Expressly Ourselves From Creation to Donation

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I could count on one hand all the things I’ve ever created that have no purpose other than to just be. Because of this, I’ve felt less like an artist and more like a crafter, my thinking being that functional things were mostly created by crafters, and ‘things of beauty’ by artists. That thought probably says more about my urbanity than my ability as a maker, a direct reflection of my rural roots.

While admiring my star wreath and thinking how it was one of the few things I’ve made that has no practical function, the thought occurred to me that maybe functional objects that also communicate individual ideas are the very definition of arts & crafts/artist & crafter. As a well-paired couple, maybe it’s a case of them working hand in hand, not one or the other.

It’s not called ‘arts or crafts.’

With less focus put on an object’s purpose and greater focus on its becoming, it was easy for me to see that artistry and craftsmanship lovingly complement each other during creation. It then seemed that there weren’t that many differences between artist and crafter or reasons why they need be separated at all.

Both work with simple and/or technical tools. Both design and create original pieces, either contrived or spontaneously, or are just as likely to follow patterns or instructions created by others. Both so-called artists and crafters share an intimacy through their hands and hearts with the objects created.

Is there really a difference between an art studio and a craft room? I’m thinking not; both are filled with the ‘stuff’ of the maker- closets, shelves, boxes and tables full of inspiration, works in progress, ideas, inventions, and all other accoutrements. And, if fortunate enough, some really good natural lighting.


While most things I create have a functional reason for being, I now see that most also have completely unnecessary elements that solely exist to make that object extra special, acting like a signature on a piece of artwork. Of course, this can be achieved whether or not unessential details are added because that’s just what arts & crafting is- making things that are expressly your own.


The next four days we will be busily making items to sell at our family table at this year’s Inis Mor Craft Fair. We’re donating all proceeds to Galway Simon to show support for their work to end homelessness in our neighbouring community.

One of our projects, homemade fire lighters, will use the dried ferns that garden kitty Pearl is sleeping upon while curled in a pile of buckets, pictured left. We’ve been gathering the other materials throughout the year–it’s a handmade-using-recycled-materials kind of project. I’ll share more next week. Until then, happy weekend everyone.

Melissa Xx

p.s. I might do a short post explaining the mathematics behind turning a cookie cutter template into a wreath nearly 200 times its size!


p.s.s. Here’s a video of our wreath lighting ceremony from earlier this week. The video was picked up via social media by the national Irish language radio station, RTE Radio na Gaeltachta, and played over the radio just before Johnny was live interviewed via telephone conversation.

Here’s the link to Johnny’s podcast interview:


  1. Melissa, I just love reading your posts. You’re such an amazing writer but more importantly, you always have something interesting to write about. (Or maybe your talent of writing makes the everyday more interesting!) Either way, I never catch you at home to say it.

    You need to put a book together of all your writings and arts and crafts!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paula says:

    Dear thought-filled Melissa … your artistry shows in all your creations because of your heart, and what it richly adds to your crafting and creating. You always give me so much to ponder. Your Christmas star is a lovely beauty in daylight and at nightfall.


  3. Wonderful thoughts. I’ve mused over the difference between art and craft. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s just about intent. The craftsman part of me build utilitarian things and reproduces other’s work. The artist part of me wants to cause an emotional response in the viewer of my work.

    Sometimes they are the same.
    Sometimes different.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Catherine McKeown says:

    I have only recently found you on FB and I want to say how I truly admire your work your joy and enthusiasm. This shines through in your creations and writing. God bless you, your family and all the islanders.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Photo Challenge Round-Up: Creation | Wild Daffodil

  6. Brenda says:

    You seem to meld art and craft in everything you do. And that is the best way to live. One can craft a utilitarian dress, purse, book case, house, whatever, without the slightest attention to beauty, form, whimsy, or individuality. It’s those touches that bring in the art. I am continually amazed at how functional objects made a hundred years ago or more, usually have extra touches of beauty, design, and individual expression that make them works of art. For example, every day I am struck by the beauty of my hand-made antique spinning wheel. Someone took great care to make it pleasing to the eye as well as sweet to work. Modern spinning wheels are ugly beasts in comparison.


  7. Sarah says:

    I hear you. 🙂 I’ve always been uncomfortable standing exclusively in one camp or the other. That’s why my blog subtitle is Art and Craft. For example, there is no way that the origami I make can be called practical but some of it is quite beautiful and definitely sculptural. Crochet is a bit more practical but the appearance/pattern is just as important as the function. I love the act of turning parts into a whole – the process of creation.
    I LOVE your wreath. Very beautiful. 🙂
    I love Japanese crafts because there is so much care taken that the end result cannot help but be beautiful. Your creations are the same. No love spared there. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know about a super woman, certainly feel weak at times…must get more sleep me thinks. I admire you also, you’re so well balanced and your creative journaling is so centering–so takes one to know one! 😀
      But the ideas just keep coming and it’s a family affair, we motivate one another. Have wonderful holidays Elizabeth.

      Liked by 1 person


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