I have been thinking about this word, for a long time!
What it means to me, what it mean't 20 years ago, what it means now?
So what is Craft?
I do not have a definitive answer but I have some ideas I wish to share and hope that if your able you'll share your thoughts with me too.
Craft to me is the the title of my degree.
Bachelor of Arts-Craft Honours.
...20 years ago.
(arrrgh...screams into the mirror)
I made a decision, to pursue my hearts desire, clay!
|High school clay works|
My first experience with clay was in year seven and that was it.
Don't really remember why and I don't think I thought too much about it at the time.
Looking back it could of been I the stressful time of final exams, pressure of being at school, might of made me think that, studying a degree with essays and exams was not my idea of fun!
I wanted freedom, independence, out!
|First year fun|
Don't get me wrong I wasn't afraid of hard work and received a fairly decent exam score, my best subjects were Biology and Human Development......not Art. (surprise!)
But I persued what was going to make me happy.
Four years of study, everyday of that spent on the wheel, learning, perfecting and quite frankly with a dog headdedness to succeed.
I was pleased with the success I had achieved and walked away with an understanding that I had earned the respect of my lecturers.
I'd done my apprenticeship.
In my degree I learnt to persist when all else failed (whole kiln loads gone), what good pottery was, what good technique was and what it meant to practise, improve and work!
Then CRAFT was?
Those who made in Clay
(Mud-chuckers, who walked around in old clothes with hand print wipes on our backsides from cleaning our hands on our clothes)
Those who worked in Metal (metal-mafia, wore black alot,aloof)
Those who worked in Glass (mysterious,usually women,quiet)
Then and only if you'd qualified in your chosen field.
Could you call yourself a Potter, Silversmith/Jeweller or Glass Artist.
|Third year studio|
So with a solid reputation and a consistent body of work and strong aesthetic could you approach galleries to sell your work.
There was no etsy, or any online shops, or an online buy handmade community?
There was no blogging, no instagram, no FB, no twitter.
You had your local markets but they were dead.
In fact everything that is now available would of been frowned upon by my staunch purist Clay lecturers....even plaster cast (slip cast) pottery was a dirty word!
No West German pottery there!
The only retro pottery we were introduced to was Bitossi.
Now the word 'craft' has many sides!
There are the crafty types, crafters, those who crafternoon, creatives, those who like a bit of DIY craft, those who make crafty books, Designer, Makers, Etsy seller, Artists and Designer Makers!
This is not a bad thing, just an observation.
You don't need a qualifiaction, apprenticeship to make and sell in this new era......that's fine :)
BUT, yes BUT.... here's my humble opinion,
You do need craftmanship.
Craftsmanship to me is knowing your material,
Understanding it's capabilities strengths/weaknesses.
Taking it into new directions, being sympathetic to it but challenging it too.
Accepting mistakes and finding joy in the process.
And above all, unique to you.
Thank you for reading this post.
Please excuse the quality of the pictures, taking pics of pics is difficult and it was the nineties! :)