Distinguishing Between Art & Craft

Art vs Craft

Although art and craft are often used interchangeably, there is a subtle distinction between the two. According to the Oxford Dictionary, craft is defined as “an activity involving skill in making things by hand,” while art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

What is Craft?

Craft is skilled work that involves the application of techniques and human intelligence. Crafts are typically created to serve a practical purpose, such as handbags, boxes, or hand fans. Some people pursue craft work as a profession, while others engage in it as a pastime. The traditional terms “craftsman” and “craftswoman” have increasingly been replaced by the term “artisan.”

What is Art?

Art serves an aesthetic purpose, appealing to the human mind and requiring creativity. Unlike craft, art is not necessarily focused on creating practical or functional objects.

What is the difference between Art and Craft?

British philosopher R.G. Collingwood states that a craftsman knows what they want to create before they make it, while art expresses emotion, which craft does not. Craftsmanship typically involves earning money as a motive, whereas art does not necessarily have this motive. Craft can be considered an extension of art, but the reverse is not necessarily true.

Key Takeaways

  • Craft work is skilled work that serves a practical purpose, while art serves an aesthetic purpose.
  • Art expresses emotion, whereas craft does not.
  • Craftsmanship often involves earning money as a motive, while art does not necessarily have this motive.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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