Arts and crafts

Arts and crafts
At the Buell Children's Museum in Pueblo, Colorado, children and their guardians partake in arts and crafts.

Arts and crafts comprise a whole host of activities and hobbies that are related to making things with one's hands and skill. These can be sub-divided into handicrafts or "traditional crafts" (doing things the old way) and "the rest". Some crafts have been practised for centuries, while others are modern inventions, or popularisations of crafts which were originally practised in a very small geographic area.

Most crafts require a combination of skill, speed, and patience, but they can also be learnt on a more basic level by virtually anyone. Many community centres and schools run evening or day classes and workshops offering to teach basic craft skills in a short period of time. Many of these crafts become extremely popular for brief periods of time (a few months, or a few years), spreading rapidly among the crafting population as everyone emulates the first examples, then their popularity wanes until a later resurgence.



Arts and crafts also refers to the Arts and Crafts Movement, a late 19th century design reform and social movement. Its proponents were motivated by the ideals of William Morris and John Ruskin, who proposed that in pre-industrial societies, such as the European Middle Ages, people had achieved fulfillment through the creative process of handicrafts. This was held up in contrast to what was perceived to be the alienating effects of industrial labour.

Works Progress Administration, Crafts Class, 1935.

These activities are called crafts because originally many of them were professions under the guild system. Adolescents were apprenticed to a master-craftsman, and they refined their skills over a period of years in exchange for low wages. By the time their training was complete, they were well-equipped to set up in trade for themselves, earning their living with the skill that could be traded directly within the community, often for goods and services. The Industrial Revolution and the increasing mechanisation of production processes gradually reduced or eliminated many of the roles professional craftspeople played, and today "crafts" are most commonly seen as a form of hobby or art.

The term craft also refers to the products of artistic production or creation that require a high degree of tacit knowledge, are highly technical, require specialized equipment and/or facilities to produce, involve manual labour or a blue-collar work ethic, are accessible to the general public and are constructed from materials with histories that exceed the boundaries of western art history, such as ceramics, glass, textiles, metal and wood. These products are produced within a specific community of practice and while they differ from the products produced within the communities of art and design, the boundaries of such often overlap resulting in hybrid objects. Additionally, as the interpretation and validation of art is frequently a matter of context, an audience may perceive crafted objects as art objects when these objects are viewed within an art context, such as in a museum or in a position of prominence in one's home.

The term can also refer to the useful rural crafts of the agricultural countryside. Craftsmanship refers to Plato's idea of specialization, in which the lower society has a specific job in the greater society so that it functions properly as a whole.

Types of arts and crafts

There are almost as many variations on the theme of "arts and crafts" as there are crafters with time on their hands, but they can be broken down into a number of categories:

Crafts involving textiles

Crafts involving wood, metal or clay

Crafts involving paper or canvas

Crafts involving plants

Other crafts

See also

  • Craftivism
  • List of acronyms used in arts and crafts

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Arts and Crafts — Arts Crafts Papier peint de William Morris Le mouvement Arts Crafts, littéralement Arts et artisanats, est un mouvement artistique réformateur, né dans les années 1860 à 1910, époque glorieuse de l Angleterre victorienne. Il peut être considéré… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • arts and crafts — noun plural art or objects that are made by hand, for example POTTERY or NEEDLEWORK: an arts and crafts fair …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ARTS AND CRAFTS —    The English Arts and Crafts movement was first introduced in the 1860s by the English artist, writer, and socialist William Morris. With a particular focus on higher standards of handcrafted work that was more accessible to the growing middle… …   Historical Dictionary of Architecture

  • arts and crafts — noun the arts of decorative design and handicraft they sponsored arts and crafts in order to encourage craftsmanship in an age of mass production • Usage Domain: ↑plural, ↑plural form • Hypernyms: ↑art, ↑artistic creation, ↑artistic production …   Useful english dictionary

  • Arts and Crafts — El movimiento Arts and Crafts (literalmente, Artes y oficios) fue una escuela artística que surgió en Inglaterra a mediados del siglo XIX y se desarrolló en el Reino Unido y en los Estados Unidos durante los últimos años del siglo XIX y en los… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Arts and Crafts — Artischocken Tapete von John Henry Dearle für William Morris Co. um 1897 Das Arts and Crafts Movement war eine englische Bewegung in der Kunst und insbesondere im Produktdesign. Sie entstand in der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts, wurde maßgeblich von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Arts and Crafts — UK / US adjective made in a style that returned to using patterns, materials, and methods that existed before industrial production, following ideas developed in England in the late 19th century a collection of Arts and Crafts jewellery …   English dictionary

  • arts and crafts — UK / US noun [plural] art art or objects that are made by hand, for example pottery or needlework an arts and crafts fair …   English dictionary

  • Arts and Crafts Movement —   [ ɑːts ənd krɑːfts muːvmənt] das, englisch Bewegung zur Reform des Kunsthandwerks im 19. Jahrhundert. Sie ging von W. Morris aus, der 1861 mit Architekten und präraffaelitischen Malern eine Gesellschaft zur Herstellung kunsthandwerklicher… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Arts and Crafts (movement) — n. a social and artistic movement of the second half of the 19th cent. emphasizing a return to handwork, skilled craftsmanship, and attention to design in the decorative arts, from the mechanization and mass production of the Industrial… …   Universalium

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