Craft  

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"The way that only certain activities are classified today as art is a social construction. The art history book The Invention of Art (2003), referencing "The Modern System of the Arts" (1951) by Paul Oskar Kristeller, finds evidence that the older system of the arts before our modern system (fine art) held art to be any skilled human activity i.e. Ancient Greek society did not possess the term art but techne. Techne can be understood neither as art or craft, the reason being that the distinctions of art and craft are historical products that came later on in human history. Techne included painting, sculpting and music but also; cooking, medicine, horsemanship, geometry, carpentry, prophecy, and farming etc." --Sholem Stein


"Cockerell's division of the arts into poetry and prose revealed the continuing sense that poetry was one of the fine arts. It also identified high art with non-functional objects. For Cockerell, in order to be a truly disinterested vehicle of artistic ideas, a genre had to be severed from perceivable use-value. For this reason, he positions architecture alongside the decorative arts. For Redgrave, utility was irrelevant. The intention behind the creation of the object was the key to its status as art. Using a position usually associated with John Ruskin, he was arguing that an was a quality that could be applied to any ..." --The Culture of Craft (1997) is a book by Peter Dormer

Bodegón (Still Life with Pottery Jars) (c. 1650) by Francisco de Zurbarán
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Bodegón (Still Life with Pottery Jars) (c. 1650) by Francisco de Zurbarán

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A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the Middle Ages and earlier, the term is usually applied to people occupied in small scale production of goods, or their maintenance, for example by tinkers. The traditional term craftsman is nowadays often replaced by artisan and by craftsperson.

Historically, the more specialized crafts with high-value products tended to concentrate in urban centers and their practitioners formed guilds. The skill required by their professions and the need to be permanently involved in the exchange of goods often demanded a higher level of education, and craftspeople were usually in a more privileged position than the peasantry in societal hierarchy. The households of artisans were not as self-sufficient as those of people engaged in agricultural work, and therefore had to rely on the exchange of goods. Some crafts, especially in areas such as pottery, woodworking, and various stages of textile production, could be practiced on a part-time basis by those also working in agriculture, and often formed part of village life.

When an apprentice finished their apprenticeship, they became a journeyman searching for a place to set up their own shop and make a living. After setting up their own shop, they could then call themselves a master of their craft.

This stepwise approach to mastery of a craft, which includes the attainment of some education and skill, has survived in some countries to the present day. But crafts have undergone deep structural changes since and during the era of the Industrial Revolution. The mass production of goods by large-scale industry has limited crafts to market segments in which industry's modes of functioning or its mass-produced goods do not satisfy the preferences of potential buyers. As an outcome of these changes, craftspeople today increasingly make use of semi-finished components or materials and adapt these to their customers' requirements or demands. Thus, they participate in a certain division of labour between industry and craft.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Craft" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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