Crafts. Empirical activities, skills or techniques, traditionally practiced by the people, through which with artistic intention or elements, objects are created or produced to fulfill any utilitarian function.


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  • 1 Antiquity
    • 1 Ethnological museums
  • 2 News
    • 1 Contemporary crafts
  • 3 Sources


Crafts are as old as mankind. Although at first it had utilitarian purposes, today it seeks the production of aesthetically pleasing objects in a world dominated by mechanization and uniformity. The oldest craft techniques include basket weaving, weaving, woodworking, and ceramics . Almost all the artisan techniques practiced today are hundreds or thousands of years old.

Crafts formed the basis of the urban economy in Europe until the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century . However, artisans practically disappeared with the birth of mass production. As a reaction to the effects of industrialization , the Arts Crafts movement was created in England at the end of the 19th century, led by the designer and social reformer William Morris . The great interest that crafts arouse today in the Western world has its origin largely in this movement.

In many parts of the world, crafts are still practiced as they were centuries ago. Such is the case of Chinese basketry, Indonesian batik and Spanish bobbin lace. In the southern Appalachians, in the United States , basket weaving and weaving are made today with the same techniques used by the original people of this region. The vast majority of Latin American countries are great artisan creators. This is explained by the high unemployment rates produced, in many cases, by the exodus of the rural population to the big cities.

The variety of products is practically endless, although roughly it can be summarized as:

  • Textiles: woven with waist looms and wooden looms, embroidery, clothing, sweaters, blankets, ponchos, hats.
  • Leather goods: footwear, bags, belts, wallets, purses.
  • Metal : silver , copper , lead , tinplate, pewter
  • Glass .
  • Plastic .
  • Ceramics .
  • Wood .
  • Jewelry
  • Piñatas.
  • Basketry, cattail wicker, rattan, reed, bamboo and other stems.

Ethnological museums

Examples of indigenous crafts are displayed in ethnological museums around the world to document the development of various cultures; archaeological museums also include samples of folk crafts in their collections to illustrate the contrast with formal art. Likewise, museums of popular arts and traditions have been created in order to preserve these samples.


Currently, the crafts are mainly concerned with the making of carpets and other textiles, embroidery, ceramics , cabinetmaking and metalwork. This trade is practiced by artisans, who work in their homes with minimal equipment, or in workshops with more expensive instruments and materials.

Craft jobs are used as occupational therapy. For example, many patients carry out work to strengthen their muscles or to acquire skill with an artificial limb. It also serves as a therapy in various mental disorders, providing an avenue to express feelings. Crafts make it easier for disabled people to occupy their time and distract attention from their problems. The prisoners of war have created fine craftsmanship; a notable example is the pressed wood marquetry work carried out by Napoleon’s prisoners in England during the early years of the 19th century .

Contemporary crafts

They learn through the study of primitive techniques and designs, as well as the work of other professionals. Courses are also taught in schools, colleges, arts and crafts schools, craft groups and other institutions


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