Publication Date

April 2015


Elizabeth Traube, Julia Randall


Art Studio, Anthropology


English (United States)


Definitions of craft abound and the way that craft production is delineated from non-craft production at different historical moments highlights changing views on the sometimes-strict and sometimes-blurry dichotomies between the useful and the decorative, art and craft, mind and body, masculine and feminine. This essay explores discourses surrounding craft production beginning in the European Middle Ages and concluding in present day online craft communities. Crochet, an understudied and under-theorized craft form, is used as a case study to highlight the ways in which contemporary craft practices draw upon shifting historical definitions of craft and self-creation, weaving together a tangled history in the elaboration of every craft object and craft-person.



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