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artist vs artisan

At times the word artist is used to describe me, other times artisan is used. I often refer to myself as an artist but I think that's incorrect and that I'm actually an artisan, at least I hope I am. Per Poor William's Almanack (not to be confused with Poor Richard's Almanack by Benjamin Franklin):
An artist creates works that may not be appreciated during life, or ever.

An artisan produces things that work, and that are immediately useful.

Clearly, in a society that values things, it is safer to be an artisan than an artist.
It seems many people think of artisan as a marketing word, probably from seeing so much artisan bread in the large grocery stores.  But the word is actually derived from the Italian artigiano and refers to craftsmen or manual workers who create functional or non-functional products.  Since I make functional pottery as well as sculptural pots (raku) I think that definition applies very well.  However, the definition of artist uses terms like "expert," "imaginative," and "master."  I sure don't consider myself a master potter at this point in my life but I do know that to create my pots I use my imagination.  Is the difference between artist and artisan then the level of expertise?
Which do you prefer?  Do you hate labels also?

Other Stuff:
Poor Richards Almanack 
Definition of Artisan
Definition of Artist
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery


  1. Labels can be a matter of much confusion sometimes. Seeing your work I would most certainly consider you an artisan. With consideration of your post we are all probably on one level or another striving to be that "Artist". Interesting thoughts and beautiful work.


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