Are you an artist or a woodworker

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 12-20-2011 08:23 PM 1539 views 0 times favorited 52 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 2111 days

12-20-2011 08:23 PM

I know several people that I consider to be woodworkers first with some artistic talent. I include myself in that category. I also know at least one person who I consider to be an artist first with some good woodworking skills.

This got me wondering. Can you quantify the degree to which you think you are an artist or a woodworker?

I will say that I am (at least in my own mind) 25% artist and 75% woodworker. My guess is that most of you are even more woodworker and less artist than me, but I expect there will be some (perhaps many) who are more artist and less woodworker than me. Regardless, this could be an interesting topic.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

52 replies so far

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


930 posts in 1391 days

#1 posted 12-20-2011 08:29 PM

There is an old word that is not used anymore, artisan. It’s a term that means both artist and worker. In the past it was used to describe people who built anything from art, to structures to you name it.

I would like to consider myself an artisan carpenter, simply because I dont’ always do just flat boards strung together, but can add other touches to things. But I’d have to say sometimes I”m as much artist as woodworker, and other times just doing the woodwork.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View helluvawreck's profile


18732 posts in 1903 days

#2 posted 12-20-2011 08:30 PM

Rich, I consider myself to be a woodworker with some artistic talent. However, I’m certainly not an artist.


-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Dallas's profile


3555 posts in 1524 days

#3 posted 12-20-2011 08:33 PM

At this point in my learning curve I consider myself more of powder post beetle than either a wood worker or an artist.

I make lots of sawdust but accomplish very little.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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4808 posts in 2210 days

#4 posted 12-20-2011 08:36 PM

I tend to call myself a “hack” or a wood butcher, Rich, but … you know … I aspire to be something more ;-)

-- -- Neil

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966 posts in 2562 days

#5 posted 12-20-2011 08:39 PM

I like to think of myself as an artist. A lot of the time what I am creating is something from my head, hands and heart, It is truly my creation. Those days I am an artist.

-- ----- ----- --

View pintodeluxe's profile


4098 posts in 1850 days

#6 posted 12-20-2011 08:48 PM

The fact that you want to quantify it tells us that, like me, you are first a craftsman.
I identify with designer, draftsman, craftsman, and artisan.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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55 posts in 2069 days

#7 posted 12-20-2011 08:48 PM

10% artist
40% machine mechanic
50% woodworker

-- Dan Coleman, retired Welding Inspector and past IA Teacher

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2111 days

#8 posted 12-20-2011 08:51 PM

MrsN gave us a bit of a definition of an artist (versus woodworker). Like her, I never use plans and I, effectively, design in my head. Working through the design issues and producing something unique is a big part of the fun.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Don W's profile

Don W

16657 posts in 1604 days

#9 posted 12-20-2011 09:02 PM

I say I’m a woodworker but I don’t really believe it. I would never call myself an artist, or pretend to have any artistic qualities. I can however make lots of noise, produce sawdust like the dickens and manage to get a pile of shavings i need to pick up with a scoop shovel. I will occasionally produce a decent piece of woodworking despite myself.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Diggerjacks's profile


1923 posts in 2175 days

#10 posted 12-20-2011 09:08 PM

Hello Richgreer

For me it’s simple

The only limit is the mind

so I think I’m an artist and I try to be a woodworker !!!

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

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3275 posts in 1598 days

#11 posted 12-20-2011 09:11 PM

In practice more woodworker than artist though I must say if left to my own designs I wood be working towards artisan.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Jordan's profile


1380 posts in 2161 days

#12 posted 12-20-2011 09:15 PM

My wife is a good example – she is not an artist but her internal resources make her work very valuable. Technical skills can surpass artistic creativity but sometimes creativity cannot master technical skills. Just my thought.


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5688 posts in 2345 days

#13 posted 12-21-2011 12:09 AM

After 50+ years of making sawdust I consider myself a termite.

View DrDirt's profile


3509 posts in 2779 days

#14 posted 12-21-2011 12:27 AM

99% Woodworker 1% artist -
I like to incorporate artistic elements, and appreciate the aesthetic aspects of creating –
But at the end of the day, what I make “Needs” to fulfil some function – storage, seating, keepsake, wearable etc.

never made something that was JUST for lookin’ at.

-- “The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.” ― H.L. Mencken, Minority Report

View HamS's profile


1648 posts in 1425 days

#15 posted 12-21-2011 12:35 AM

At work (daily bread kind) I am an engineer,I take science and apply it to getting out of doing work.
In the shop, I am an artisan, I try to make things with a sense of craftsmenship and style or style with a function.
On stage acting , I am an artist in a straight jacket imposed by the director, behind the bass I am an artist.

The wood is the medium a few of the projects I see here are art, most of them are crafts. I tend to agree that following a set of plans is a craft, drawing the plans is engineering, creating the idea is the art.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

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