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What are Arts and Crafts, Handcrafts, and a Hobby
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Arts and crafts comprise many activities and hobbies that are related to making things with one's own hands and skills. These can be sub-divided into handicrafts or "traditional crafts" (doing things the old way). Some crafts have been practiced for centuries, while others are modern inventions, or popularizations of crafts which were originally practiced in a very small geographic area.
These activities are called crafts because originally many of them were professions. Adolescents were apprenticed to a master-craftsman, and they refined their skills over a period of years. By the time their training was complete, they were well-equipped to set up in trade for themselves, earning their living with the skill of their hands. The Industrial Revolution and the increasing mechanization of production processes gradually reduced or eliminated many of the roles professional craftspeople played, and today 'crafts' are most commonly seen as a hobby. Most crafts require a combination of skill and talent, but they can also be learned on a more basic level by virtually anyone.
The term craft also refers to the products of artistic production or creation that require a high degree of tacit knowledge, are highly technical, require specialized equipment and/or facilities to produce, involve manual labor or a blue-collar work ethic, are accessible to the general public and are constructed from materials with histories that exceed the boundaries of western art history, such as ceramics, glass, textiles, metal and wood. These products are produced within a specific community of practice and while they differ from the products produced within the communities of art and design, the boundaries of such often overlap resulting in hybrid objects. Additionally, as the interpretation and validation of art is frequently a matter of context, an audience may perceive crafted objects as art objects when these objects are viewed within an art context, such as in a museum or in a position of prominence in one’s home.
The specific name "Arts and Crafts movement" was also given to a design movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, whose proponents included William Morris and Edwin Lutyens. They believed that medieval craftsmen achieved a joy in the excellence of their work, which they strove to emulate.
Types of Arts/Crafts
There are almost as many variations on the theme of "arts and crafts" as there are crafters with time on their hands, but they can be broken down into a number of categories as follows.
Handicraft, also known as craftwork or simply craft, is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or using only simple tools. Usually the term is applied to traditional means of making goods. The individual artisanship of the items is a paramount criterion, such items often have cultural and/or religious significance. Items made by mass production or machines are not handicrafts.
Usually, what distinguishes the term handicraft from the frequently used category Arts and Crafts is a matter of intent: handcrafted items are intended to be used, worn, et cetera, having a purpose beyond simple decoration. Handicrafts are generally considered more traditional work, created as a necessary part of daily life, whilst "Arts and Crafts" implies more of a hobby pursuit and a demonstration/perfection of a creative technique. In practical terms, the categories have a great deal of overlap.
assemblage - collage in three dimensions
collage - possibly involving seeds, fabric, paper, photographs and/or found objects
pottery and ceramics
A hobby is a spare-time recreational pursuit.
In the Middle Ages, falconry was a very popular pastime (what today might be called a hobby), and of all the different birds used for it, the Eurasian Hobby was perhaps the most popular. It is said that the modern use of hobby to indicate a pastime followed from this.
An alternative explanation is that the usage grew from another recreational animal called hobby which was a type of small ambling or pacing horse. A hobby-horse was a wooden or wickerwork toy made to be ridden just like the real hobby. From this came the expression "to ride one's hobby-horse", meaning "to follow a favorite pastime", and in turn, hobby in the modern sense of recreation.
Hobbies are practiced for interest and enjoyment, rather than financial reward. Examples include collecting, making, tinkering, sports and adult education. Engaging in a hobby can lead to acquiring substantial skill, knowledge, and experience. However, personal fulfillment is the aim.
What are hobbies for some people are professions for others: a computer game tester may enjoy cooking as a hobby, while a professional chef might enjoy playing (and helping to debug) computer games. Generally speaking, the person who does something for fun, not remuneration, is called an amateur (or hobbyist), as distinct from a professional.
An important determinant of what is considered a hobby, as distinct from a profession (beyond the lack of remuneration), is probably how easy it is to make a living at the activity. Almost no one can make a living at stamp collecting, but many people find it enjoyable; so it is commonly regarded as a hobby.
In the United Kingdom, the pejorative noun anorak (similar to the Japanese "otaku", meaning a geek or enthusiast) is often applied to people who obsessively pursue a particular hobby.
While some hobbies strike many people as trivial or boring, hobbyists have found something compelling and entertaining about them. Much early scientific research was, in effect, a hobby of the wealthy; more recently, Linux began as a student's hobby. A hobby may not be as trivial as it appears at a point in time when it has relatively few followers. Thus a British conservationist recalls that when seen wearing field glasses at a London station in the 1930's he was asked if he was going to the (horse) races. The anecdote indicates that at the time an interest in wildlife was not widely perceived as a credible hobby. Practitioners of that hobby went on to become the germs of the conservation movement that flourished in Britain from 1965 onwards and became a global political movement within a generation. Conversely, the hobby of aircraft spotting probably originated as part of a serious activity designed to detect arriving waves of enemy aircraft entering English airspace during World War II. In peacetime it clearly has no such practical or social purpose.
Pursuit of a hobby may have calming or helpful therapeutic side effects. In some cases, however, (for example in collecting) the line between a hobby and an obsession can become blurred. There is more than one documented case of violence over things as simple as coin collecting.
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