Monday, January 27, 2014

It's not art. It's knotwork.

The recent run of extreme temperatures has forced me to bunker down to try to stay cool.  With project work grinding to a halt I have been working on some new lanyards and fobs.  Mrs Tinkerer seems to think I like decorating my tools with a bit of macrame but I maintain these are functional and help me identify and grab tools quickly.  I find a fob particularly useful for those pesky, and increasingly small, USB devices.  I am reminded of the craft verses art debate which pops up on a regular basis.  Such discussions don't normally hold my interest for long because so much effort is wasted debating unhelpful classifications.

As a tinkerer I like learning and developing new skills that might be useful one day.  Knotwork has many utilitarian applications that I am interested in, but yes, it can be decorative.  I guess it's about the maker.  If I had dedicated my life to working with rope and had generations of tradition behind me I would probably see myself as a craftsman.  If I was trying to express some deep seated emotion or make a comment about modern society I would probably see myself as an artist.   If I was trying to make a product to a specification with the minimum of resource allocation I would probably see myself as an engineer.  If I had too much time on my hands and wanted to make all manner of ... unusual stuff ... I would probably see myself as a macrame crafter.