What is handicraft? In general, the term “arts and crafts” refers to handmade products that are individually designed to create a work of art or decoration. People engage in arts and crafts as craftsmen and artisans – that is, those who make a living by making and selling handmade items – as well as countless hobbyists who do so for their own pleasure.
Of course, there may also be a hidden advantage in being able to make your own gifts instead of having to buy them. Arts and crafts are deeply rooted in regional and ethnic cultures, so the specifics of what types of objects make up arts and crafts vary greatly around the world.
How long have arts and crafts existed?
The origin of handicrafts lies in simple barter transactions. Experienced craftsmen and artisans would exchange their skills for food. The craftsmen and artisans would then pass on their knowledge to the next generation through an apprentice – a help that grew up with the craftsman to learn their craft. Craftsmen and artisans who passed on their knowledge in this way include ironworkers, glassblowers, weavers and blacksmiths.
This changed with the Industrial Revolution, of course. Many of the lovingly handcrafted items that were once made by craftsmen and artisans could now be produced cheaply in large quantities. As a result, arts and crafts as a widespread profession quickly died out; individual craftsmen and artisans simply could not compete with industrial efficiency.
Nowadays, people who specialized in earlier staple foods such as glassblowing or weaving are rare and, unlike their useful ancestors, usually produce expensive items. In the end, handicrafts consist mainly of hobbyists and small retailers.
How do you find arts and crafts?
Handicrafts are generally not difficult to find. Craftspeople often attend craft fairs to give them the opportunity to sell their wares and give buyers the chance to browse and shop in a variety of different types of crafts.
Festivals and fairs are good places to look for arts and crafts. Many suppliers will rent stands at these events to reach a wide audience. In addition to shows and fairs, permanent arts and crafts centres are easy to find in most urban areas. These malls often have a collection of semi-permanent stands that are rented by several craftsmen and artisans.
If the buyer knows exactly what kind of item he is looking for, the Internet can of course be a great source for finding the perfect handicraft item. More and more craftsmen and artisans are publishing their goods online with the ability to view photos and read descriptions of their unique products.
While online retail sales have increased in other industries, buyers of handicrafts generally like the experience of finding the unique products in person and seeing what has slowed down acceptance in this area.
‘Arts and Crafts’
Art generally refers to visual arts such as glass creations, paintings and sculptures. The people behind the creation of these objects have usually received formal training in art schools or studied art through other programs. These art objects are usually expensive.
Handicrafts, on the other hand, are usually considered smaller or colloquially called “grass roots”. Those who create handicrafts generally do so on the basis of passed-down knowledge without formal training. This does not mean, of course, that they are less talented than artists.
“Arts and crafts” is then the fusion of these two creative trends; basic objects created by highly skilled craftsmen and artisans.