I am at the University having just gone through the Northern Artisans Fair. I was impressed at how much it has grown from last year. The number of tables has at least doubled and the ATM ran out before noon. The range of materials used in the Fair this year impressed me. Artists work ranges from carvings, to recycled "blue" pine crafts, First Nations beadwork, paintings, instruments, there is pottery, weaving, jewellery, photography, and sandblasted rock work. My favorite however is probably the "edible art" chocolate hockey pucks with your favorite NHL team logo.
I like art that is also functional... sometimes known as crafts. Is an artisan an artist? I think so... if you check out my hyperlinks you will read that: "to become a master artisan, you have to produce a masterpiece that meets the standards of the guild." Can you see a masterpiece in a Christmas Oranment or in a hat that looks like cookie monster?
I took a "philosophy of art" course in my previous life as a Bachelor of Arts student. I fiercely debated the under-represented artisans' work as "art" (sorry that should be art with a capital "A"... and you should say that with some kind of accent... "Art" - as in high culture and big ideas). I think if a toilet installation in New York can be considered art than craft work that has been taught formally and informally across generations should be considered more than a kitchy skill. I also wonder if it is because many women tend to create "crafts" that some people are heistant to induct the work of artisans into the "Art" world. Perhaps it is because the work of the artisan is "hands-on" or manual and not always full of "heady" ideas that it's place in the "A" list is debated.
So I settle for being an appreciator of "Folk Art" (that's as close to the big "A" Art that I may be allowed to get) the art of "Arts n' Crafts" the realm of the self taught or apprenticed artisan. One thing I find funny is that this art is in most homes but rarely copped to as a work of art. I have a wooden siamese cat in my room carved by a man in Indonesia. This is probably my favorite piece of folk art. The cat is carved to look as though it is sleeping. It brings me peace... being an animal lover who is currently without animal. Sometimes the heady ideas that high culture requires are created by the meanings we place on those pieces we chose to adopt and love.