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About Arts and Crafts

12-24-2012 / By: Easy Life

Art and crafts was a movement established in the 19th century that focused on design reform based on the concept that visual arts are spatial rather than temporal. In the art of painting, space is an illusion, a representation of three dimensions in two. Sculpture, however, can use three dimensions to represent three dimensions, and is best experienced from a moving vantage point. Architecture, also being three-dimensional, defines and orders spaces in order to make them suitable for human activities. Another premise of the movement is that the physical materials used by artists influence the properties and the character of the resulting work. In other words, great art must be in harmony with its medium.

Such activities are called crafts because originally many of them were professions. Adolescents were apprenticed to a master-craftsman, and they refined their skills over a period of years. By the time their training was complete, they were well-equipped to set up in trade for themselves, earning their living with the skill of their hands. The Industrial Revolution and the increasing mechanization 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.

Crafts are objects made by hand that either have a functional or decorative purpose and are categorized as visual arts. An individual who creates crafts or engages in the decorative arts is referred to as a craftsperson, artisan, designer-craftsperson, fiber artist, blacksmith, glassblower, etc. Depending on the specialization of the craftsperson, an understanding of certain materials, among them clay, fiber, glass, metal, and wood, is necessary. Likewise, a variety of tools and techniques associated with the process must also be among the knowledge base of such artists.

Most crafts require a combination of skill and talent, but they can also be learnt on a more basic level by virtually anyone. Many Community centers 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.

Decorative arts are a term that loosely refers to a variety of objects that serve a practical and decorative purpose. Included in this category are furniture, textiles, ceramics, glassware, jewelry, apparel, architectural decor, and folk art. While the decorative arts are often taken up by amateurs, there have been many artists throughout history that have engaged in such activity. Raphael, for example, created tapestry designs, and Pablo Picasso produced paintings on ceramics. Frank Lloyd Wright, a 20th century American architect, produced not only an array of unique buildings, but often furnished them, believing that interior design was an integral part of the overall architectural plan.

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