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Arts and crafts

From Academic Kids

Arts and crafts comprise a whole host of activities and hobbies that are related to making things with one's own 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 practiced in a very small geographic area.

Additionally, this term refers to the Arts and Crafts movement which was a design movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, whose proponents included William Morris and Edwin Lutyens. They believed that medieval craftsmen achieved a joy in the excellence of their work, which they strove to emulate.

These 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 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.

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 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.

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 labor 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 ones home.

Contents

Types of arts/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

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