What is the difference between Arts and Crafts?

So often the terms art and craft are thrown together in conversation when in actual fact, these terms couldn’t be further opposites. We need to look in isolation at what is Art and what is Craft, in order to appreciate the meaning of each one.

The meaning of Art
The Oxford dictionary defines it as “The application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpting, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”. Taking this one step further, Art is the expression of emotional feelings, thoughts and observations. We would even go so far as to say that for Art to be considered in its true form, the Art needs to be original and not copied. In this day and age, we often find ourselves asking “What is still original?” The answer is plenty!

To illustrate the idea of Art; at the launch event of Scribble and Scratch, a group of 18 attendees were each given a few minutes, a section of blank canvas, and far too many colours to choose from. There was no brief and no reference images. Each attendee was given creative license and had to leave a mark by which they could be remembered. Below is the collective art piece that was created.

Examples of the most famous art pieces in the world include Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, and of course van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Take it from personal experience, these art works will be etched in your memory for a lifetime if you ever have the privilege of seeing them.

With such a dramatic meaning of art, we need to turn our focus to craft.

The meaning of Craft
Referring again to the Oxford dictionary it is defined as “An activity involving skill in making things by hand”. Traditional examples of Craft include weaving, carving, pottery, embroidery, origami, beading, quilting and the list goes on. The list of what is considered Craft has grown significantly over the last few years to also include broader categories such as DIY. At The Craft Council of America, Joyce Lovelace implies that Crafts can be powerful and can act as an antidote for therapy, counterculture and deception.

Lovelace further goes on to explain the mysterious meaning behind Craft – we’re all searching for this meaning but there are a few truths that we do know:

  • Craft is universal
  • Craft is a discipline
  • Craft is an action
  • Craft is a heritage
  • Craft is all around us
  • Craft is complicated
  • Craft is profound

Below is an example of Craft where we’ve taken an existing frame found in a general store, and using our hands we’ve transformed it into something else. Although achieved using modern materials, many traditional old forms of Crafts have been used.

Finally, we ask ourselves, what is the difference between Arts and Crafts?

There is certainly some overlap but in essence Arts uses tools to express emotions or idea, while Crafts uses those same tools but produces a specific tangible product or object that brings joy.

Both concepts are important and carry differing benefits and expressions in the world of creativity. We couldn’t live without either one!

Over at Scribble and Scratch we celebrate and embrace both of these concepts and promote products that can allow anyone, beginner or expert, to dive deeper into their passion. In the weeks to follow we’ll also bring you more on the many benefits of Crafts for adults and kids – trust us, there are plenty. In the meantime, feel free to go explore the Scribble and Scratch website and let your creativity run wild.


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