Craft Vs. Fine Art

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Original Post

I'm working on an essay for my art appreciation class, explaining the differences and similarities between craft and fine art. So this is a survey in researching for it: what do you think? What's the difference between the two? What the two have in common? What, in your opinion, makes a craft, and what makes a piece of fine art?

Any answers would be greatly appreciated!

Posted at 1:28pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT


Boy, that's an interesting question!
I, myself, have zero knowledge of art (paintings for example) yet I have done some painting. The art that interests me is sewing. I am a sewer & LOVE to see the interesting things people sew. I am particularly interested in cloth dolls. Now, I think, most would consider cloth dolls a "craft". I don't know.
Sculptue looks like dust collectors to me!
Perhaps I just have no taste at all! LOL!

Posted at 1:47pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

JayHell says

I think the difference between fine art & craft is that craft is a very broad term. Craft encompasses many different skills, such as sewing, knitting, crochet, even things such as decoupage. Fine art is more of a discipline in itself, if you were to mention "fine art" to someone not involved in the creative industry, I would think they would automatically assume that that meant paintings. As far as things in common, they are both highly creative disciplines, and include many different styles and ways of working, creating variety within the disciplines.
Personally, I would consider a painting in a traditional style as "fine art", and perhaps a piece of knitting or crochet as "craft"; but I do think that the very nature of both the disciplines makes them open to interpretation, which is the beautiful thing about any aspect of the creative world.

Hope my rambling is of use to you! Good luck with your research!

Posted at 2:07pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

StudioDax says

Fine art has no functional aspects, whereas craft is utilitarian, usually with an artistic style/skill. A craftsman creates items that may have great beauty and take much skill, but are meant to be used in some way...

Wood sculpture = fine art
Photography = fine art
Painting = fine art
Quilt = craft
Wood furniture = craft
Basket weaving = craft
Jewelry = craft

The term "artisan" sorta bridges the artist and the craftsman to represent a person who creates items with function and purpose, with a focus on the artistic aspects of the item.

Have fun with the paper!

Posted at 2:19pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

I totally agree with Dax...up to 'artisan', I loathe the term 'artisan'.

To me---- an 'artisan' is someone who feels their work is better than just 'craft'. Craft / Craftsman or Craftswoman is a fine and honorable title and shouldn't be shunted aside in favor of the ego driven 'artisan' title. probably not a popular opinion....

Posted at 2:32pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

blackiris says

I dont think there is a clear line, many craft pieces are so unique and beautiful that it would be a sin not to consider them fine art. And a lot of craftsmenship goes into creating fine art.
But I think perhaps when the object created has a utilitarian purpose it is craft, when the object is not useful in a traditional sense fine art.

Posted at 2:42pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

I'm not sure what the technical definations are but craft is usually functional pieces while fine art is purely decorative.

It get's tricky though when it gets down to show criteria and such as fine art usually excludes self taught and outsider type art.

Posted at 3:02pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

I think the difference is craft is something you learn. Something just about anyone out there can learn. Like sewing, I can teach you to sew. Fine art is more of a talent you are born with. Something more from the inside and part of you. Also I think craft has a more useful purpose while fine art is more to make you think and perhaps send a message.

Posted at 3:03pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

what about wood sculpture if it is a bowl? it has a function, to hold things.

it is a very fine line indeed.

there are learned effects in fine arts as well as talent or vision in craft.

i can decide for myself what is art and what is craft but i don't think anyone else could decide for me.

Posted at 3:38pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

randsteel says

Personally I go with:

Art being mostly decorative in nature even if made from a utilitarian item such as a knife for a showcase, or a carved wood bowel etc.

Craft being an item made to be used even if the degree of workmanship and/or beauty were far surpass anything you'd find in a gallery.

And like most things where feelings get involved there are going to be a ton of things that fit both or neither category too but those two thoughts generally sum up things nice enough for me on a daily basis.

Posted at 4:02pm Sep 26, 2010 EDT

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