Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Beyond, But Not Without Craft

I have little patience with simple craft. Simplicity, while good and cleansing in some forms, lacks enough depth to last. That is possibly the difference between art and craft. Can you create any art without some sense of craft? I doubt it. Sometimes the craft itself is simply a particular discipline; the order in which we create and the intellectual property we employ to wield our own craft to create our own art.

We can use simple craft to explore techniques which is why I keep a "running" journal, adding new forms and ideas, learning and exploring. If I do not, however, infuse what I produce with some bit of my self, then it lacks any message and is easily discarded. Likewise, the assemblage can withstand rearrangement if the components are meaningful either individually or as a grouping. I love pondering the intricacy of another artist's work such as what compels them to repeat certain elements but not others. Judy Vogland's love of tea surfaces in work after work, including used tea bags. Donna Bauermiller's evolving circles phasing in and out of moons.

I am not opposed to coloring books or paint-by-numbers or other simple pursuits. They allow you to focus on color, application and experience how things go together. I would not keep the end result any more than I would keep a completed puzzle book. Not unless I had collaged over the pages or had annotated them in some way. Actually, that might be a fun project...