YouTube Video Response

Before I watched this video, I didn’t know that there was a debate between what is “art” versus what is “craft”. I suspected that the two were different, but I didn’t know how. I agree with the video that the differentiation between the two is that one (art) has loftier ideas (or strives for meaning and is concerned with politics, ethics, and other serious subjects). I understand from the video that craft is techne, or functional.
With that said, I have to wonder why it is then that when people differentiate between different types of writing (sometimes you’ll see this differentiation in a course catalog) like the writing required of an English course versus the kind of writing required by a Creative Writing course, one describes Creative Writing being a study that’s interested in the “craft” of writing. When “craft” is used in this sense, it’s usually used to talk about the study of how a story or poem is developed, like how it’s actually written (how the plot is constructed, the rising and falling action, etc). So if “craft” is something that is functional, than certainly writing and the study of it is a craft, but it’s also an art form because it can have lofty pursuits. Creative Writing is an instance where these two ideas blend.
I have to wonder about the place of beauty in all of this too. Beauty itself is very subjective by nature. When I first began writing stories and such, someone told me that to create art was to pursue beauty, so in my mind, I equated the pursuit of creating something beautiful to that of producing art. Going back to the video for a moment, I have to consider the blacksmith. A blacksmith could make something functional, like a cast iron skillet or plateware-type items, but who’s to say that there isn’t beauty in what he made? It could be functional, yet beautiful. I mean, if we are trying to make something beautiful, aren’t we often striving for a more lofty idea in that we wish for our creation to be something that touches a person’s soul or speaks to them in some way, hopefully leaving an impression? I really think the answer lies with the intention of the maker. Like I said earlier, I see how there is a difference between what is art and what is craft, but I think the lines blur so often that it isn’t worth much time debating over the differences of these things because the classifications are based on situations and an individual’s intention, and these are inherently different from one to the next.

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1 comment
  1. Your points about the way in which the lines blur is incredibly important. I think the reason i becomes a debate is, by in large, because of the way different people want others to identify and classify their work. I think of myself as a crafstperson and an artist, and I want both facets recognized. Sometimes, it feels like people see craft as lesser or somehow inferior to art, and that is hard for craftspeople to accept, so they start talking about it and trying to argue for why they are similar. But you’re absolutely right–it is all so subjective and individual that it’s hard to make a solid argument for one viewpoint. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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