International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Crafts in the 1990’s

Volume 9.1   1990



Christopher Fraying challenges the assumption that engagement in craft activities somehow represents a lower-grade aesthetic experience than practising fine art. He surveys certain changes that he perceives in the history of the crafts from the Festival of Britain to 1990, and hazards guesses about their development in the medium future. He describes how the crafts were affected by fine art in the post-Coldstream climate of higher education, and how in the late 1970s and 80s some graduates became self-consciously ‘avant-garde’ in their craft activities, in emulation of their fine art colleagues. He suggests that the avant-garde aesthetic concepts have combined with traditional concerns with craft as ‘skill’, and forecasts that this preoccupation, an elite activity in the 1970’ and 80s, will become the norm in the 1990s.