My favorite part of the readings this week was the historical commentary about how nomads carried soft crafts like blankets and bags and the city dwellers ran the store on furniture and ceramics. This is a logistical situation to us but a survival situation to them.
Out of necessity, both groups demonstrated how needs and conveniences crossed and conflicted. Travelers do not need a table but the host does. Blankets are required by both but I assume that nomads were known for the most practical versions and the cities were known for the most decorative.
This is still current today as online commerce excels on smaller goods because the physical movement of a dining set might double the original cost but a pair of boots could include free shipping. Internet vendors conflict with big-box retailers yet give them the purpose. What is more convenient? Shopping online from home or your phone, or being able to pick up even the heaviest of goods from your own neighborhood at the speed of instant gratification? But these examples are covering the 'craft' part of the readings.
What about the art? The author quoted a number of critical sources throughout the essays and a very interesting comment (to me) mentioned that arts most obvious separation to craft was that its purpose was/is not economical or functional but purely aesthetic and emotional. I agree to this for the extreme examples of craft vs art but the grey-scale defining each existence is so subjective that anybody can argue a number of points and they can all be correct.
Commercial design from the big-box retailers has a history of insulting certain artists. But I don't completely agree that making a thousand pieces of the same art takes away its significance. Making one piece provides such a uniqueness that it is WAY easier to defend it as being art and not craft or design. I do take into account Warhol's famous dilution of icons to the point of powerlessness. FYI.
But my other opinion defends the architecture community, a unique building in which there is only one is definitely fine art in my opinion. The world's largest tower in Dubai will be forever unique and I call it art and not architecture. It was engineered by a massive collaboration of designers and the builders had to adapt to unprecedented conditions, this improvised creativity levels up the builders to the label of artists in my mind. Following an unoriginal blueprint can carry the label of "craftsmen" but the construction of a purely unique and extremely ambitious project forces the builders to think artistically.
Overall I believe it is vital for each artist to define their own ideas of craft and fine art. But because it is so subjective to the point where people can argue it all day without conclusion makes me believe that you can successfully live your life as an artist without ever having this conversation twice.