Are You a Craftsman or Artist? The Eternal Question

Are you an artist or a craftsman? That is the eternal question that always seems to come up every once in while. In the end I guess it's all a matter of personal opinion, but let's take a deeper look.


1-a: one who professes and practices an imaginative art
1-b: a person skilled in one of the fine arts
2: skilled performe
3: one who is adept at something
4: one skilled or versed in learned arts

As you can see, defines artist as several different things. Which is why i guess the term "I'm an artist." gets thrown around so easily. If you go by the third meaning, I'm an artist just from simple everyday tasks that I'm adept to doing. I feel the term artist is subjective and more of an individual idea. 


1: a worker who practices a trade or handicraft
2: one who creates or performs with skill or dexterity especially in the manual arts 

Now let's take a look at what has to say about a craftsman. "A worker who practices a trade or craft." This is the statement that stands out to me as a woodturner because woodturning is a craftIt's something that I have practiced over and over hundreds of times to perfect it. 

I guess to summarize, I would say I am a craftsman. I have honed my craft and work hard at it, but do not feel I am an artist as defined.

Within the woodturning community, and many craft communities in general, it seem the term "artist" gets put where ever it wants without actually understanding the what it actually means. Not only that, but what I see happening is that "artist" feel they can charge ridiculous amounts for something that they portray as art, but is in fact a craft. 

With that said, being a craftsman is no easy task either but I feel the term doesn't get as much respect as the term "artist". Which is ironic because it's so much more specific and direct. A craftsman has perfected a craft to make something with quality and constancy, and that is what you pay for when you purchase something form a craftsman. Experience.

There is a joke about an art student who spilled a bucket of paint and instantly graduated art school because it's so subjective. I love art and appreciate the way it makes us think outside the box, but let's not get crazy and throw it aimlessly. 

So we are back to the eternal question... are you a craftsman or artist?