Discussion

Questions I am often asked:

Q: What is the difference between an Artist, Artisan and Crafter? What is High Art versus High Craft?
A: These terms have been used in several different ways over time by many different people.  Art can be seen in useless or purposeless, merely decorative objects, or in utilitarian, everyday pieces.
 

Artists:  Artists seem to have a vision that others often cannot see or cannot explain and are able to translate ethereal things to the more basic level that most people begin to understand or appreciate.

Artisans: I recently heard it said simply that a true actor is one who can do everyone else’s parts.  I believe this is true of Artisans.  They are skilled at understanding processes and materials and often take up or can adapt to other media.  I know true Artisans who prepare their own splints from logs for basketry, spin their own wool, blow their own glass, or smelt and hammer their own sculpture and jewelry.  Formerly I would have considered these people true Craftsmen, though in the modern world, that term now has its own connotations created from the availability of crafting materials and craft stores and craftiness.

Crafters and Craftspeople:  Those who can take prefabricated materials and assemble them into artistic items.  They buy materials from manufacturers and piece them together.  

Q: Why should we buy local when there are cheaper imported goods of seemingly similar quality?
A: Consider how many people in this country are struggling to make ends meet through the work of their own hands and resources.  For some things it is practical to use manufactured goods and disposable items,  of course, while for other things handmade items reflect a quality of life and thought taken into consideration and on the value of material goods and resources around us. 


Some basic living costs are higher in this country than in others costly in relative proportion to our economy than that of the same goods in another economy.  The difference comes in using the value systems out of context to their cultures and socio-economic worlds.

Q: How are prices determined and why do they seem so high?
A: Materials cost, Hours of Labor, Skill of the Artisan.


Materials: Most Artisans do not skimp on materials, but use the best they can get. They seek until they find that which fits the process they are working with for specific desired results, though sometimes accidents do happen with fortuitous ends.  Quality is important for stability, endurance, and lasting nature as well as for appearance and workability.  

Hours of Labor:  Most Artisans do a lot of hand work, rather than machine work.  They also pay meticulous attention to detail to make unique pieces.  Consider the skill which you expect from other skilled laborers and the training that they go through.  Artisans do the same.  It is a learned skill, though some do come by their crafts more easily than others.  

Skill of the Artisan: 
True Artisans train over the course of many years in their crafts.  Artisans attend workshops on techniques and study under other artisans.  Most products are the culmination of many years of practice and experience gained from success and failures.  There is  a dedication to certain aesthetics.  Take time to recognize that you may get a glimpse into the world of crafts through one or two classes, and through trials and error you may learn to master them.  To many artisans, the first several years of work should be considered of little value, only part of the learning process.    If asked, many will say they are still learning and will not acknowledge their mastery as others see it.   In fact many see their whole lives as a process of growth.



Amy C. Lund Handweaver, Studio & Gallery
3964 Main Road Tiverton, RI 02878 401-816-0000

Regular Hours: Wed-Sun 10-5, weather permitting

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