Creative forces

Art and crafts are closely related activities. For the most part of history (up to the 16th century, some say), no one made a distinction between the two. In some cultures, the unity persists to this day.

And even in cultures where art and crafts have been separated, there is no consensus on what is the difference between the two. Nor, indeed, is there agreement on whether they should be separated at all.

Those who subscribe to the view that art and crafts should be consigned to different classes say that a work of art is the embodiment of an idea expressed through artistic form, while craft is a skilled piece of work (German word kraft means skill, ability). They go further to point out that craft is associated with functionality, while art is not. The philosopher Immanuel Kant defines works of art as intrinsically final.

With such vague distinctions between the two, it’s no wonder that a hand-made teacup would be classified as a craft, while the same teacup lined with fur (and thus deprived of its function as a drinking vessel) could classified as art, especially if it is exhibited in a gallery and bears a high price tag.

(No wonder we so often wonder – but is it art?…)

Others maintain that there is no difference between art and craft, for art embraces both. Everything you do, they say, if you do it well, can be art. This all-embracing approach seems to be winning more and more supporters, which may mean that the gap between art and craft, opened centuries ago, is narrowing down again.

Be that as it may, everyone will agree that both art and craft are forms of creativity.

And talking of creativity, South Africa has to be one of the few countries where you can acquire exquisite works by artists and crafters at very low prices. Just browse the categories such as Art directly from the artist, Original South African art and Finished crafts on bidorbuy. In all likelihood, you’ll walk away with a beautiful piece to grace your home.