Oracle Posts, 1: Art

Oracle card entitled 'art'

Silkscreen by Molly Crabapple. Card by me.

Art. It’s today’s card from the Blogging Oracle deck (see, told you I’d use it), and it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

All art forms are also crafts.

A sketch artist practices putting pencil, pen, charcoal to paper, making the lines in just the right way to create something beautiful (like Molly Crabapple’s gorgeous piece above). A painter does the same with whatever type of paint they use, and learns the different brush strokes. A sculptor has to learn the practical process of making casts, or of carving.

On Saturday, I lay on a massage table while my tattoo artist used a very specific craft, with specialised tools, that is damned hard to learn, to create art on my body that will be there for the rest of my life.

There are techniques, there are skills, mastery of which can take years of practice. You keep chipping away at it, keep trying. Again. And again.

Where art meets practical techniques, you have a craft.

Ah, but what about art for art’s sake? Art and craft are different! Crafts have a practical purpose. Art can simply be there to be beautiful!

Maybe *you* don’t think that. But there are plenty of people who do.

And yet…and yet… some of the most captivating artists- Toulouse Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, Molly Crabapple- create art with a purpose. Political posters. Advertising posters. It’s still utterly beautiful.

And embroidery, when our grandma’s learned how to do it, allowed ordinary women to turn ordinary items- clothing, handkerchiefs, pillowcases- into works of art.

Just because something is practical doesn’t mean it can’t also be beautiful.

And there are plenty of crafters who create things just to make beauty- to make art with their hands.

The most important thing that art and craft share is that they are both about putting beauty into the world. Craft is a way to create lovely things where the techniques (just like any art) are simple to begin, but with levels of high mastery that you can reach by practicing.

When you manage to get a lace pattern to work, or when your cross stitch looks like it’s supposed to or that dress you made yourself fits like a dream- you will feel like a fucking jedi ninja wizard.

But it’s not complicated to get started, and to create beauty. The real art comes when you wade in– and stick at it.