Crafter vs maker: What’s in a name?

Published on January 21, 2020 3 min read

Are you a crafter or a maker? An artist, creator or designer? Or perhaps a knitter, crocheter, needlecrafter or cross-stitcher? Whatever you call yourself, we’re all one and the same. So, what’s in a name? Quite a lot, it turns out! 

When we asked our friends on the LoveCrafts Facebook page whether they preferred to be called a crafter or a maker, we were blown away by the response. In our poll, we discovered that 70% would rather call themselves a maker, while 30% identify as a crafter! The difference might seem subtle, but we think it says a lot about the way we make and our relationship to our craft. 

At LoveCrafts, we like to use the term maker because we feel it’s inclusive of all crafts and people – from beginner knitters to quilting connoisseurs and everyone in between. We want to create a community of people who feel equal to one another – whatever they make – so having an inclusive umbrella term feels like an important step towards that. We are all makers. But wait - what's the difference? Aren’t we all crafters as well? 

I'm a knitter, crocheter, dressmaker, drawer, painter... since childhood I have always been busy making and creating.

What do we mean when we say ‘maker’ or ‘crafter’? 

Some agree that crafting includes everything from designing, choosing the right materials, to finding the right processes in order to create something unique or very specific – they see craft as an organic process starting from within. Whereas making, in contrast, might be more of a general term. Others might disagree, making can also mean creating, and creating also includes crafting.

“When I hear ‘crafter’ I assume there is some sort of glue involved” one maker replied on our Facebook poll. In contrast, others felt that crafters were people who have a “sound and deep knowledge of skill or multi skills completed by hand”.  Put simply, there’s no right or wrong answer. 

What is the difference between crafters and makers?

By dictionary definition, the word ‘craft’ means 'skill and experience, especially in relation to making objects; a job or activity that needs skill and experience, or something produced using skill and experience’. The origin of the word ‘craft’ is thought to come from the Old English word ‘creft’; meaning power, physical strength and might. Over time, the meaning evolved to mean ‘mental power’; which led to its definition expanding to include ‘skill, dexterity, art, science and talent’. 

On the other hand, the word ‘make’ means ‘to produce something, often using a particular substance or material’. The etymology of the word ‘make’ is simpler: the word comes from the Old English ‘macian’, meaning ‘give being to, give form or character to, bring into existence; construct, do, be the author of, produce; prepare, arrange, cause, transform.’

By these definitions, it would seem that ‘craft’ relates more to skills and experience; while ‘make’ means creating something from something else. While the meaning might lie in the process, the result of each activity is the same. 

We set out to reinvent the word craft when we launched LoveCrafts, but it seems that the word is evolving naturally and without interference. Crafter, maker, designer, fibre artist – whatever you call yourself, you’re under our umbrella. 

Are you a crafter, a maker or something else entirely? We’d love to know what you think.

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