It’s come around to dissertation time for me at university. I study art and I’ve often wanted to make something using knitting or bead weaving for my course but I felt like my peers wouldn’t take crafts seriously. And I know it’s not just a strange and paranoid delusion of my own imagining, because there is a sense of frustration felt by many crafters. There is a nice blog post from American Craft about it here.
Well, this year on my course I’m going to, in a way, put it to the test. Previously my artwork has been made using appropriated or found material, text, the spoken word and computer programs. I’ve grown a little disappointed with my own work that it doesn’t demonstrate the things I can do with my own two hands. I love using my hands, I love making things, I do this all the time at home but I always kept my art seperate… until now. I’m not going down this road to make a point to my peers, I’m just doing it to satisfy my own need. (And it’s not like it hasn’t been done before, there are plenty of contemporary artists using craft techniques out there. Just look at Tracey Emin’s quilts, for one).
So to help me understand how my new crafty artwork fits into an art context, I’m basing my dissertation on why craft seems less prestigious than art.
Now, I want to ask a little favour. If anyone could help me with my research in this area I would be eternally grateful. Absolutely any names of artists or crafters that I could look up would be great, any books or websites dealing with this issue or any other blog posts. Even if you simply post me a comment below with your opinion on this it would be fantastic. Have you felt the same as a crafter? Are you, too, a crafty kind of artist? What do you think the difference is between art and craft, if any?
I’ll keep you posted on my research and I will likely post my finished dissertation on the blog. Thanks for reading and I hope I’ve left you something to think about.
Bibliography – The quote in the title is from the American Craft blog I liked to written by Monica Moses. The top photo is Emin’s ‘Helter Fucking Skelter’ (2001) piece. The second image is a collection of fabrics with embroidery and patchwork by Louise Bourgeois named ‘Ode à l’oubli’ (2002).