Photography, Handmade Arts, Ceramics and more

When most people think about art, they tend to think about painting. However, there is a lot more to art than that.

For those who are purists in the art world, it has taken some time for photography to be accepted as a valid art form. However, for those who specialize in fine art photography (as opposed to commercial photography) the message behind the work is exactly the same. Photography is every bit as much a medium as paint when it comes to bringing something into being which exists only in the mind of the artist.

Simple photography which captures what the photographer sees is not fine art photography. The goal of any photographer who considers themselves to be an artist is to express an emotion, a message or a concept through their work. Literal representation is irrelevant since the photographer’s subjective intent is the true purpose of the piece.

Architecture – A Lasting Art Form

Architecture - A long lasting form of art It's rare for people to recognize that architecture is an art form in its own right, however when you look at the process behind it – planning, designing and constructing – you begin to realize that in fact, art is what architecture is all about. Architecture is formed around a basis of beauty. How can we create a structure which is aesthetically pleasing to the eye?

It's no wonder, then, that so many buildings today are seen as symbols of culture and as lasting artworks. Many ancient buildings which survive today are now recognized as art. We need only to look at Rome's Pantheon or Athens' Parthenon to see the beauty in their design and construction. Some of the buildings are becoming a piece of art thanks to graffiti and street art.

Ceramics – An Everyday Artform

Ceramics is an overlooked form of art Ceramics, too, is an overlooked form of art, and yet no less valid than painting. Ceramics are made from a host of ceramic materials such as clay. There are several forms which it may take including tableware, figurines and tiles. Although some ceramics are designed to be purely decorative, while others are made to be a piece of fine art and others are made to be used.

The word itself is derived from a Greek word which means pottery, and most traditional ceramics today are still made out of clay which has been shaped and then fired. Therefore, while you may not consider your tableware to be a work of art, in fact they technically are.

Sculpture – A World Of Art Styles

Sculptures are a 3 dimensional art form A sculpture is another visual arts branch which can operate in 3 dimensions. There are several sculptural processes. Originally, carving was the most prominent as well as modeling however today, there is a lot more freedom in process and materials. This has meant that today's sculptures can be made of virtually any material and may have been made through any or all of a range of methods including modeling, casting, molding, welding and carving.

When thinking of sculpture, many people call to mind images such as Michelangelo's David. However, works in stone are only some of the best-known sculptures today. The Angel of the North found in Gateshead in the UK is one recognized example of a sculpture made entirely from metal.

For centuries, sculpture has had a key role to play in religious life. There are still many sculptures found today in cathedrals and churches which express religious beliefs. There are also many ancient sculptures still in existence. The ancient Greeks developed the tradition of sculpture in the West and today there are still countless examples of both complete and incomplete Greek statues in museums and galleries today.

One of the things that draws artists to sculpture as an art form is the freedom to express a message or theme freely through the use of any kind of material. People have created sculptures using diverse items such as LEGO, toothpicks and even sugary cereal!

The History Of Fine Art Photography

Art has a history of its own and photography is a big part of it. A historian of photography has claimed the earliest person to create fine art photography was a certain John Edwin Mayall all the way back in 1851. In fact, there are several practitioners from the Victorian era who had a key role to play in turning photography into one of the fine arts, although it was Alfred Stieglitz who first introduced fine art photography to museum collections.

Niagara Falls from the American side early photography art Even as recently as the 1960s, photography in the UK wasn’t acknowledged as one of the fine arts. It was merely considered to be a craft. This was in direct contrast with the situation across the Atlantic where photography was already being exhibited in art museums in America.

There were a number of predominant genres in the fine art photographic sector until the end of the 1970s. Portraits, landscapes and nudes all dominated. However breakthrough artists during the 1980s, although still relying on these genres, began to see them with a fresh viewpoint while others took a more snapshot aesthetic approach to the artform. Today, thanks to these pioneers, photography is just as much an art form as painting or sculpture.

Handmade Crafts – Are They Art?

What is art? Just as photography has struggled to gain acceptance in the art world, handmade crafts, or “handicrafts” as they have often been better known, have also often failed to win over the critics.

Handmade crafts are made of simple materials The term "handmade crafts" is used to refer to a number of forms of work in which decorative and useful objects alike or made with simple tools or even entirely by hand. Handmade crafts center around their traditional nature and involve a wide range of materials from paper to plant fibers.

Handcrafts have their roots in the traditional rural crafts of the most ancient civilizations, with many crafts having been practiced for hundreds of years. There are others, however, which are more modern inventions while others are more widespread versions of crafts which once were only found in a small part of the world.

The main criterion of a handcrafted piece is its individual artisanship. Anything which is made by a machine or through mass production cannot be a handcrafted item. Many handcrafted items are now copied and mass-produced, however they lack the character of the original.

Unlike art, which is often a pure talent, many crafts require patience, skill development and practice, but eventually, almost anyone can learn how to do them.

There are school hadncrafts classes Many of the materials used to make handcrafted pieces exceed the boundary of the West's tradition of fine art. Materials like wood, metal, textiles, glass and ceramics are often used.

Students in schools around the world also often learn some forms of handcrafts as part of their education. Woodwork and metalwork are often studied at some point during a child's school career while other skills like jewelry making, lace making and crochet are usually learned in the home environment.

The Art/Handcrafts Crossover

Although for generations there has been a wide divide between handcrafts and fine art, in recent years there has been a crossover between the two genres. The distinctions between the types of art have begun to fade over time since studio crafts have developed. These involve fine artists using traditional handcraft techniques as part of their work.

Types Of Handcraft

There is a huge number of handcrafts which fall into this category. Some involve the use of leather or textiles, while others involve materials such as clay, wood or stone. Still others use canvas or paper while others utilize plant fibers.
Here are just some examples of popular handcrafts which are rapidly becoming artforms:

  • Calligraphy
  • Cross-stitch
  • Crochet
  • Embroidery
  • Embossing leather
  • Lacemaking
  • Knitting
  • Felting
  • Macrame
  • Quilting
  • Sewing
  • Tapestry
  • Silkscreening
  • Weaving
  • Beadwork
  • Bone carving
  • Carpentry
  • Enameling
  • Glassblowing
  • Jewelry making
  • Marquetry
  • Mosaics
  • Metalwork
  • Pottery
  • Stained glass making
  • Woodworking
  • Collage
  • Decoupage
  • Origami
  • Papercraft
  • Papier-mache
  • Quilling
  • Scrapbooking
  • Basket weaving

While not all of these have made the leap into the world of fine art quite yet, there are moves in this direction so who knows what the future holds?

Check out our other art articles here!

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