My handmade crafts historical exploration started out with the intention of distinguishing two major handmade crafts categories, hard and soft crafts. The distinctions are not absolute. This is because the differences are not always clear cut. In addition to that, these terms have no official documentation or recorded definitions.
In spite of that, these terms may be helpful in clarifying some of today’s complicated, definitive distinctions, Handcrafted vs. Homemade and Art vs. Craft for example. In this blog post (series), which is actually a soft crafts project, I will travel through history to illustrate what are contrasts and comparisons between hard and soft crafts as well as explore other crafts related gems.
HANDMADE CRAFTS HISTORY
An explanation of the term handmade crafts as we ponder it today needs to come way before a distinction between hard and soft crafts can be made. Even before the Industrial Revolution which brought about the Industrial Age, when most things were pretty much made by hand, the term crafts was employed. In fact, there were highly regarded Crafts Guilds.
The Purposes of Crafts Guilds
Crafts Guilds served several important purposes in the Middle Ages lasting even to this day. Most significant is this quote from, The Purpose of Crafts Guilds in the Middle Ages. Gaining Elite Membership in a Guild:
“A man would have to work through three phases to become an elite member of a Medieval Guild during the Middle Ages – apprentice, journeyman, and master.” How similar is that in today’s world of true craftsmanship?
This soft crafts project was inspired by and is dedicated to a craftsman I greatly admire, Eric Gorges. He is the TV host and writer of A Craftsman’s Legacy. The continuation of this story, a soft crafts project itself, will be more chapters or blog posts about the history of crafts and craftsmanship.
SOURCES AND RESOURCES
Handcrafted vs. Homemade
Craft Guilds in the Middle Ages
The Purpose of Guilds in the Middle Ages