Show Notes · Stuff You Should Know

Episode 13: Art vs. Craft

Apologies in advance for a few audio glitches – we’re trying to figure out how to fix those in the future!

Art: 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.

Craft: an activity involving skill in making things by hand.

Craft is generally a skill that can be learned with practice, and produces items that can be duplicated. Art is generally considered to come from some innate talent within the artist – as Sarah says, hard work alone won’t make you a talented painter.

Some interesting artists who blur the lines between art and craft are Stephen West (a knitwear designer) and Andy Warhol (a pop artist).

The scene that Sarah and I mentioned from The Devil Wears Prada (which is an excellent movie, go watch it!) can be watched on YouTube:

This is a really interesting website about the history of different quilt patterns: The quilt makers that Sarah couldn’t think of were from Gee’s Bend:

The mitten thing that Sarah mentioned was from Estonia and is described in Nancy Bush’s book Folk Knitting in Estonia, which can be found online here: Apparently brides were expected to have many, many fancy pairs knit and in their hope chests before they got married, and they would then present them as gifts to the wedding party and guests at the wedding.
Here’s the article that Sarah talked about regarding the NHS and knitting (it’s not officially an NHS policy, but a recommendation to the NHS):
Craftivism: is a form of activism, typically incorporating elements of anti-capitalism, environmentalism, solidarity, or third-wave feminism, that is centered on practices of craft – or what can traditionally be referred to as “domestic arts”. To read more about craftivism, visit or check it out on Wikipedia:

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