Are you an artist or a woodworker

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 12-20-2011 08:23 PM 1795 views 0 times favorited 52 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3009 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


932 posts in 2289 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


30527 posts in 2801 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.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2422 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!

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3109 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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984 posts in 3461 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


5595 posts in 2748 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

View Clouseau's profile


57 posts in 2968 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 3009 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

18665 posts in 2502 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.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Diggerjacks's profile


2230 posts in 3073 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

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2497 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


1400 posts in 3059 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.


View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3243 days

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

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

View DrDirt's profile


4421 posts in 3677 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 two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View HamS's profile


1826 posts in 2324 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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