Kitsch or cool? What is the difference between Arts and Crafts?

Kitsch or cool? What is the difference between Arts and Crafts?
Craft Example

Kitsch or cool? What is the difference between Arts and Crafts?

So often, arts and crafts get a bad rep for its title. It stands for kitsch, kids and something we used to do in the 90’s. I spent my child life growing up wanting be the epitome of an artist and a full-time crafter. Now as a mom of two, I couldn’t run faster from term arts and go towards crafts. So, what is the difference between these two…

So often the terms art and craft are thrown together in conversation when in actual fact, these terms couldn’t be further opposites. We need to look in isolation at what is Art and what is Craft, in order to appreciate the meaning of each one.

What is the meaning of art?

The term artist has a very regal connotation. A fine artist was traditionally valued very highly in society. I have been lucky to spend hours in the world’s best museums, viewing world famous art pieces. We’ve all been disappointed by the size and impact Mona Lisa right?! The hundreds of tourists surrounding her doesn’t help.

The Oxford dictionary defines art as “The application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpting, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”. Taking this one step further, art is the expression of emotional feelings, thoughts and observations. We would even go so far as to say that for art to be considered in its true form, the art needs to be original and not copied.

To illustrate the idea of Art; at the launch event of Scribble and Scratch, a group of 18 attendees were each given a few minutes, a section of blank canvas, and far too many colours to choose from. There was no brief and no reference images. Each attendee was given creative license and had to leave a mark by which they could be remembered. Below is the collective art piece that was created.

Art Example
Art Example


What is the meaning of crafts?

With such a dramatic meaning of art, we need to turn our focus to craft. Referring again to the Oxford dictionary it is defined as “An activity involving skill in making things by hand”. Traditional examples of Craft include weaving, carving, pottery, embroidery, origami, beading, quilting and the list goes on. The list of what is considered Craft has grown significantly over the last few years to also include broader categories such as DIY. The Craft Council of America implies that crafts can be powerful and can act as an antidote for therapy, counterculture and deception.

Below is an example of Craft where we’ve taken an existing frame found in a general store, and using our hands we’ve transformed it into something else. Although achieved using modern materials, many traditional forms of Crafts have been used.


Finally we ask ourselves, what is the difference between Arts and Crafts?

There is certainly some overlap but in essence Arts uses tools to express emotions or ideas, while Crafts uses those same tools but produces a tangible product or object that brings joy.

Both concepts are important and carry differing benefits and expressions in the world of creativity. We couldn’t live without either one!

Over at Scribble and Scratch we celebrate and embrace both of these concepts and promote products that can allow anyone, beginner or expert, to dive deeper into their passion. The term arts and crafts is definitely making a resurgence with so many psychological and emotional benefits for our children. Keep an eye out, we’ll share our thoughts in this soon. You’ll be surprised at how great arts and crafts really is.