Since I helped open this can of worms (boy are you going to be wishing we were still on Pandoras box) this is where I come from...
Oh and this is going to get LONG, what is actually considered "handmade" and or "art" is a button pusher for me.
To me Handmade is created by the hands of the artist selling it. Not outsourced. If someone buys something and adds to it then it should be labeled "embellished". Use of technology and machinery to create a handmade item is okay as well as long as it takes creative input and the product put out is not 100% identical time after time. (This is tricky when it comes to photography and print making) and I'm not talking about using jewelery findings or adding purchased wooden spoons and like items to your pieces these are fine since they only enhance the product and are not THE product.
As a photographer other artists hated me because I wasn't doing "real" art. Snap a picture how hard is that it's not creative at all. I shot b&w infra-red and high speed 3200 films, I loved doing double exposures and such, I used a manual Nikon camera, had my own darkroom, developed my own film, wet printed my own photos, matted and framed my own work, wrote a poem to go with each piece, etc. But I still did nothing but click a button to most people, I didnt "hand make" anything.
Then as a commercial graphic artist I was frowned on upon by other "true artists" how dare I sully the world with art for monetary gain. A true artist doesn't create what sells they follow their muse. If said muse says stick garbage in a shopping cart well it still qualifies as handmade ART while for some of my art, which I sketched, then scanned, manipulated in the computer and printed using a special pigment printer, then manipulated some more after it was printed by painting, cutting, stacking, etc was crass garbage. Even now when someone asks why do you make this and not that, I say I make this because it sells, if I make that I end up dusting it for the next 10 years they look insulted that I consider its saleablilty before making it. sigh Still not hand making anything.
I understand the question of the artist rakuku in your gallery and because of this issue I tend not to show my printed art very many places. I sell it on my website and such instead and I state how I do it. But I don't number, more on this issue next. Doing festivals I would come across people that only offered "numbered prints" impressive right? Well I bought the last of an edition by an artist and a year later saw them again offering the same image. When asked about it was told, well the size was changed by half an inch so I can now offer it as a new series. Seriously? So to me a numbered print is a joke UNLESS they state on the piece that it is number ___ in the series inclusive of all sizes printed. "Print" Pet peeve addressed SORRY
I now use pottery to combine my photography, sketching and painting. Somethings I hand paint free hand style right in the piece, very labor intensive very expensive price tag. Other items I use handmade transfers of various types created from my own designs, some copyright free patterns, vintage wallpaper, etc, not so expensive though still labor intensive. My final level are items with mostly my own designs and artwork along with some copyright free border type designs put on the piece using laser transfers that I make myself, much cheaper and not so labor intensive. Want to guess which level I sell the most of? The one most people are fascinated by? The laser transfers! I personally would rather hand paint everything but it can take a year to sell something with this high of a price tag and I kind of like eating and paying my bills.
One of the things I do to keep the costs and labor expense down is to use machinery and technology. I have a Slabroller, a wheel, an extruder, an electric kiln, digital scale, a computer (which by the way I designed and built from the circuit boards out but I'm not a geek honestly), a scanner, 4 different printers, digital cameras, and access to the Internet. Can I do what I do without all of that? Sure but it's going to take way longer and be priced way higher and I'll propably have to get a day job to pay the bills while I wait and hope some high end buyer comes along to buy a piece. Every piece I sell is created by me with my own 2 hands, no helpers, no outsourcing, so is what I do considered handmade? Probably not to some.
- Chris Campbell likes this