Proposal: Arts and Crafts

I think there's a subtle, but serious problem with the title. While "Arts and crafts" covers the topics very neatly, the subtext seems a little "macaroni painting" to me. It sort of seems to put the focus on the very trivial hobby-end of the spectrum.

Now I'm not suggesting that macaroni painting is not a worthy pursuit, or that only potentially money-making endeavours are deserving of StackExchange, but one essential part of any stackexchange community is a core of comitted experts.

For this proposal, I think the experts will have to be (semi-)professional artists: illustrators, sculptors, designers, architects, etc. People who have put their 10000 hours in (or are well underway).

What I worry about is that a professional illustrator won't identify with the title "arts and crafts" and with this name, we'll be losing out on a large part of our potential audience.

Just to re-iterate: I think that people across the spectrum should be welcome on this site, including people who do macaroni-painting, but with this title I worry that we might struggle to attract the professionals and the more "serious" crowd. And since their expertise will likely be a large part of the site's value, I think it might be worth considering alternatives.

  • 4
    A professional Illustrator probably belongs on Graphic Design. An Architect can go up onto the proposed Urban Planning, or propose another site. Architecture is not an Art or Craft, from societal perspective. The site name is perfect: Leave it alone. – Zizouz212 Sep 12 '15 at 19:22
  • @Zizouz212, no professional illustrator with a question is going to think "I know, I'll ask on a graphic design site". They're completely different disciplines. And while architecture may not be a craft, interior designers would certainly be a valuable source of expertise. – Peter Sep 12 '15 at 23:26
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    Regardless, it's off-topic. Take a look at the site description. Oh, and while you're at it, architecture != interior design. – Zizouz212 Sep 13 '15 at 22:12
  • @Zizouzz This question is kind of about the site description. This is the time to fine tune the site description, not to use it as a set-in-stone definition to slap people down with. I think questions about illustration are completely on-topic. If not, where do you draw the line between illustration and drawing? – Peter Sep 16 '15 at 14:05
  • You've really ought to either make a suggestion, or really become more clear as to what you want, because you're not making any sense at all: your comment contradicts your question. – Zizouz212 Sep 17 '15 at 0:43
  • @Zizouz212 I'm specifically not making other suggestions. I don't want this to be about my proposal versus the existing one, I want to gauge whether we people agree that we have a problem with not attracting professionals, due to an overly hobbyish image. I'm just trying to highlight a potential issue. Do with it what you want. Some people at least seem to understand what I'm getting at. – Peter Sep 17 '15 at 3:58
up vote 6 down vote accepted

For this proposal, I think the experts will have to be (semi-)professional artists: illustrators, sculptors, designers, architects, etc. People who have put their 10000 hours in (or are well underway).

I'm not sure where you get the feel that this site should be geared towards people like this... have you looked at the questions with 10 votes?

  • There's not a single question about illustration...
  • There are questions about clay in general... but not huge stuff... mostly small crafting projects using polymer clay
  • "Designers" - I don't even know what you mean by this - it's a completely generic term
  • Architects are not "artists" in a way that would be appropriate for this site at all.

Honestly, I don't see what's wrong with the hobbyist feel... a great many things are done by hobbyists.... yes, SE in general is designed to attract "professionals" but not every community has them.

For example, Movies & TV is designed to attract - not professional film- and TV- producers but "professional" consumers... or people who love to watch movies and TV shows. The same is true of Sci-Fi. The people who frequent such sites aren't "professionals" - they aren't paid to do what they enjoy - but they are still experts.

Similarly, a grandmother who knits for her grandchildren and has been doing so for decades, or a man who has spent years learning various styles of calligraphy, or a woman who makes all her holiday cards by hand or a father who loves to build simple toys for his kids in his garage... these people are our experts...

Someone who sells their work and makes money from it on their own site, or Etsy is perfectly welcome as a "professional" but that doesn't necessarily mean they are better able to answer questions than an expert who's made hundreds of items but only for their family or friends.

In fact, sometimes professionals in this sense can be less helpful as they haven't necessarily had to struggle with simple (obvious) tasks. Someone who has struggled through the same issue can sometimes provide a better solution because they realize what the asker is missing.

Honestly, when I joined this community, I didn't really imagine it as a place for serious "artists" in the sense of "fine art"... And the reason for that is that the top questions are all about "crafty" topics. Knitting/crochet, clay, paper, woodworking/carving, painting/drawing, sewing, origami... etc.

Yes, drawing and painting are certainly "fine art" sometimes, but the questions asked seem like pretty simple, basic questions.

  • Well, that's sort of the answer I was looking for. If the consensus is that the site is simply focused on the hobby side of the spectrum, then that's fine, and the title is spot on. This was a genuine question, not a rhetorical one. I guess that leaves a gap for the (semi-)professionals in the more serious arts, but we can always propose another site. – Peter Sep 17 '15 at 18:08

It's unfortunate that many stores label have an "Arts & Crafts" shelf where they sell a pair of scissors and some sello tape. Well, "arts & crafts" isn't just about scissors and sello tape (but sometimes it is).

I'm guessing you don't like the "hobby" or "DIY" flavour of the current title. But you also haven't suggested an alternative title...

I think there's no name as spot-on as "Arts & Crafts" and the quality of the questions and answers will speak for itself, so I'd vote to leave the name the way it is.

As an aside, we could opt to alter the site description to something like

Arts and Crafts
Proposed Q&A site for questions about traditional artwork and handmade items.
Proposed Q&A site for artists and craftsmen, about traditional artwork and handmade items.

which sounds a bit more inviting to professionals and not just hobbyists.

  • 2
    I don't mind the hobbyish aspect, everybody should be welcome, but I'm worried that the professionals will be scared away, or think it's not for them. I think I was wrong to focus on the name alone. Perhaps a better question would be: "how can we make sure that we attract professionals as well as hobbyists?". Your suggestion to alter the site description is a very good idea. Another would be to make sure the design is appropriate (once the site get out of beta). – Peter Sep 16 '15 at 14:02
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    There is no edit button now with respect to proposal description so you might have to ask a moderator to edit it. Do it please. Your suggestion is valuable. – Aquarius_Girl Sep 17 '15 at 3:33
  • Maybe @RobertCartaino can help us? We'd like to know how to change the proposal description now that we are in Commitment phase and the "edit" button is gone. – Earthliŋ Sep 17 '15 at 11:28
  • Not sure if he got the notification? – Aquarius_Girl Sep 18 '15 at 5:43
  • perhaps craftspersons or crafters instead of craftsmen? – Sky Apr 20 '16 at 22:43

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