Fine Arts Vs. Craft, Is There A Difference?


The differences between fine art and crafts can be confusing. The lines between both of these terms have become more blurred over time.

Fine art is a broad term that encompasses many art forms, from the visual to the written word. Dance, music, theatre, painting, writing, poetry, and sculpture would all be under the fine art umbrella. Craft is about objects made by hand and usually refers to quilting, knitting, pottery, sewing, and woodworking.

Today, many artisans are creating such unique and exciting items that have the level of creativity required to be considered fine art.

Fine Art Vs. Craft

When we look at the definitions of fine art and craft, we can see some distinct differences and reasons why they are not precisely the same.

Below are the definitions between both fine art and craft.

Fine Art Defintion

Fine art is an inclusive term that encompasses all kinds of art. It can become confusing as fine art contains so many different art forms.

The Oxford dictionary defines Fine art as:

“…creative art, especially visual art whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content.

“the convergence of popular culture and fine art.”

Oxford Dictionary

The fine art umbrella includes art as painting, sculpture, photography, music, dance, theatre, animation, poetry, writing, film, and a host of other art forms. Fine art is about a skill that is creative, aesthetic and has intellectual content.

Not all fine art is visual, as it can also be a written form of art such as writing or poetry.

Today in the digital world, the lines of fine art have gotten to be more blurred than in the past as fine art can also encompass arts as graphic arts, visual arts, and other kinds of skills using technology.

A great example of how fine art and the digital merge was when I recently went to see the exhibition called Immersive Van Gogh. The show was Van Gogh’s art projected on the floors and ceiling of a room and put together with music. Art as Immersive Van Gogh can also be considered fine art as part of the visual arts.

Fine arts usually contain many skills, and someone is trained in their art form. Many Universities have a department of Fine Arts.

To learn more about Fine Arts, you can read our blog on What Is The Difference Between Fine Arts and Visual Arts? by clicking this link.

Craft Definition

The word craft is also an extensive term that is used a lot. A craft can involve a lot of different objects that are made by hand—everything from quilting, crocheting, woodworking, scrapbooking, sewing, to name a few.

The Oxford Dictionary defines craft as:

“…an activity involving skill in making things by hand.

“the craft of bookbinding”

Oxford Dictionary

A craft is essential any activity that people do by hand. The Oxford dictionary’s example is bookbinding, which can be considered a craft when books are bound by hand.

Often, a craft can be made by hand for the home and for a decorative purpose. A craft can also be useful like someone has a craft to knit hats or a sweater to be worn on a cold winter day.

Crossover Between Fine Art and Crafts

It gets confusing that sometimes crafts and fine arts are crossovers. I have been in art competitions where people submitted quilts as their art form and won or placed well.

Even though quilting is usually considered a craft, in this case, the quilter used their creativity and produced a work that was so fine it was considered to be a work of art or fine art. Another is in Vietnam; they have the art form of embroidery for art pieces. These embroidered pieces are so finely done that they look like an actual piece of painted canvas.

In cases like this, the craft is a fine art because of the skill and creativity that the artist uses to produce their work that it becomes a fine art. A fine artist can also use things that were once considered a craft in their art.

An example of this is decoupage that is usually considered a craft but has also been used in fine art.

Differences Between Fine Art and Craft

The line between crafts and fine art is blurred. About 30 or 40 years ago, it used to be more defined in that a craft had a function, and art was considered non-functional.

But then, many artisans became very creative, and their crafts turned into art. Also, at the same time, fine artists started to use elements of craft in their art, so the lines between crafts and fine art got even more blurred.

So one of the best ways to define this today is in the level of skill. A person can have a craft that will be considered an art form or fine art due to their level of creativity and what they are creating; in other words, their craft turned into a fine art form.

An artist can also use a craft in their fine art.

Fine art requires a high level of skill and creativity. The artist is doing something new with their art form in design, materials, form, shape, or function.

Anita Louise Art is dedicated to art education, great artists, and inspiring others to find and create their art. We love art that uplifts and inspires. #ArtToMakeYouSmile! #ArtToMakeYouHappy!

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What Is The Difference Between Shape And Form In Art?

The word shape mainly refers to flat, simple 2-D drawings; the shape 2-D drawing would have a length and width. A form is more complex and is 3-D, such as a sphere, cube, or cone. The word form has a dual meaning in art that refers to various elements that make up art. The form is essential for Formalism, abstract art, and biomorphic art.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading What Is The Difference Between Shape And Form In Art?.

What Is The Difference Between Fine Arts and Visual Arts?

Fine art is a broad term used to describe many different types of art; one of the arts under the umbrella of fine art is visual arts. Fine arts can include arts such as music, theatre, dance, literature, and other types of art. In contrast, Visual art is about only arts of a visual nature such as painting, sculpture, or film making.

By clicking this link, you can discover more by reading What Is The Difference Between Fine Arts and Visual Arts?.

Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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Fine Arts Vs. Craft, Is There A Difference?