Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Time for a Discussion: Art vs. Craft – Textile vs. Fiber


A few days ago I received the comment on the original blog post from just over three years ago. Dianne offered some great food for thought:

“This discussion was in 2013 and I am just now finding your site, mainly because the question of the difference between textile and fiber is unclear and has just come up for me.

Per they are so intertwined; is it “Fiber: a threadlike piece, filament, filaments collectively, material composed of filaments, etc.” or “Textile: any cloth of goods produced by weaving, knitting, or felting; a material as a fiber or yarn; woven or capable of being woven, etc.”

So, is it left up to us to decide how we use it? Do you call yourself a textile artist or a fiber artist?

The difference on the second question of the difference between craft and art is that craft is a mastery of the tools you use and art is the original, personal interpretation of what you produce. In other words, if you produce something that is solely what the buyer or employer wants, isn’t that commercial art? And if you produce something for yourself, not with any attachment from another person, or influence from anywhere on what is liked (not with any intention of how it is used), then isn’t that a personal interpretation and thus art? For instance, native American Indian pottery that was very used, don’t we consider that art?

I would love to see more opinions on the difference between textile and fiber art – I don’t know what to call myself. I do embroidery, mixed media on a surface, and felting.”

Thank you Dianne for the great questions! I always appreciate a visitor to my blog who will make the time to comment or provide additional discussion topics! I have had a few days to contemplate Dianne’s questions and decided to open it to everyone to weigh in with their personal insights. Don’t be shy – leave your thoughts, insights, personal opinions below!

A topic that is somewhat related and might provide additional food for thought is an article I found recently. With my original London City & Guilds courses I received a Diploma in Art, Design and Embroidery. The word “embroidery” conjures up a multitude of images, especially in North America. I don’t and never have considered myself anywhere close to the first stereotypical image that most people imagine: a grandmother sitting by the window in a rocking chair working on a counted cross stitch kit. (This is by no means to be insulting… it is however a fact that this is exactly what many people think of when one introduces themselves as an “Embroiderer”.)

Here is the link that will quickly change people’s perception of an “Embroiderer” in the 21st century. Enjoy the read!

Don’t forget to weigh in with your insights! Thanks for taking the time, everyone.

This entry was published on April 24, 2016 at 12:09 pm. It’s filed under Art, Design, In the News, Journaling, Motivational, Networking, Refocusing Creativity, Sharing Resources, staying in touch and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Time for a Discussion: Art vs. Craft – Textile vs. Fiber

  1. Shirley on said:

    I would call you textile artists because the word fiber brings images of working with cords of fine threads, doing art with these fine threads for example jute, string, fiber optics and not necessarily on textile. Whereas you might use fiber on your textile which is your base and frame work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shirley, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I tend to be on the same wavelength – I have called myself a textile artist for the past 10 + years. While I come from a fiber background as a former spinner I feel I work with (mostly) woven structures as my base. There are however a regional opinions and here in Saskatchewan people consider anyone working with fabric “fiber artists”… the discussion continues. 😉


    • Dianne on said:

      Thank you Shirley, you have a point and I tend to agree with you.


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