Page 9 - CACT 2021 Spring
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What is in a name?  You wonder where these musings are going, I was wondering that myself for a while!

        Consider this then. We live more than ever in a world where the production of things
 Musing on the meaning of “Art or Craft”  is the driving force of much of our idea of civilisation and the creation of wealth. Our

 by Jamie Herschel  shops and homes are heaving with cheap imported “things”. I recall many years ago, at
        the dawn of imported junk, realising that an imported lookalike studio pottery mug,
        was being sold at a trade fair for less than we could buy the clay, never mind make
 ost of my working life has been  heavily  influenced by the “Arts and Crafts”   one. Further down the aisle paintings were for sale produced on an industrial scale by
 movement  of William Morris et al.  The overriding message from the   peasants in the Far East who were paid just enough to keep them alive.
 Mmovement was to try and furnish both our environment and lives with things
 of beauty through art and design. The concept of “Art & Craft” is in itself a bit of a   Question then is – “is their work any less a work of art or craft?”
 conundrum. What is “Art” and what is “Craft”. Where indeed do they meet and where
 do they divide?  I don’t have an answer to this except to wonder do we need to also consider the concept
        behind the creation of “Art”. Are we looking for originality? Is the only work worth
 It is surprising how many times I have had  this  conversation  with  artists  and craftsmen   considering that produced by accepted successful Artists? Is the finest “Wedgwood” art,
 over the years. Indeed, should our “Trail” be called the “Arts and Crafts Trail”? This is   craft or just an industrial product. Are prints just a false facsimile of real art? Is a thrown
 probably the one suggestion that is likely to bring purists scrambling to the barricades   pot more pure than one cast as series of dozens in a mould? Is a hand thrown pot worth
 to defend the concept of “Fine Art” and the need to keep craftsmen in their place. Their   more as it is unique?
 place of course being the fabrication of “things” while the real “Artists” get on with the
 important work of producing “Fine Art”.   I could go on as any
        readers  who are still  with
 We have little difficulty in calling a painter of pictures an “Artist”. We don’t call them a   me could. The point I
 “Painter” because that’s a chap in white overalls with a bucket of paint   am making is this, our
 and a ladder. Do we call a potter a “Potter” because he’s a chap with   “Art Trail” is a wonderful
 a ball of clay and a wheel, and then we may call another individual a   eclectic  mix  of all  sorts
 “Ceramicist” because he or she produces something considered more   of “Artists & Craftsmen”.
 like sculpture and therefore “Art”?  Should we call the “Ceramicist” an   The worth or hierarchy of
 “Artist” then?  Is the beachcomber with a desire to create a small or   their work, considering
 large sculpture from the serendipity of found objects an “Artist”? Does   the enumerable variables,
 a “Fine Artist” craft their work carefully. Are they then a “Craftsman”?     seems to me to be a very
 Well then what’s in a name?  personal decision.

 Some years ago, when the “Art Trail” was involved in running the   What I think we might all
 “Boots Gallery” in Aberystwyth, I was constantly amazed by the   agree on though is this. Our world would be a very much less pleasant place if there
 number of ordinary members of the public who were willing to pay serious money for   were no works of art or craft. Whether  we call it “Original”,  Unique”,  “Art”, “Craft”,
 original works. I purposely use the word “works” rather than “Art” as much of what was   “Pottery”, “Painting”,” Sculpture”, or anything else seems irrelevant. The important thing
 on display strayed out of the traditional idea of an “Art Gallery”. There was an eclectic   is that there are many people engaged in making things of beauty and just as many
 mixture of work, all in my opinion attempting to fulfil the very concept of William   willing to pay the cost of their production.
 Morris et al to bring things of beauty to ordinary people.  Admittedly the “Art & Crafts”
 movement was primarily driven by a very middle-class band of brothers and sisters, but   Do we then call our public “Consumers”, “Customers”, “Collectors”, the list goes on? The
 the influence of their ideas has undoubtedly percolated into life of all classes ever since.  question remains. “What’s in a name?”.

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