I admit it. I was an Art Snob. I didn’t consider crafts an art form. Yes, glass blowing, metal smithing, maybe even pottery, but I turned my nose up at cropping, stamping and needlework. I saw them as “housewife” or ‘granny-crafts”, color-inside-the-lines for those who had no imagination. And collage, well, that was just something for people who couldn’t draw or paint. That was, until I saw some of the amazingly creative things artists do with fiber, paper and glue. Now, I’m a convert.
My old attitude came from a misguided background in fine art. Actually, I was a misfit in a competitive Design , Art and Architecture College at a large university. It was immediately apparent they’d made a mistake accepting me into the art education program. I’m a creative idea generator but to say I’m not a perfectionist is an understatement. Several of our design courses were combined with architecture and industrial design students and, well, let’s just say, I didn’t fit in. Another part of the curriculum was classic training in the fine arts of drawing, painting and sculpture. It was unacceptable if not laughable to even consider creating anything functional and the idea of mixed media? Not even concidered art. Today, so many of my favorite artists combine materials to create stunning visual art.
Decades later as I walked the aisles of the Buyer’s Market of American Craft in Philli or the American Crafts Council Show, I thought, “Why didn’t I know when I was in school that metal work or glass blowing were viable options as an artist? And as I looked around my gallery full of delighted customers purchasing “functional” art (craft), I visualized the disapproving face of my old college professor and smiled, happy I that I’d followed my heart and opened my mind to the world outside of fine art.
Yes, I’m still in awe of painters and sculptors and I do have fine art hanging in my home. I’m also proud of the funky, fun, functional craft I own. It makes me happy and I know that the crafts people I purchased it from are artists as well.