In undergraduate, I minored in Studio Art. From the beginning, this was my “fun” minor; I already had a major in English and another minor in Computer Science as a “just in case,” so art was because I had the time and opportunity. It was an wonderful chance to use supplies and machinery that I right assumed I would never have the means to use again, at least, not without a studio fee or a millionaire’s salary.
During this time, I got involved in printmaking. What a magical discipline of the arts–it is a blend of severe discipline and throw-your-hands-up willy nilly. I could–and will–have an entire post on the beauty of this art, and its origins for me, at another time.
Suffice it to say, for my final project to complete my minor, I wanted to incorporate my new favorite art, lithography, with knitting, something I truly enjoyed doing. At that time, I, surprisingly, had to fight for my right to knit art. According to my professor, knitting was craft, not art, and I could not complete a craft project for an art minor. I had to find a way to make knitting art.
I did, by creating a family tree, both satisfying myself and my professor. However, I still was not satisfied with knitting, as a definition, being craft and not art. Was I really to believe this was less of an art than fingerpainting, or twenty-first century smudging on canvas, or works that have three paint strokes down a seventy-inch wide canvas? Wasn’t knitting hundreds of hours of fine, concetrated work, often tasking every reserve of patience and discipline you possess? Why, since it finished functional, could it no longer be considered art? Why, if I could sell it, did it downgrade to craft? Painters and drawers sell their work, and they are “doing art.”
Where is this line drawn?
Moreover, why is “craft” something less? It was spoken about in our classroom like it wasn’t worthy of being included in galleries, or treated as seriously as art, or something to cherish. Isn’t craft a seller putting their all into a piece to make a livelihood? What’s more deserving than that?
For me, two years later, I still don’t have the answer. I still feel slightly slighted and indignant of behalf of fellow sellers. I would love to know your views.