Monday, September 12

Is it art or craft?

Apologies if this falls outside of the normal 'fluffy' ramblings of the Hippo brain, but lately there's been a raging debate about Folksy which I've mainly seen through tweets of friends - real and virtual. On a personal level we have not been affected as we don't sell through Folksy, but know many that have been. A friend we recently made at a craft meet up has been told her jewellery is not appropriate under their new rules. Basically the rules are now in place so that if you 'assemble' items rather than making every piece from scratch then you are not considered hand made. Apologies if I've over simplified, or misunderstood but that appears to be the gist of it. So it got me thinking - what is craft? what constitutes hand made? and how far do we need to take the definition?

I looked on the V&A museum website as a starting point and got this:

Caroline Broadhead

'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.'

So, with that in mind, does the jeweller assembling items not need skill and, as Caroline Broadhead says, add that something extra to make it special? I do, however, accept that there are different levels to this debate - otherwise this site would not have acted as they have. There will always be purists that say unless you have made every item yourself it is not truly handmade and there is some merit in that line of argument. For instance the crafter that buys items in and just paints one heart or similar and trys to claim a hand made piece. But, and this for me is the critical part, who decides? Where do we draw the line as to craft, hand made or assembled?

I suspect this debate will continue for some time, with no real satisfactory answer - but, in the meantime we would like to show our support for hand made by adding this to our site:

Support handmade, however it's made
here for the originator of this badge, and where we first came across the debate - Diddy Bears

For those of you that are affected, I hope you get a satisfactory outcome quickly and that it doesn't affect business too greatly.

Angie xx