Saturday, 23 June 2012

What's in a Label?

Every so often, in any forum frequented by artistic and/or crafty people, the question "How do you think of yourself - as an artist, an artisan, a crafter, or a craftsman?" comes up.

A look at a dictionary shows that these labels are very similar - in fact, these words often turn up in each other's definitions.

So, I guess it comes down to subjectivity - what do those words make you think of?  I think of an artist as someone skilled in the fine arts, such as painting or sculpting.  To me, a craftsman is more of a tradesman, making things like high-quality furniture or cabinets.  When I hear the term 'crafter,' I think of a hobbyist who dabbles in several crafts rather than specializing in one or two.

The label that resonates best with me is 'artisan,' which defines as "a person or company that makes a high-quality, distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand and using traditional methods."  That very succinctly expresses what I strive to be.

And, I guess that's the good thing about labels we can choose for ourselves - we can select the ones that feel right for who we are right now and inspire us in who we want to be.

"People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself.  But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates."  - Thomas Szasz

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