Craft vs art - a bit of a rant

OK, for starters, here is the page I did yesterday afternoon for the other SAM Elsie Challenge for this past week.

I have noticed on a few different occasions that forums or blogs have started a 'scrapbooking / art' question. It is one which seems to spark a lot of debate, but I always find it really interesting.

Ultimately I think scrapbooking is different things to different people. In a personal sense, however, scrapbooking for me is a type of art, just as painting, poetry and music are different areas of 'the arts'. I paint and write on many layouts, drawing (doodling) and designing, and there is the photography itself of course.

So why is it not simply a craft? Well, it is a craft. But it is also art. Not Tate Gallery style, perhaps, but the majority of personal art across a variety of mediums can have that said about it. As Loretta Grayson mentioned in her blog recently, art with a little a. Personal art. It is expressive, it is creative. Certain skills, whether 'artistic' or 'crafty' are required. What is not art about that?

For example, realism is a style of painting which is an established art genre. It requires a great deal of talent and skill (usually learned) to supplement said talent. However, to me it is just not expressive in the way impressionism or expressionism is. It is not clever or confronting in the way surrealism or other movements are. But is it art? Of course it is.

The label of craft sits comfortably with many, yet for others (myself included), craft just doesn't do justice to what we do. Maybe this is partly to do with my background - being more 'arts' based. Maybe it's pride. Partly I think it is a reaction to preconceived ideas. Quite likely it is simply a personal preference and understanding of what the word means to us.

Like many hobbies, scrapbooking is a very broad term. It ranges from pure craft to very artistic pieces. Perhaps this is what prompts the desire many have to label their work as art, as opposed to craft. Or vice versa! I have had people be surprised when I've mentioned I scrapbook, in a "but you are so artistic" kind of way. And I think, unless they have seen the range of styles and creativity across the scrapbooking industry, this is a common misconception, stemming in part at least from the label of scrapping as craft.

When it comes down to it, I think we should label what we do however we want. If it feels true to you, then that is as good a reason as any.

1 comment:

Debra said...

Hi Danielle,
loved your little card from the papercraft festival so had to check out your blog site.. hope you do not mind agree re the Art versus craft debate... scrapbooking is my life art , but I could easily slip into being called a craft artist.. but what really matters is the documentation of my journey in any way shape and form...
anyway... So glad the picture of took of you and Elsie F turned out..
also loving your pages for SAM challenge..
I hand my last uni assignment today.. yes well had to a bit of internet surfing to get me in the assignment mood :) NOT
I have signed up for the christmas journal at .so will try and do that...
nice to have met you, love your photographs your children are gorgeous !!


" these are multi-purpose wings & when she's not flying they accessorize nicely with almost anything she wears " brian andreas