In my August’s blogs, I discussed how I started in Fused Glass and the various Fused Glass classes I have taken. My two favorite forums about Fused Glass are my Boot Camp Group with Tanya and Glass Campus group put on by Dennis Brady. In the Glass Campus forum, Dennis started asking members their view regarding Artist, Artisan, and Craftsman. It was a fascinating string and it reminded me of my last show. A customer picked up a fused glass “dish” and said oh you can put fruit in this one. I quickly said no that one is more “Art” i.e., just for aesthetic purposes. Then I pointed to another Fused Glass bowl and said this one could probably be used for fruit, because it is a little sturdier.
I have always liked dishes some I use for everyday eating i.e., my Polish pottery or my Japanese dishes albeit, my fragile and delicate dishes I have up on kitchen wall i.e., my colorful bowls from Turkey. The fused glass in my house is a mixture of functional and decorative e.g., a fused glass dish art is in the center of my dining room table) but I also have functional i.e., candy dishes, tea bag holders, spoon rest, soap dish , etc.)
I’m digressing, my point is why did I differentiate between my lovely Fused Glass bowls, the second one I showed her was just as beautiful as the first. Which brings me back to the forum questions, “What is Art?”, and “What is the difference between an Artist, Artisan, and Craftsman”? There was a lot of discussion on the Forum, so I did what I do and researched it.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term “artist” as “a person who practices any of the various creative arts” (including painter, sculpture, novelist, poet, etc); a “craftsman” as “a person who is skilled in a particular craft” (including Jewelry); and “Artisan” as a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand. It defines “Art” as “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.”
As I researched, I also found other schools of thought including: Artisans create objects for utility, the beauty is secondary, and that Artists create for just aesthetic reasons. So based on that description I was right one Fused Glass bowl was beautiful albeit not very useful therefore “art”. The other was beautiful but it could hold fruit therefore more of an Artisan creation. BTW craftsman is listed in the Webster dictionary as a synonym for Artisan and Artisan a synonym for craftsman. Therefore, I am not differentiating further on Craftsman (other than to say I always consider a craftsman to be a woodworker or weaver, albeit their craft can definitely be considered “art” in my eyes).
On article I read stated “real art, moves people” and that, we look at Artists work “over and over again”. Another article I read stated “Artisans greatly value their alone time… and love their projects”. So Fused Glass fits both categories.
For me “Art” is like beauty and is in the eye of the beholder, whether a Fused Glass Bowl can or should hold fruit does not make one Art and not the other. Whether my Fused Glass moves people or not is up to the person who buys it. Therefore, whether I am called a Fused Glass Artist, Artisan, or just a very passionate person who loves to spend time in my studio creating fused glass whether its jewelry, fruit bowls, or “art” does not matter. All that matters is my fused glass “artwork” makes the person who buys it happy.
I look forward to hearing your views regarding Art and Artists/Artisans.