handicraft
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A handicraft, sometimes more precisely expressed as artisanal handicraft or handmade, is any of a wide variety of types of work where useful and decorative objects are made completely by one’s hand or by using only simple, non-automated related tools like
scissors Scissors are hand-operated shearing tools. A pair of scissors consists of a pair of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or f ...

scissors
, carving implements, or
hook File:Kaginawa.JPG, A grappling hook has multiple hooks from a central anchor, to increase the chances of catching a part of a surface that the hook can hold. A hook is a tool consisting of a length of material, typically metal, that contains a po ...

hook
s. It is a traditional main sector of
craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted ap ...
making and applies to a wide range of creative and
design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype A prototype is an early sample, model, ...

design
activities that are related to making things with one's hands and skill, including work with textiles, moldable and rigid materials, paper, plant fibers,clay etc. One of the oldest handicraft is
Dhokra Dhokra (also spelt Dokra) is non–ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique. This sort of metal casting has been used in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It ...

Dhokra
; this is a sort of metal casting that has been used in India for over 4,000 years and is still used. In Iranian Baluchistan, women still make red ware hand-made pottery with dotted ornaments, much similar to the 5000-year-old pottery tradition of Kalpurgan, an archaeological site near the village. Usually, the term is applied to traditional techniques of creating items (whether for personal use or as products) that are both practical and aesthetic. Handicraft industries are those that produce things with hands to meet the needs of the people in their locality without using machines. Collective terms for handicrafts include artisanry, crafting, and handcrafting. The term arts and crafts is also applied, especially in the United States and mostly to hobbyists' and children's output rather than items crafted for daily use, but this distinction is not formal, and the term is easily confused with the
Arts and Crafts A handicraft, sometimes more precisely expressed as artisanal handicraft or handmade, is any of a wide variety of types of work where useful and decorative objects are made completely by one’s hand or by using only simple, non-automated relat ...

Arts and Crafts
design movement, which is in fact as practical as it is aesthetic. Handicraft has its roots in the
rural craftsRural crafts refers to the traditional crafts production that is carried on, simply for everyday practical use, in the agricultural countryside. Once widespread and commonplace, the survival of some rural crafts is threatened. Mapping Heritage Craft' ...
—the material-goods necessities—of ancient civilizations, and many specific crafts have been practiced for centuries, while others are modern inventions or popularizations of crafts which were originally practiced in a limited geographic area. Many handcrafters use natural, even entirely indigenous, materials while others may prefer modern, non-traditional materials, and even
upcycle Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality, such as Artistic merit, artistic value or Ecosyste ...
industrial materials. The individual
artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functional or strictly decorative, for example fur ...

artisan
ship of a handcrafted item is the paramount criterion; those made by
mass production Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of substantial amounts of standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technic ...
or machines are not handicraft goods. Seen as developing the skills and creative interests of students, generally and sometimes towards a particular craft or trade, handicrafts are often integrated into educational systems, both informally and formally. Most crafts require the development of skill and the application of patience but can be learned by virtually anyone. Like
folk art Traditional styles of faience pottery from Székely Land, Romania, on sale in Budapest in 2014. A conventional idea of folk art, though no doubt made in quasi-industrial conditions. Folk art covers all forms of visual art made in the context ...

folk art
, handicraft output often has cultural and/or religious significance, and increasingly may have a political message as well, as in
craftivism Craftivism is a portmonteau of the words Craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the Middle Ages In the history of Euro ...
. Many crafts become very popular for brief periods of time (a few months, or a few years), spreading rapidly among the crafting population as everyone emulates the first examples, then their popularity wanes until a later resurgence.


The Arts and Crafts movement in the West

The
Arts and Crafts A handicraft, sometimes more precisely expressed as artisanal handicraft or handmade, is any of a wide variety of types of work where useful and decorative objects are made completely by one’s hand or by using only simple, non-automated relat ...

Arts and Crafts
movement originated as late 19th-century design reform and social movement principally in Europe, North America and Australia, and continues today. Its proponents are motivated by the ideals of movement founders such as
William Morris William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was a British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator and socialist activist associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement. He was a major contributor to the revival of tradit ...

William Morris
and
John Ruskin John Ruskin (8 February 1819 20 January 1900) was an English writer, philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, ...

John Ruskin
, who proposed that in pre-industrial societies, such as the European
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
, people had achieved fulfillment through the creative process of handicrafts. This was held up in contrast to what was perceived to be the alienating effects of industrial labor. These activities were called ''
craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted ap ...
s'' because originally many of them were professions under the
guild A guild is an association of artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functional ...
system. Adolescents were apprenticed to a master craftsman and refined their skills over a period of years in exchange for low wages. By the time their training was complete, they were well equipped to set up in trade for themselves, earning their living with the skill that could be traded directly within the community, often for goods and services. The
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
and the increasing mechanization of production processes gradually reduced or eliminated many of the roles professional craftspeople played, and today many handicrafts are increasingly seen, especially when no longer the mainstay of a
formal vocational trade
formal vocational trade
, as a form of
hobby A hobby is considered to be a regular activity that is done for enjoyment, typically during one's leisure time Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is time Time is the indefinite ...

hobby
,
folk art Traditional styles of faience pottery from Székely Land, Romania, on sale in Budapest in 2014. A conventional idea of folk art, though no doubt made in quasi-industrial conditions. Folk art covers all forms of visual art made in the context ...

folk art
and sometimes even
fine art In European academic traditions, fine art is developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from decorative art or applied art, which also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most metalwork. In the aesthe ...

fine art
. The term ''handicrafts'' can also refer to the products themselves of such artisanal efforts, that require specialized knowledge, maybe highly technical in their execution, require specialized equipment and/or facilities to produce, involve
manual labor Manual labour (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval En ...
or a
blue-collar A blue-collar worker is a working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via waged or salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see a ...
work ethic, are accessible to the general public, and are constructed from materials with histories that exceed the boundaries of Western "fine art" tradition, such as
ceramic A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant Corrosion is a natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as oxide of rutile. Ti(IV) centers are grey; oxygen ce ...

ceramic
s,
glass Glass is a non- crystalline, often transparency and translucency, transparent amorphous solid, that has widespread practical, technological, and decorative use in, for example, window panes, tableware, and optics. Glass is most often formed by ...

glass
,
textiles A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, o ...

textiles
,
metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mi ...

metal
and
wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...

wood
. These products are produced within a specific
community of practice A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who "share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly". The concept was first proposed by cognitive anthropologist Jean Lave and educati ...
, and while they mostly differ from the products produced within the communities of art and design, the boundaries often overlap, resulting in hybrid objects. Additionally, as the interpretation and validation of art is frequently a matter of context, an audience may perceive handcrafted objects as art objects when these objects are viewed within an art context, such as in a museum or in a position of prominence in one's home.


In modern education

Simple "arts and crafts" projects are a common elementary and middle school activity in both mainstream and alternative education systems around the world. In some of the
Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl''. ( ) is a in , with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In English usage, ''Scandinavia'' can refer to , , and , sometimes more narrowly to the , or more broadly to include , th ...

Scandinavia
n countries, more advanced handicrafts form part of the formal, compulsory school curriculum, and are collectively referred to as '' slöjd'' in Swedish, and ''käsityö'' (or ''veisto'') in Finnish. Students learn how to work mainly with metal, textile and wood, not for professional training purposes as in American vocational education, vocational–technical schools, but with the aim to develop children's and teens' practical skills, such as everyday problem-solving ability, tool use, and understanding of the materials that surround us for economical, cultural and environmental purposes. Secondary schools and college and university art departments increasingly provide elective options for more handicraft-based arts, in addition to formal "
fine art In European academic traditions, fine art is developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from decorative art or applied art, which also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most metalwork. In the aesthe ...

fine art
s", a distinction that continues to fade throughout the years, especially with the rise of studio craft, i.e. the use of traditional handicrafts techniques by professional fine artists. Many community centers and schools run evening or day classes and workshops, for adults and children, offering to teach basic craft skills in a short period of time.


List of common handicrafts

There are almost as many variations on the theme of handicrafts as there are crafters with time on their hands, but they can be broken down into a number of categories:


Using textiles or leather

*Bagh prints *Banner-making *Batik *Calligraphy *Canvas work *Cross-stitch *Crochet *Darning *Dyeing yarns *Embroidery *Felting *Knitting *Lace-making *Embossing (leather), Embossing leather *Lucet *Macrame *Hat making, Millinery (hat making) *Needlepoint *Needlework generally *Patchwork *Quilting *Ribbon embroidery *Rug making *Saddle making *Sewing generally *Shoe making (cordwaining) *Silkscreening *Spinning (textiles) *String art *Tapestry *Tatting *T-shirt, T-shirt art *Tunisian Crochet *Weaving *Bagru Print


Using wood, metal, clay, bone, horn, glass, or stone

*Bead work *Bone carving (buffalo, camel, etc., as well as horn and *Brass broidered coconut shell craft of Kerala *Carpentry *Ceramic art generally *Chip carving *Copper arts *Dollhouse construction and furnishing *Doll making *Vitreous enamel, Enameling and Grisaille *Fretwork *Glass etching *Glassblowing *Jewelry design *Joining (woodworking) *Lapidary *Lath art *Marquetry *Metalwork *Mosaics *Pottery *Puppetry, Puppet making *Repoussé and chasing (embossing metal) *Scale modeling *Sculpture *Silversmithing *Stained glass *Toy making *Wood burning (pyrography) *Wood carving *Wood turning *Woodworking generally


Using paper or canvas

*Altered books *Artist trading cards *Assemblage (art), Assemblage, collage in three dimensions *Book binding, Bookbinding *Cardmaking *Collage *Décollage *Decoupage *Embossing (paper), Embossing paper *Iris folding *Origami or paper folding *Paper craft generally *Paper making *Paper marbling *Paper modeling, paper craft or card modeling *Papier-mâché *Parchment craft *Pop-up books *Quilling or paper filigree *Rubber stamp, Rubber/acrylic stamping *Scrapbooking


Using plants other than wood

*Basket weaving *Corn dolly, Corn dolly making *Floral design *Pressed flower craft *Soapmaking *Straw marquetry


Other

*Balloon animals *Cake decorating *Candlemaking *Egg decorating


Sales venues

Handicrafts are often made for home use and decor. If sold, they are sold in direct sales, gift shops, Marketplaces#Types, public markets, and online shopping. In developing countries, handicrafts are sold to locals and as souvenirs to tourists. Sellers tend to speak at least a few words of common tourist languages. There are also specialty markets such as: *Pike Place Market, Pike Place Public Market of Seattle *Street Artists Program of San Francisco *Ann Arbor Art Fairs *International Art and Craft Fair, Ouagadougou


See also

*Bagh Print *Maker culture *Screw pine craft of Kerala *Sloyd *Fully feathered basket *Artisan *Utkirtana


References

{{Authority control Handicrafts, Decorative arts Visual arts