What is craft?

”Contemporary craft is about making things. It is an intellectual and physical activity where the maker explores the infinite possibilities of materials and processes to produce unique objects. To see craft is to enter a world of wonderful things which can be challenging, beautiful, sometimes useful, tactile, extraordinary; and to understand and enjoy the energy and care which has gone into their making.’
– Rosy Greenlees
Director, Crafts Council

‘Craft is the knowledge of a language and its expressive possibilities. Shakespeare’s sonnets; Thonet’s bentwood chairs; Shostakovitch quartets: all can be described in terms of craft. Human imagination can use craft to invent freely in the world of ideas, materials and forms. Thus are the worlds of design, art, engineering, science and architecture all born of craft.’
– Amanda Game
Director, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh

‘Craft, art, and design are words heavily laden with cultural baggage. For me, they all connote the profound engagement with materials and process that is central to creativity. Through this engagement form, function, and meaning are made tangible. It is time to move beyond the limitations of terminologies that fragment and separate our appreciation of creative actions, and consider the “behaviors of making” that practitioners share.’
– David Revere McFadden
Chief Curator and Vice President, Museum of Arts & Design

‘What craft means to me is the making part, the how you make, and this is an exchange with materials – what you give to a material, and what it gives back. This exchange can be awkward, it can be a struggle, or one party can dominate, but if it is a productive exchange, then that’s when it’s worth looking at. But ultimately, it is the extra something that makes it special.’
– Christopher Frayling
Rector, Royal College of Art

‘Craft has changed its meaning fundamentally at least three times in the last two centuries, and it means fundamentally different things from nation to nation even in the Western world. So there can be no one-liner that identifies larger single meanings, as it doesn’t have one. If it is of use in the current context, it is to recognize the significance of genre-based practice in the arts. It should also be a useful category in a global cultural environment. It might even have meaning as a signifier of a socio-political outlook. But it should have nothing to do with aesthetics, and less to do with negative approaches to technology.’
– Paul Greenhalgh
Director, Corcoran Museum

‘Craft has never been more important than now, as an antidote to mass production and as a practice in which the very time is takes to produce an object becomes part of its value in a world that often moves too fast.’
– Caroline Roux
Acting Editor, Crafts magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.