Artist vs Craftsman

It’s 4 am and I can’t sleep which means it’s time for a slightly rambling meditations post with no point or conclusion! Woot!  Today’s topic (or maybe yesterday’s topic, it’s hard to tell at the moment) is thus– I realized a while back while talking to a co-worker that I consider myself, at least in terms of my textile work, to be a craftsperson.  Not an artist.

The reason for this is relatively simple– I have been an artist in the past

watercolor to print.jpgHey look, I used to paint!  Reasonably well and everything!

andrej pejic.jpgAnd draw!  Look at me go!

But for me art is trying to express something.  Art has a concept, or a message.  I mean, sometimes you just stumble across something lovely and want to record it, but for the most point art is trying to influence how you see the world.  And that’s not my goal with costuming.

I make things for the following reasons:

  1. I get twitchy hands and need something to do and might as well be productive
  2. I want the finished product and I can’t afford or don’t trust someone else to make it
  3. It interests or intrigues me in some way and I want to try a particular technique or style

but none of these reasons are to communicate something, influence someone’s point of view, or express myself creatively.  I just like to make beautiful things.

Now that’s not to say my costuming isn’t creative, because it absolutely is.  Picking colors and design and trim and how to lay out the trim are all creative processes, just for me, not artistic ones.

Obviously these definitions are very personal, and there might be someone who creates for the same reasons as me and thinks of themselves as an artist, and that’s just fine!  I also think it’s important to note that I do not consider being a craftsperson to be less than an artist, just different.  It has nothing to do with the level of skill or commitment, just the motivation.  And that’s part of what I found frustrating about art– sometimes I just wanted to make something and not worry about what it represented or was meant to convey.  It just was, and that was enough for me.  But usually not my teachers….

As usual there’s no real point or conclusion, just lots of words in my head that wanted to get out there in the world.  I’m curious how other people feel they fall on this divide and where the line is– a good friend of mine says he’s a craftsperson and I’m an artist because he doesn’t have the creativity to come up with original projects– if someone says “make XYZ” he can do it, but he struggles to be inspired on his own.

I certainly do not have that problem, and if anyone wants some sewing inspiration I have way too much and not enough money or space for fabric.  Happy to share, or you can always feel free to send me money 😉

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