Monday, August 20, 2007

Art and craft

I rarely think about art, but I *do* art a lot. Or so I think.

Over the weekend, I participated in a local show, dubbed Alley Gallery (a self-proclaimed lowbrow art sale). I also wove 19 yards of cloth, enough for seven wraps of varying sorts. I'm sorry to say the latter was much more lucrative work.

While I was at the show Friday, an artist pal and I chatted about this and that, mostly money, sales and how to get by as an artist. These topics seem to occupy a fair amount of her waking hours. I don't need to make a living as a weaver, but I could if I had to. I'm sure I'd have worries, but one thing I would not worry about is whether people would buy my work.

I think weaving full time would count as being an artist for a living, but my pal hinted that might be up for debate. I know there are divides among craftsmen: Painters and photographers aren't the same animal as weavers, woodworkers, potters and metalsmiths.

And I know that people who show in galleries or do installation art aren't the same as craftsmen (and women, though I've met few craftswomen who see craftsman as a gender-specific term). But I wasn't aware that any of them really thought we (craftsmen) weren't doing art.

On the flip side, I see a lot of art that is done with very poor craftsmanship. If it were my call to make, my alma mater would require studio art majors to take (and pass, god damn it) a course in craftsmanship. I'm not saying you can't have good art without good craftsmanship, but if you're going to sell something, a little professional pride wouldn't hurt.

I guess that's another can of worms, the selling part. I've yet to weave something I think nobody would buy, but I don't think that spoils the items as pieces of art. I think that might be up for debate, too.

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