A craft or hobby is a profession or a hobby that requires certain specific skills and expertise of the person engaged in it. In a broad historical sense, crafts and art are generally regarded as craftsmen’s occupations. In the Middle Ages, especially the Middle Ages and before, the word is generally applied to those persons actively engaged in either small scale manufacture of products, such as jewelers, or their repair, such as carpenters. The word craftsman often applies to artisans, painters, and other skilled workers who produce things for others. In the modern world craftsmen generally refers to makers of home furnishings, interior design, jewellery craftsmen, and others.
There are many different types of crafts, including pottery, furniture making, leather working, spinning, metal working, woodworking, pottery, and other building and weaving arts. A number of the more common crafts include embroidery, quilting, crochet, jute production, furniture making, painting, and ceramics. In general, craftsmen in any country, including India, have traditionally been involved in some way with fishing, farming, handicrafts, and manufacturing products that were sold for a profit.
Art and crafts in India are represented by a number of art forms, including embroidery, paint-brushing, bead work, sand craft creation, metal works, clay works, stone carving, paper crafts, gift items, and ceramics. Ceramics is the most commonly known of all crafts, due largely to the widespread availability of ceramic supplies and techniques. Ceramic art and crafts in India can be classified according to the materials used to make them, such as pottery, porcelain, metals, wood, glass, silver, gold, and clay. The most well-known ceramic arts include Bajrang Bhandas (Besan wares), Banarasi Work (fired pottery), Beaded Furniture, Chokenei (Dinar) Jewellery, Engraving, Embroidery, Fasting, Glass Crafts, Hand painted and Oil paintings, Jute, Porcelain, Shell work, Stone Carving and sculpture, and Tools.
In India, ceramics are considered to be a prestigious art form, associated with higher levels of social status. For this reason craftsmen in India generally live relatively far from their centers of production, in order to avoid losing their skill in favour of cheaper forms of labour. Some craftsmen still work from home, using methods such as stringing together melted clay to form elaborate shapes, or using decorative stones. These days, contemporary ceramic designs are much easier to produce than in years gone by.
Indian arts and crafts continue to grow and are considered by many to be a valid art form. Adult craft projects and celebrations are continuing to take on new meanings and incorporate different types of technology and innovation. There is no end in sight for the imagination of the individual craftsman or artisan. It is possible that the art of crafts will continue to redefine itself in light of new technological developments and emerging trends. Whatever the future holds for the arts and crafts community, it is certain that the diversity and creativity that characterize an individual craftsman will continue to live on, linking our diverse culture together into one.
An emerging trend is encouraging the use of crafts and techniques from traditional Indian arts and crafts to create modern day decorative arts and accessories. This movement originated in the mid nineteen seventies in the United States and has spread to parts of Europe and Asia. The object of the craftsmanship was to create works of art which were functional but did not require the skills of an artist. This movement originated with craftsmen who were dissatisfied with the commercial artistry of the time and felt their work should speak more directly to the consumer. The result was a return to basics, functional but decorative. As the popularity of these crafts waned they became more used as decorations in homes and offices instead of solely for their artistic value.