I recently finished transforming some of my many crochet remnants into five and six inch squares for a program called Project Amigo, and one thing I have learned from rehabbing twenty years of accumulated crochet bits and pieces into five and six inch squares is this:
I am a crafter, not an artist.
I say this with pride, because one of the things I learned as I transformed myriad remnants from past crochet projects was that utility and purpose matter to me — a lot.
The summer of 1990
This summer stands out for a couple of reasons and one of them is that I had a back room administrative job at an art gallery. As a result, I know first hand the joy and the thrill of sitting next to an incredible piece of art or two while doing ordinary tasks. Sorting through a mailing list, filing papers, or typing up a letter, all become less onerous and more enjoyable, but — like a small child who admonishes a parent, “I do it myself” — there is an even greater joy in being able to make one’s own way in the world rather than being entertained by others, and to me, that is the ultimate difference between art and craft.
Art v. crAft
Art is something I consume, crAft is something I do.
One of my first crAfting success was a crochet soccer ball I designed to celebrate the 2010 World Cup, but another, more personal design, was a cookie inspired afghan I made for a friend from third grade:
I took great care to use materials that were not precious so that she could take it to the beach on the weekend, set it down in the sand, and then bring back the smell and memories of the beach that were infused in the blanket to sustain her during the week.
It seems to have worked, and while I know she has enjoyed the cookieghan, I know that I enjoyed making it. I loved that I was able to develop an idea, bring it to fruition, and make the world a little bit better, and I have continued to use and develop these skills.
I have made multiple crochet totes:
the occasional sweater:
and a pink strap to hold one’s marching band music binder during summer band camp:
crAft fosters independence and the ability to create the item you need when you need it, where as art requires that you have the time and the means to take care of the object you have acquired.
Art, by definition, is precious and fussy in some way. Go to any museum, and there will be messages posted not to touch the things that are there, and while many of these things serve an important purpose of transmitting the images and history of our past to the people of the present, their value does not mean that crAft has none or is inferior.
crAft is different than art and has a value all it’s own that is important.
There can only be so much art. We cannot live a full and complete life walking around the world as if it is an obstacle course filled with precious objects, more precious and important that the lives that must walk around them
The future of Art v. crAft
Art is going to prosper with or without me. The tastemakers will continue to curate our vision of the past and the therefore, the future, by what Art they choose to highlight and deem important.
crAft, however, will prosper with me. I can can be a force for good in my chosen medium of crochet, and I can make a difference, one binder strap, one donut tote, and one crochet cookie at a time.