art vs craft, disappointed but not even any discussion

EDIT January 22: I’m going to add the response i gave to the owner admin of the group, at the end of this post. I don’t want to dwell on this anymore, have resolved it as much as i am comfortable with, and will go back to my Art and Craft. 🙂


I posted this photo on a very popular FB group, and had wonderful responses and reactions. Every time someone shared it, i would get an email notification: i do check, i am curious who likes, what possible demographic i’m hitting, what people think. Today i clicked on a one of those notices and got the ol’ “the person who shared this blahblah/the post is no longer blahblah” The entire post/photo had been deleted.

WTF? This is the second time something i’ve shared to the group has been treated this way, even after wonderful reactions, shares and comments.

These above were deleted as well, BUT currently in the group is a post from awhile ago by a Well Known Teacher: small pouches, dare i say without sounding sourgrapey, not nearly as “artistic”, engaging or original as mine. I guess i should have called the boxes “Reliquaries”, the pouches “Alembics”, snotty enough right? Boxes and pouches are just so plebeian, doncha know…………

How come these are art then?

embroidered moons, natural dye, arlee barr, hand embroideryOH i know, it’s the EASELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But it’s the same fucking technique, materials, skills and time.

Now i DO understand that this group’s mandate is Textile ART. They don’t want dollies, doilies, bags, socks, placemats–unless of course, the artist has worked in a political or socio-economic “statement”…….. HOWEVER, a fair bit of the work posted there is from people who are just jumping in without a clue about either the/any technique or the/any aspect of design. There are also some INCREDIBLY talented artists who share. I am not THE “Best”, but i’m not competing, nor is that my intent, by sharing, and i’m certainly not by a long long long shot, the Worst.

So, then i posted this:

Thank you all, those who shared my little vessels (boxes), hand dyed with natural dyes, hand embroidered with naturally dyed threads, with designs of my own. There’s a definite science and ART to using natural dyes, but apparently, it isn’t good enough for certain groups, even with over a hundred likes etc and many shares, because it isn’t “Art”, it’s “only Craft”. My post was deleted, the second time this has happened to me with my work in this group.

Craft is an art as well–we buy from, support, hold in esteem many craftsmen/women as well as artists–and where is the dividing line anyways? Is it craft because it’s useful, is it art only if it sits on a table or hangs on a wall?

I’m really disappointed, and hurt by this. I spend a lot of time and skill on not only dyeing my own fabrics and threads with historically accurate methods, but working out the designs, the mechanics and the presentation. I had hoped this group would not only be more receptive, but more supportive and encouraging.

I have my Big Girl Pants on, but they’re pretty knotted up right now. (I’m even ready for them to delete the post.)


WOW, it took only 2 seconds to be deleted. I didn’t even get a screenshot.

Why is tapestry an art? A quilt? A cross stitched porn picture? If they were made in the shape of something that could be functional, are they now “only” Craft? Whoa. Roll that tapestry into a cube and slap a lid on it, and now because it’s a box, it’s craft, not art? Why is embroidery an art if it’s hanging on a wall, or on a body, but if it can be Used for Something, it’s craft? The piss off is that if i had posted a hairy string laden “vessel” embroidered with fetishes and twats, it would have been “Art”– but because it could be “Used for something”, as opposed to just sitting on a shelf and being admired, it isn’t…….OMG THEY HAVE LIDS, THAT MUST BE THE PROBLEM..🤣.

I *do* have an “ulterior motive” by showing in these groups–i run a small business. It’s exposure. I need/want people to know what i do, where they can find it, what’s new with me. At least half of members in any of these groups are there for the same reason. It’s not cheap, it’s not wrong, it’s networking, advertising, sharing, educating, encouraging. Putting your eggs in one basket these days just ain’t gonna cut the mustard.

I was also asked if i could get over  “how many years hurt by rejection” i was going to take –well-meaning or not, from a respected friend, that kind of hurt too,  and i say: EVERY. FUCKING. YEAR. I am allowed to feel this way. This is part of my living, a lot of my reason for living, my joy in living. If you can roll that off your back, lucky you. Either that, or you’re lying to yourself……. If my kids are rejected, it does hurt. Even when the kids are gone/old.

You know what too? We don’t “art” something, we CRAFT it. Huh.


My addendum the day after i wrote this post:

Thank you all for the responses *you* “CRAFTED”. Obviously i know now that there is both too large *and* too small a line between the two viewpoints. I wasn’t looking for sympathy, but rather a discussion, or at least some thoughtful responses on the difference, if there IS any, between Art and Craft.

I heard back from the owner/admin of the group, and it was a kind, thoughtful response BUT, while i respect the rules of the group, (and yes, i agree the text post was a no no) i can’t really tell if there’s too large or too small a divider between art and craft in the group! I don’t know if it’s happened to others, but this really brought home the disdain brought to the table by some. (Speaking of whomever it was that deleted the posts originally.)

I have used the same materials, skills, techniques, time and originality to create these. Is the lower set “art” because of the presentation for wall or easel, and the upper set “craft” because it is functional? Technically, they are the same, but presented differently in the final “use”.

If i take a tapestry, considered art, fold it into a cube with a lid, and climb in, is it not now craft because it’s able to hold something? Form follows function? If i had pretentiously called the small forms/boxes “Reliquaries” and the pouches “Alembics”, would they then be art? So, under the parameters of the group then, ANYTHING that can be used as a functional item is not Art. And yet i see other posts with felted or machine stitched forms that are obviously BOTH art and craft.

Apparently then, it’s rather arbitrary, depending on which other admin gets there first.

I *did* thank her for the kind words, and the thoughtful response. I won’t leave the group, as that would be “cutting off my own nose to spite my face”, but i will be making very considered choices about what i share. (I will also not name the group, as that would not be fair to the artists there, or this particular Admin.)

There’s a lot of crap posted in the group, but there’s also a heck of a lot of incredibly talented artists as well. Dare i say, even some incredibly talented *craftspeople*?


10 responses to “art vs craft, disappointed but not even any discussion

  1. You are an artist….it is clear in everything you create. And you are right to be hurt, I sure as hell would be. But remember….this is just one person, a narrow minded critic who is blinded by their own tunnel vision.
    Aren’t there other FB groups where you could network, share, advertise and educate…..?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Art is what artists make. You are an artist. What you make is art. (And anyone who is the least bit interested in the empty distinction between “art” and “craft” can go xxxx themselves). No one with any sense or sensibility concerns himself or herself with the difference between “art” and “craft.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is always an asshole in every group, in every job, around every corner … the list goes on !
    You know you are an artist … hold your head high and wait … that a-hole will get her/his come-upence soon enough !

    I truly thought that ancient ‘art.vs.craft’ thing was long gone 😉
    Guess there are a few old dinosaurs still hanging around.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. What i found most interesting was that the majority of responses were along the lines of “who let the ignorant dinos in?” Probably 80% of the people who commented were of the mind that there is either a VERY fine line that is *rapidly* diminishing/disappearing, and in some areas, there is NO line anymore. The other 20% figured the design, originality, skill and an ephemeral quality made it Art. “Craft” was defined as following someone else’s plan, pattern, idea or working from kits, workshop classes, and sampling with no finished result or actual intent beyond the sampling.

    Also the age old ugly “woman’s work” attitude is severely decried and spat upon now 🙂 YES! Most of us realize that a lot of textile “traditions” no longer have the staid, polite, don’t rock the boat, oh aren’t i a silly little woman approach anymore. I ain’t a political artist, but i do get that!

    I think of Jan Hopkins work, using fruit peels to create the most wondrous vessels, human forms and household items and i doubt she’s lumped as “merely a crafter”! (Not that i am assuming i’m her calibre or talent, or comparing.)

    Thank you all again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so sick of this whole argument about art vs. craft. It is obvious that your work belongs in a textile art group. Thank you for voicing your opinion and your anger/hurt. I appreciate you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. (((Arlee))) having worked in both art and craft all my working life, I had an insight about this a few months back and scribbled it down, Art is whatever needs to happen next, craft people can do what their told…


  7. I will just mention the name Dora Carrington. Fine artist and decorative artist. Only now do you find her work in the Tate. Whereas her contemporaries and fellow artists and writes, the Bloomsbury group no less, found fame and a certain amount of notoriety too, she languished in the shadows for many years because, in some part, her Craft. Decorative art, and by that I mean art on something that is used rather than just seen, in my humble opinion is extremely complex, incorporating design skill, conceptual skills as well as technical applicationnskills and knowledge of materials. As a fine art student, an artist of twenty years and I’m proud to say I am also designer and crafter! I’m glad you’ve drawn a line under this, as they know nothing, in fact they know less than nothing…

    Liked by 1 person

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