Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cookie Cutter Crafts - A mild rant on my part

Quite a while ago some well meaning but in my opinion, misguided artist posted on one of the forums I read regularly.  Their issue was what they called "cookie cutter crafts" littering up the spaces on sites meant for hand crafted items.  It was their feeling that if a person does not make everything in an item, it really isn't hand made, it's just "hand assembled".   They felt such pieces did not belong on a site selling handmade items, nor could it be called art.

That really got my goat.   I stewed over it for a long time.  I kept silent on the forum but many others did not.  The fur flew on both sides of the issue for quite a while.  It finally died down and faded but I'm sure the issue will come up again eventually.  Some one will think they have the ultimate in opinions and post it again.

Yes, it did bother me.  I kept wondering if my earrings were not worth the price I place on them because they would be considered "cookie cutter" items.  I purchase all the parts.  It's the putting of the part together that takes time, and an artistic eye.  Some days I was close to pulling them off the Internet but something kept telling me not to.  I looked at a lot of others selling similar jewelry.  Was theirs better than mine?  Did they not belong either?  Many I found were obviously just thrown together as fast as possible.   Others showed a lot of thought and talent went into them.  Stew...stew... stew....

I stewed until Christmas came around.  Have you ever made cut out cookies?  Every year I swear I am not making them, and every year I end up doing so.  The extent of my decorations is different colored sugars I put on top before baking.  Forget icing!  I just can't do it.  I've tried.  It always looks like a Kindergarten project when I'm finished.  Just before Christmas I watched a baker meticulously decorating her cookies with a pastry bag, dabbing and dotting and smoothing and whirling that frosting into beautiful works of art.  That is when it hit me!  Cookie cutter crafts can be art just as those cookies she was making.   She didn't make the cutter she was using, she didn't grow and grind the flour, nor did she milk the cow and churn the butter. She took parts she bought and with knowledge and skill, put them together.  Both  cookies and crafts take time, knowledge, skill and patience. So what if I don't "bake from scratch" with all of my jewelry.  It can still be beautiful and it can still be considered art.  Next time that discussion hits the forums I may not be so silent!

While you are here, sign up for my PIF Beaders Giveaway below.  I have put together a nice little package for some lucky winner.   



EVA SB said...

Some people always like to criticise others. Often is their of boosting their own confidence.

What they don't seem to understand is the question of an artistic eye - it's not so much what you put together but how.

Linda said...

I love your earrings! They are so pretty and you have a way with putting different components together - your own style and you have a great eye for color combinations!

Your latest ones remind me of spring time coming around the corner.

Jenni said...

Well spoken ~ and a clever craft to parallel! I've wondered the very same question as a beaded aka jewelry designer. I have come to the same conclusion. So, let those who need to pat their own backs do so..we'll just keep doing what we love!

Klo Designs said...

I have to agree with you. Just because you don't necessarily make everything that goes into the piece does not make one less of an artist.

Beach Vintage said...

Anything put together from something else is craft/art to me. Great post.

beyondbaffled said...

Beautifully said. Yes, your earrings may start as many parts and pieces, but it's when you put them together that they become art.
The people on the Greenleaf forum that I belong to don't necessarilly make every piece that goes into their dollhouses, but the craftmanship and detail that goes into those minis scenes is definitely artistic creation to me.