Art and craft are two words that often go together and often times tend to sound as if it is actually one and the same. Honestly, since my primary school days so many years ago, it has never dawned on me that the two words could be distinctive of each other, until only recently.
In fact, Wikipedia describes ‘Art and craft’ as a wide variety of activities, usually a hobby, “involving making things with one’s own hands.” From this definition, one can hardly distinguish the the distinct meanings two words.
Wikipedia further acknowledges the fact that some crafts (art skills) have been practised for centuries, while others are more recent inventions. In Africa, we can even trace art and craft to the Ancient Egyptian Civilization as way back as 3000 BC to 30 AD. Even during that time, some of the forms of ‘art and craft’ that were practised or produced include the painting, sculpture, architecture and other arts.
But is ‘art and craft’ really one and the same? There are a number of useful pieces of writing available online that attempt to crystallise my thoughts – and those of many other i guess – about the difference between art and craft. For example, according to the Difference Between, “Art is a form of work that is the expression of emotions. Craft is a form of work, which results in a tangible output, for example, moulding and carving.”
It explains that Art is often described as unstructured and open ended, with no limitations of expression, (like in painting, for instance). Whereas Craft on the other hand is structured, meaning that it has a certain form that is visible.
Another interesting online resource is a video published by TED-Ed YouTube Channel. For those who are new to Arts and Crafts, including persons with disabilities, and are eager like me to learn the minute details that set Art apart from Craft, please do not hesitate to watch this video.
Whichever way decide to look at it, one thing everyone seems to agree is that Art or Craft – whichever it is – has played a very significant role in shaping the culture or depicting the heritage of almost every community, in Africa and beyond.
By George Mwika Kayange
SAFOD Programmes Manager