Lessons in Craft

"Bernard worked in a part of the shop that was away from the rest of us. He had a separate studio upstairs, and so we didn't actually see him making pots so much. But when he wanted to decorate his ware, it had to come down to the glazing room, where the pigments and slips and so forth were for decorating. And one day he brought down about three boards full of pots, 20 pots, let's say, and then he got called away to the phone, and we, of course, all went into the glazing room to see what he had brought down, and we were able to ick up and handle his work. And there was a man who worked in the pottery, Bill Marshall, and Bill was technically the best thrower in the pottery. He could work with more clay; he could shape it quickly and easily and throw very well. And Bill looked at all these pots and picked them up and handled them and so on. And he finally said something which shocked us, but I guess I would have to have agreed with it. He said, "Bernard can't throw worth a damn." And we all thought, oh, well. And then Bill finished his statement. He said, "But he makes better pots than any of us."'

Thinking Through Craft Skilled On Bernard Leach, Adamson.

The separation of Art and Craft is not new, but with the rise of DIY we again see an interest in Skilling and Deskilling. We have made room for the makers. This moment of reengagement is coupled with new alternative artist run spaces and looks and feels so much like the 70s when the Craft Centers such as Ander Ranch Arts Center in Colorado and the installation space PS I22 opened for artist residencies. The line between art and craft is not new; the boundaries between craft and art have long been contested. But with the explosion of interest in craft, from the Make Do and Mend craze, the new cool of the Women's Institute and graffiti knitting to artists' (such as Ai Weiwei) connection with traditional skills and Richard Sennet's collection of essays The Craftsman gaining interest and coverage, it seems to be the time to talk about it.

Ask the Question, what you can say with one craft and not another?