, says, “Hey, wait a minute. All those fabulous women artists of the 70’s feminist art movement worked hard to break down that barrier…of course you’re an artist.” But still there’s a nagging suspicion in the back of my head, that what I do isn’t as valuable as what hangs on the wall of a museum. (And, yes, I know that monetarily, my crafts are not as valuable as museum art because of many variables, but I’m talking about valued by society and me.)
What do you think? How do you think of craft and Art? When does craft become Art? Can Art become craft? How much does it have to do with the artist/crafter?
Alexander Calder is regarded as a great Artist, and he also made jewelry. Is his jewelry Art since he’s an Artist with a capital “A”? Is my craft Art if I say so?
I’m not looking for any definitive answers, but I am interested in your thoughts.