Knitting: Art or Craft?

Knitting as art?


I saw a review of Johanna Jackson’s “The Big Fig” in the local paper, so I decided to check it out.


It’s located in a relatively new gallery space in town, the Portland Museum of Modern Art, which is a small room in the basement of Mississippi Records at 5202 N. Albina.


bigfig moons

(I love this blanket; I’m guessing it’s phases of the moon)

Is it art? Is it craft? I think of my own knitting as more craft than art. At what point does knitting cross the line from craft to art? Is it the way it’s displayed? The combination of pleasing colors and forms? Or something that can’t be explained?

What do you think?

If you’d like to see this exhibit in person, you’ll need to go by the end of January. It’s open from noon to 7 p.m. daily, and admission is free.

4 responses to “Knitting: Art or Craft?

  1. Very interesting idea. I think it’s a bit like art in general… in the eye of the beholder. What we may think of as a boring simple sock may very well be a work of art to someone else. Just because we see it as footwear does not take away from what they are seeing. At the same time, their view of the sock does not make our feet any less warm. ;^)

  2. I’ve come to the same conclusion, Cookie. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I made a pair of socks for my mom and she said she wanted to frame them. I told her that she was silly, they are meant to be worn. But, she thought they were too beautiful to wear.

    I sure hope someone gets to wear those sweaters.

  3. Art is always in the eye of the beholder. 😉 Just don’t make the mistake of throwing out a comment that your 2 year old can do better painting than what your art teacher is putting up to show the class. Something about having ‘skill’ in throwing the paint at the canvas? It’s been years and I blocked the trauma. lol

    We certainly see a lot of ‘interesting’ color choices that people make with their knitting. What one person thinks the cat puked up, is someone’s combination of favorite colors. It’s their ‘art’ come to life.

  4. This is such a delicious question! I am quite sure that the line between art and craft (if there is one) is blurry! Can a practical item be art? Well, there is an exhibit of chairs at the Art Institute of Chicago. I do believe knitting can be art, but I’m not sure I buy into the piece with the sweaters.