Thursday, January 28, 2010

Craft - A Digression from my Inner Word Geek

Okay I want you to do something for me... think about the word "craft". What's the first thing that pops into your head, and be honest. Now hold that thought because today we have a visit from my inner word geek and she's really worked up about the denigration of this word. Oh my, she's here already, "denigration"?! Usually I can keep her in the back of my head, though she's prone to popping out with comments like, "Don't use the word "wonderful" again, plu-eeze!", and the occasional non sequiter remarks like"I love the word exacerbate", or "why doesn't anyone say popinjay anymore?" but she's here and toting a dictionary today so watch out!

This all started with a conversation I had last weekend. A couple of my friends were discussing getting together for a craft night so we could bounce ideas off each other, maybe learn some new skills, and generally let our creative sides out to play and grow. I asked another friend if she might like to join us and she got a horrified look on her face and replied that she wasn't "crafty" and that was "something she would do with her kids." I was astonished! What would make a terrifically intelligent and highly creative person respond so negatively? "Crafty?!" Ouch!


So I started thinking about the word "Craft" and I just couldn't stop. According to Merriam Webster Craft means:
1 : skill in planning, making, or executing :dexterity
2 : an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill
3 : skill in deceiving to gain an end
4: to make with skill artistry or precision SYN: see ART
5: plural usually craft a : a boat especially of small size (okay geek, this one's not really relevant...)

So the main word I'm seeing there is "skill". Skill is something that is learned, usually through hard work and lots of practice right? Some lucky folk are born with innate talent but they still have to acquire skill. Skilled artistry is the major component of most of what society considers "Art" and most artists will describe the process of acquiring that skill as "learning their craft". But here's the problem, despite the fact that they are synonyms, somewhere along the way craft and art became separated in our minds. Art became an acceptable and admired way to work but craft was relegated to a frivolous pursuit involving popsicle sticks and lots of glue; an unimportant activity best left to women with nothing better to do and small children. Somehow we went from William Morris and the Arts and Craft movement to an occupation for children, camp counselors, and Martha Stewart wannabes.

Now I can see how it happened. First off there's the tendency to discount any craft that is mainly practiced by women. Sewing, knitting, embroidery, crochet have always been seen as arts that women learn, making them "woman's work" and thus less important or artistic. Making the practice of these arts a "crafty" pursuit belittles the amount of time involved in really learning these skills. These crafts are seen as somehow less worthy than say painting or pottery...despite the fact that they require the same amount of skill to do well. So we venerate the great painters, writers, and musicians of history but the seamstresses remain unknown.

Secondly, for years now we've had all kinds of folks on television telling women that they can make this and that craft with just a little time and almost no effort if they'll just buy this book/paper/glue/pattern. It's become another form of mass consumerism. And as a veteran of many craft shows I can tell you that lots of people have bought into the notion that just about anything constitutes "crafts"...just wind some wire and beads around a wine glass or glue some silk flowers to a pin and you're in business. On one hand I think it's wonderful that more people are exploring their creativity and playing with all kinds of art mediums but if it doesn't require skill can we really call it craft?

So there we are... It just seemed important to me that I put up some kind of defense for the word and hopefully help it to recover some of the respect that it deserves. Let's embrace the word "Craft" and fight the derogatory baggage that it's acquired in the 21st century. Don't be afraid to just might learn an art!
So now what did you think of when I first mentioned craft? Did I change your mind any?

And just in case you're still with me, I did load some new dolls in the shop so go take a peek. And I promise to keep the word geek in check for awhile.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Finished Dolls and Free Stuff!

First the Free Stuff ...for a very cool give away head over to the ADO blog. Several doll artists are participating in the one World One Heart Giveaway and there are some wonderful pieces on offer. Yours truly did not get her act together soon enough to participate ...sigh...maybe next year.

And now the Finished...

Beach Fae

2 Fae


This one is named Calida (which means fiery) and is a chili pepper fairy in honor of my husband who is a Serious chili head (Well my 3 sons are too, you would faint at the amount of hot sauce this family can consume in a month.)

Next time a discussion from my inner word geek on the word "Craft"! See you soon....

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Not one ...not two...but three art dolls! Two are a commission and one for the shop. Hopefully finished by the end of the week.... week two of resolution kept (and I'm up to eight books read so far, see list at the bottom of the side bar if you want to know what I'm reading.) Not too shabby....
I'll post again with the finished dolls as soon as they're done and we get some sun.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Old Crow, or Keeping a Resolution

Old Crow and the Moon

So here is the finished work I began last week. I wish you could see the colors better as the purple and green silks are very iridescent. I've already hung it in the kitchen, finally filling the space that has been waiting for months. Yay for the keeping of my New Years let's see if I can keep it up....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Someone's been eating my porridge!

And it just may have been this little scamp!

Actually Goldilocks is a reformed cat burglar and now she feeds little bear instead of stealing his breakfast.

It was fun perusing the web to find info about the history of this fairy tale. For some reason I thought it was one of Grimm's, but it's not at all. According to Sur La Lune, (a must read site for anyone interested in fairy tales) the earliest recorded version is from 1831, which in the realm of fairy tale literature is not that long ago, although it was probably told as an oral tale for many years previously. In that version, as well as later ones, the intruder is either a fox or an old woman and not the golden haired child so familiar to readers today. She didn't appear until much later.
And that is your little fairy tale factoid for today!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy New Year Last!

Gracious! A new year and I'm already running behind...ah well it's pretty much situation normal for me. I hope you all had a lovely holiday and are finding yourselves more up to speed in the new year then yours truly.

As a rule I don't make resolutions... but this year I've made two! First , inspired by a friend who is going to try and read 50 books this year, I've decided to keep track of how many I read. I think it will probably be way more then 50, I've finished 3 this first week, but I really have no idea and I'd love to know. So I'm going to start a new record in my side bar there ---> and perhaps I'll even be inspired to do the occasional review. Secondly I've decided to take some time Every week and make or work on something just because I want to! I know, radical right? I figure it's one way to cope with the art versus commerce dilemma. So this week I began work on a small hanging for the kitchen that has been kicking around in my head for months now. Here's the first stages..

That wonderful moon is a vintage mother of pearl button that my wonderful sister gave me for my is SO fabulous!

I also reopened the shop this week and added a bunch of new dolls...most of which sold out immediately...Yay !...but these two are still there and I'm back to work to make some more. See you soon!