March’s Pour it Out: Arts vs. Crafts

There are a few things guaranteed to get the Acrylic Pouring Facebook Group hive buzzing: asking whether it’s ok to use glue as a pouring medium (it is), asking how much people sell their artwork for, and, the number one hot topic: is acrylic pouring an art, or a craft?

What is Art?

We’ve covered a little bit about what art is in our last Pour it Out, but I want to cover this ground a little more thoroughly.

Art is defined 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 (taken from Google Dictionary).  This means that art can truly be anything; it isn’t the final piece that fully determines whether it’s art, but rather, the intention behind the creation of the piece.

What is a Craft?

A craft is defined as an activity involving skill in making things by hand (taken from Google Dictionary). Well. Isn’t this broad? Crafting comes in many forms: wood working, leather goods, sewn items—but they all share a common bond. Each one is made by the hands of a skilled, practiced artisan, and typically, the end product will have a function of some kind.

So…What is Pouring?

Acrylic pouring can straddle the two worlds of crafting and fine art rather easily, and a lot of this comes down to opinion; but here are my two cents.

When I create a set of coasters to use for setting hot drinks on, I consider this to be a craft. I am not creating the coasters with the intent of conveying emotion, and although I hope the buyer finds them beautiful, their primary purpose is to hold drinks and be functional; that’s why I painstakingly seal them with resin and cork.

When I create a large canvas with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows after a particularly tough day, I consider this an art. I am expressing anger, grief, frustration (or sometimes happiness too, although we artists are a bit angsty). I am creating the piece to be viewed, to be thought about, to evoke a certain response in the viewer. This is why it’s art; because it’s meant to speak a different language to the viewer that only art can speak.

Art vs Craft: Which is Better?

Where this debate gets really frustrating is when the implication is made that a craft is somehow less important and inferior to art. This is simply not true. Being a skilled crafter means understanding how different materials work together and achieving the final product by combining techniques, tools, and sheer brain power—which is exactly what it takes to produce a piece of art. There is nothing low quality about crafts, and there is nothing that makes an artist any more skilled than a practiced crafter.

I have seen it said so many times: anyone can make a craft, not everyone is an artist. I beg to differ. There are many crafts that I, as an artist, simply cannot do. I cannot crochet, I cannot woodburn, I cannot make beautiful pieces of intricately carved furniture. I have an enormous amount of respect for those who can do this very skillful things. So, I’d like to amend our thinking on this, as a group: everyone can be whatever they want to be. My sincerest hope is that the stigma surrounding the word “craft” can be whittled away until we can be one group of creative individuals, sharing out mutual love for acrylic pouring and educating each other on new and interesting ways to do it.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a crafter or an artist, or a mixture of both, our Facebook group is an inclusive well of creative possibilities and sharing. Come join us, if you haven’t already!

12 thoughts on “March’s Pour it Out: Arts vs. Crafts”

  1. I have made jewelry that are crafts and I have made jewelry that is art. You are right. It is the intent behind your making.

  2. Great article, Sara,

    Since I walk in both worlds, crafter and artist, depending on how others view my creations… I just call myself a creator of meaningful and beautiful objects.

  3. I too enjoy both fields of Art and craft, they are one and the same in my book, ways of creating beautiful objects for others to admire and enjoy, also the complete absorbing task of performing these takes me into another dimension away from life’s trials and tribulations.

    Must admit still experimenting with acrylic pours though, problems getting the exact right consistency even though I have read all the blogs, so any help with that would be a bonus.

    1. Interesting article! As a preschool teacher, I’ve had this debate as well , but we tend to remind each other it is about PROCESS ( art) , not product ( crafts, usually)

  4. Thank you for this article! I never considered myself a crafter (which I always associated with scrapbooking, card making, knitting, etc.) because I stink at those kinds of things. But I realize now that I was thinking of “craft” as somehow less than “art,” and that’s a real problem.

    I’m not an artist, either. 😉 In fact I’m totally new to visual art and enjoying it for the process, not the end product. But since I would lean toward calling myself an artist someday, it’s clear that I had a stigma around the word “crafting,” and I appreciate being made aware of that.

    Always growing! 🙂

  5. I agree. I have seen some beautiful wood carving that are definitely s work of art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyones eye appreciates createted pieces differently.

  6. Awesome article! I have gone from painting landscapes (when I was much younger) to creating beautiful acrylic poured paintings (now that I’m a wee bit older). Now I have branched out to using my pours for jewelry, coasters, paperweights, magnets, vases, clocks, shells and many other things. It doesn’t matter to me whether someone views my pieces as “art” or “craft”, as long as it brings them joy 🙂

  7. I have been able to combine my Crafts and my Art together. They are both important in their own right and they are both an outlet for emotions and feelings. Some of my art conveys emotions but so does my craft, I am a Quiller and sometimes I pour my emotions into my quilling as well.

  8. Michael B. McClure

    Wonderful Article, According to me Art and Craft have a thin line Between them, But Both Require great Skills and Creativity. Thanks for making people more Knowledgable into this.

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