Craft or Art?

Some say crafting is not art and artists won’t fess up to say that they like to craft at times and do!  Well I have a dilemma and am going on record to let you know that my art has taken a new turn.  sold item

Several months ago I purchases a shadow box from a "craft store" yes, a craft store. I painted it and adorned it with a picture of Frida Kahlo, covered the inside of the the shelves with handmade paper and hung it on my wall above my workspace. There it hung for months with all of my calaveras, and trinkets people had given to me over the course of years.
I discovered that my art and the art of many hadn’t been selling on the site to which I belong and sell my pieces. I needed money and thought about that piece. So I did some tweaking to it added some fresh paint and placed it in my shop. It Sold.

There is an ongoing debate about art vs. crafting and it was the topic of a chat I recently participated in. We agreed finally after a LONG discussion that, A crafter does what he/she does because it’s fun and relaxing. An artist does what he/she does, because they have to.
Since my muse has taken leave (it seems like an eternity since she came around to visit), my creativity has taken on a new kind of outlet. No, I am not going to be the next Picasso, Van Gogh or anything like that. I have resigned myself to knowing that no matter what, I HAVE to let the creativity that I hold inside, out. So, my newest turn/twist is painting "nichos".  


What is a nicho? A nicho is an object of Latino folk art. Nichos are made from mixed media and traditionally combine elements from Roman Catholicism, mestizo spirituality, and other cultural items of significance to the owner. Characteristically "nicho" objects have different names throughout the Latino culture, they may be called retablo or by other local names. It is common to see decorative boxes called "nichos" set upon tables and pedestals to display religious icons. These boxes may serve as a religious altar (to mark a significant religious event) or to honor a patron saint or to house calaveras (skeletons) of special significance.
These pieces are wooden boxes with a glass door. They can be used to house your calaveras or your special little pieces. The box door is painted and adorned with pictures in tin frames, skeletons (calaveras) and skulls.  At the bottom of the box door is yet another adornment  The shelves in the box are painted with acrylic paint and the back of each shelf is covered with handmade paper. The sides and back of the box are also painted. Shelves vary in height and length. The back of the box has a hanger with which to hang it on the wall with your other Latino favorites. It also latches on the side to keep your favorite items safe.

The measurements of these nicho are as follows:
8" wide x 12" high x 1.5inches deep.



  1. cara Said:

    These are Ffantastic! I spelled it with two Fs on purpose.

    To me, the difference between art and craft is usefullness. It it is a usefull item, it is craft. If it is purely for looking at, it is art(maybe).

    Quality or beautiy has nothing to do with it.

    Remember when Master Craftsman had meaning? Now it often means Super-knitter-of-potholders-in-free-pattern-books. Only if you let it.

    It can be both. Why do we need stringent exact non-objective labels for touchy-feely stuff like this anyway? That doesn’t make sense.

  2. onawhimsey Said:

    I wasn’t in the discussion but feel strongly that art v craft is an important issue. It is wrong when artists feel that a craft person could be of lesser meaning or importance because at the end of the day it is a form of creation. Through your craft you express yourself. The craft shows a part of your personality in the same way that art is created by you and exposes a piece of your character.

    In your case, Brett, the skellies for which you are famous show a great artist skill whilst your sense of humour and empathy with life just shine through!

    Your nicho boxes are a brilliant off shoot! Not only are they very practical, they show off your skill, your imagination and give the buyer (had to say that!) something very special and personal.

    Well done, who knows where your art/craft will lead you. Maybe this is where your muse was trying to suggest you go and I am sure you will find her holding your hand and taking you to wonderous new and exciting pastures!!!!

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