For purposes of this definition, a skill is defined as one that is usually employed in branches of the decorative arts (for example, ceramics) or in an associated artistic practise (eg. lace-making). In contrast to machine skills, one of the distinguishing characteristics of crafts is that they require a high degree of “hands-on” craftsmanship (hence the term “handicrafts”) rather than simply machine skill.
Some crafts that are practised by artists working alone are sometimes referred to as “studio crafts,” which is a broad term that refers to a variety of different crafts. In addition to pottery and metal work (such as wood turning), glass blowing and glass art are examples of “studio crafts,” as is ceramics, particularly the studio pottery movement in Britain, as exemplified by Bernard Leach.
Arts and crafts versus each other
Crafts have been classified as a lesser creative activity than the arts since the Renaissance era, when the status of painters and sculptors (who had previously been regarded as craftsmen) was elevated to that of “artists.” Why? This is because, according to legend, a craftsman can predict what he is going to create, whereas an artist cannot predict what he is going to create until after he has completed it. On the contrary, in practise, the distinction between a “art” and a “craft” is frequently so blurred as to be meaningless. A ceramicist, for example, is unlikely to ever be able to predict how a particular glaze will affect the final piece of clay sculpture that is being created in his or her studio. (See also fine art, visual art, and applied art.)
Crafts vs. Decorative Arts: Applied Art vs. Crafts
The expansion of closely related areas such as “Decorative Arts” and “Applied Arts” has further complicated and confused the etymology and distinctive meanings of terms such as “arts” and “crafts.”
Decorative art has traditionally been defined as works that are both ornamental and functional in nature, and can be made of ceramics, glass, metal, wood, and textiles. pottery, furniture, furnishings, interior design, and architecture, and is used by art critics to distinguish these areas from the “fine arts,” which include drawing, painting, and sculpture, and are created solely for aesthetic reasons (“art for art’s sake”). pottery, furniture, furnishings, interior design, and architecture
“Applied Art” refers to fields of creative activity that involve the application of design and aesthetics to everyday objects that are intended for use in the home or workplace. (It is the art of making functional things beautiful.) Applied arts include activities such as architecture, interior design, graphic design, fashion design, industrial or commercial design, decorative art, and functional art. It also includes activities such as interior design, graphic design, and fashion design. The Bayeux Tapestry, for instance, is a good example.
In this case, as you can see, there is a significant overlap between the three areas of decorative arts, applied arts, and crafts, as well as (in practise) between handcrafted items and fine art sculpture. Furthermore, the “Arts and Crafts Movement” at the turn of 19th century was a major influence on all these differing branches of artistic endeavour, as were the movements “Art Nouveau” and “Art Deco”.