14 November 2007

Art or Craft?

Every once in a while this debate rears its head among groups of knitters, and those on each side can justify their claims in a thousand different ways.

Personally, I enjoy knitting and a few other crafts, but I really don't care whether anyone else thinks what I produce is art, craft, or crap. As long as I'm happy with it, then it's fine with me. Of course, I have my own opinions about the things that other people create (including their children, but I digress).

For instance, when I was little, and we would visit friends of my parents or certain relatives, they had these knitted or crocheted "dolls" in their bathrooms, whose skirt covered an extra roll of toilet paper.
I always found this fascinating, as our extra toilet paper was in the closet, and the only thing on the back of our toilet was a box of tissues, and the Congressional Record. But these types of dolls were fairly common, some more elaborate than others. I figured we didn't have one because my mother neither knitted nor crocheted, and the only family member who did was an aunt of my father's who was crazy (medically. As opposed to the rest of my family, who were just regular crazy. There is a difference, trust me).

I remember once my mother dragged me to a bridal shower, because she hated to go alone, and my sisters were old enough, and smart enough, to have other plans. Anyway, the soon-to-be bride was opening her gifts, and she opened one box to find an Infant of Prague statue:

I remarked to my mother, "That is the fanciest toilet paper cover I've ever seen!" I did in fact recognize the icon, but had never actually seen a "statue" that had cloth on it. As a result I assumed that big fancy red skirt was meant to cover something ... (she replied "Oh for God's sake!") **

But this particular "statue" had been bought by the soon-to-be bride's aunt, who had sewn the robes or whatever, and there were a lot of oohs and aahs at how it was such a work of art.

Is one art, and the other craft? Which one, and who decides? I will admit to never wanting to own, or make, a doll toilet paper cover, or an outfit for an Infant of Prague statue, but I'm sure that for others, having one that belonged to/was made by someone special, made them count as treasures. Others probably think that toilet paper covers are the perfect example of kitsch. Is kitsch art?

I don't have any universal answers, but I have decided that even though I'm all for creativity, and using resources at hand, this is just plain wrong ...

Pass that Infant of Prague statue, please!

**The happy ending to this story is that I never had to go to another bridal shower.

11 comments:

Eileen S said...

Oh for God's sake... what over took your browser to find that site and then link.

YUCK!!!!!!!

Carol said...

We had a statue of Prague too. Never anything covering our joy rolls;) I saw those too, and I'm all for celebrating womanhood and all, but for God's sake, I practice discretion for certain things and they are one of those things. Well, not any more;)

Carol said...

Hon, I think your family also kept the extra toilet paper on top of the toilet. Isn't that what the Congressional Record was for?

Oh, that link!

teabird said...

oh dear lord......

(but what do you expect of a world where a sanitary napkin rides a bucking bronco on tv?)

The Knitting Blog by Mr Puffy the Dog said...

Thanks for reminding me why I primarily knit for ME. Far be it for me to cast pearls before swine!

Maureen said...

Just plain wrong INDEED........but do they come with Kielbassa? ;)

Brigitte said...

Oh man... My best friend's Mom has on of those *tacky* pink doll toilet paper roll covers in the GUEST bathroom... Ugh!

Thanks for the good laugh!

mary said...

I was enjoying your well written and very funny post and then...I went to THE SITE. Good grief! Did you see those ear rings? That is so beyond gross. Glad I'm a woman of a certain age and don't have to use those things any more.

Now I was raised Catholic and my grandfather came over "on the boat" from Czechoslovakia (it was one country back then) and I was even able to speak a little Czech when I was younger, but I'm not familiar with The Infant of Prague. I'll have to google this and learn a little more.

Melanie said...

How funny, in the 'rules and regulations' for artists for the craft show I'm organizing, we said, 'no crocheted toilet paper covers, please'. Glad to see I'm not the only one who finds them odd.

vagabond bettie said...

My gramma and all my aunties had the "Infant of Prague" Statues as well as the crocheted toilet paper cover dollys. The gowns on the Infants of Prague were so intricate, I just loved them. I think my gramma had several costumes for them. My knitting friends in South Florida were just talking about the dolly toilet paper covers the other day. I can't remember if we had one, but I'll bet the answer is yes!

vagabond bettie said...

Hey! I just noticed Carol's post up top! Hi there!