Artisan: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Cameroonian artisan at work

An artisan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who crafts items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, and tools. The term can also be used as an adjective to refer to the craft of hand making food products, such as bread, beverages and cheese.

Manufacture by hand and with hand tools imparts unique and individual qualities to artisanal products, in contrast to mass produced goods where every one is nearly identical. Artisans traditionally work in media such as stone, wood, ceramics, glass, common and precious metals, basketry, textiles, esparto grass, leather, fur, wax, paper, and flowers.


Artisan origins

Artisans were the dominant producers of goods before the Industrial Revolution. According to Classical economics theory, the division of labor occurs with internal market development (Adam Smith). However, according to economist John Hicks, merchants and artisans originated as servants to the rulers, which occurred much earlier. Artisans employ creative thinking and manual dexterity to produce their goods.

Medieval artisans

During the Middle Ages the term "artisan" was applied to those who made things or provided services. It did not apply to unskilled laborers. Artisans were divided into two distinct groups: those who operated their own business, and those who did not. Those who owned their businesses were called masters, while the latter were the journeymen and apprentices. One misunderstanding many people have about this social group is that they picture them as "workers" in the modern sense: employed by someone. The most influential group among the artisans were the masters, the business owners. The owners enjoyed a higher social status in their communities.[1]

Artisan potter

Also known as a "Studio Potter", or a "Master Potter", a skilled person who crafts and fires handmade pottery, made from raw clay. Artisan potters create a wide variety of wares, from functional to purely decorative, or a synergistic culmination of both. An artisan potter often makes objects that reflect their personal esthetic or sense of value. In this sense, they elevate even the most simple piece, such as a raku teacup, to an art-form.

Artisan jewelry

Artisan jewelry dates back as far as 7000 BC, when gold and copper began to be sculpted to adorn the human form, and the practice continues today. Although rarely price-competitive with machine-made items, artisan handmade jewelry is prized for its uniqueness, variety, and beauty. Reflecting the talents of the artisan onto the wearer, the broad spectrum of artisan jewelry is available to provide satisfaction to royalty, rock stars, and "everyday folk." Thousands of jewelry artisans exist around the globe. Some fine examples of artisan jewelry can be seen at museums.[2].

Quilt artisans

Quilt-maker artisans are called quilters. These artisans are mostly women who make quilts especially in their houses. Quilt making is traditional folk art worldwide, including south Asia where their traditional quilts are called Ralli quilts.

See also


  1. ^ History of Western Civilization, Boise State University
  2. ^ The Metropolitan Museum]

External links

Chinese crafts


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ARTISAN, or Artizan, a mechanic; a handicraftsman in distinction to an artist. The English word (from Late Lat. artitianus, instructed in arts) at one time meant "artist," but has been restricted to signify the operative workman only.

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