So I went to college on art scholarship amongst other interests. Art as an academic and museum trajectory engagement is interesting, but I will be honest it was a little more obtuse than I was able to enjoy. Around academic art there is a volume of artsy work and artsy stuff that is lovely to do and lovely to share. Artisan / artisanal work is essentially any practice of adding creativity to utility / lifestyle needs.
I worked in an upscale Art-to-Wear boutique in Hinsdale, IL and got to engage with high fashion artisans and artist's clientele. While managing Bachrach menswear in Champaign, Lombard, and Aurora, we were taught the bespoke artisanal practices of fine apparel crafting and fine fabrication as well as the structure of apparel fit, tailoring, and layering. While working in recruiting and staffing, the influence and impact of apparel was locked into semi scientific appreciation of the power of apparel in human interaction and for meeting social needs. While working in medical education, we witnessed both the effectiveness of apparel & creativity in impression and relationship formation, and on the patient side, the intense difficulty of accommodating health situations and bodily changes in apparel and essential self-image.
And in ministry most of all, I witnessed that apparel and creativity is immensely important to the Lord and to people. But not perhaps in the ways we have been taught. It is not to be a "showy" or prideful endeavor, or an attempt to cover up our true and worse nature than we 'appear', but rather it is grounded in the true humility of acknowledging our own and other's need for utility, comfort, praise, delight, access and honor for the Lord's mighty and abundant blessings - including the body He created for us. That sensibility extended to every vessel and area made intentionally for the people of the Lord throughout scripture, and the details are important to the Lord. It's a vital distinction, but I will need more space to expound than this post.
And perhaps most important of all is the ministry of love of self and lovingkindness and servanthood in community. We have hosted beautiful groups and gatherings. From groups that were basically open studio times with friends, to fashion through the ages shows where women of all living generations brought apparel they made or delighted in wearing. Friendships form and grow among any consistent gatherings, and we are working hard on making that available here.
I was also the coordinator for the special needs prom in Oswego area (including working with the Tim Tebow Foundation) - and I hope to bring that here to this area with good partnerships and help. (And yes that requires LOTS of creative and artistic activities and helpers!)
And of course, we hosted the outdoor "Home & Farm Artisan Markets" in Oswego where I met many of the artisans who now supply the store.
Anyhoo - I hope that helps with Why/ What is artisan and why we love creativity and artisan made goods! More on all this later, probably :)