Hello, precious readers! I hope you all enjoyed cozy and under-stimulating winter breaks. I certainly did, and now I’m refreshed enough to write another semester’s worth of inane filler.

Before break, I received this question, punctuation unchanged:

“Dear Katherine,

How can I explain to my friends that Craft is Art!!! ?


Creative in Cram Alumni Barn”

Dear Creative,

First of all, amazing punctuation combination!!! ? Second of all, unknowingly, you have hit upon one of my current obsessions. Over the break, I learned to knit. Now I am a knitting freak. Picture me, in New Jersey, at 3 a.m., lying in bed surrounded by empty boxes of Milano cookies and slowly becoming so entangled in my yarn that I am eventually swallowed whole by my soon-to-be scarf. Or don’t, if you find that image vaguely disturbing. Point is, like it or not, I am one of you.

It sounds, though, like your friends do not understand. Your question implies that your friends’ distinction between Craft and Art vis à vis your work is purposefully denigrating and/or unconsciously dismissive. For that I am sorry! It sucks when the people you love don’t appreciate or value your passions. That’s like the lamest thing you can do as friend, short of eating one of your housemate’s leftover Indian food.  

Here’s a list of ways to deal with your friends’ negativity.

1. Bully those who try to devalue your work.

Make the people who doubt you feel bad about themselves. This is the strategy I’ve adopted when someone questions the importance of, say, my English major. Whenever another person tells me that the study of reading or writing is frivolous, I start by saying “You would think that,” and then I ask them what their favorite book is, and then I tell them that it’s bad.*

2. Convince your friends that they are wrong/biased using smart facts/revisionist art history.

Say “Do you even know about Arts and Crafts movement in the British Isles in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, which advocated for a return to and appreciation of craftsmanship and folk art!!! ?” Never expound on this. You’re not totally sure what the Arts and Crafts movement is, actually. You just found it on Wikipedia a few minutes ago and read two lines before going to get your leftover Indian food, only to find that it has been eaten.

Yell about how the distinction between Craft and Art is sexist and euro-centric, and undervalues traditionally female crafts like fiber works and non-Western mediums and form.** Use the word “hegemony” at least twice, which, even if you do not win the debate, is a victory in and of itself.

3. Tell your friends that their dismissal hurts you, and tell them why.

This is like, very graceful and mature and probably how you should handle most grievances. Friends can be silly sometimes, and might need to be reminded that their opinions could be hurtful. You could also offer to show your friends how to do your craft. Often, people’s dismissal comes out of ignorance, and can be remedied with more exposure.

If all else fails, and there is no way of bullying/convincing your friends into sharing your love of craft, go to the Craft Center and make some new craft friends, so that you have people in your life who can celebrate craft without judgment. You deserve for your art to be taken seriously!



*Just kidding.

** Real talk, though, I think this is true and important.