“Friend (woman): Do you craft?
Me: Yes, I do mostly paper crafting. Do you craft?
Friend: Yes, I do woodworking.
Me: <freezes mentally>”
Seems like such a little thing to say. But, I would never call woodworking crafting. I would call it a hobby.
For weeks I have been thinking about this and can find no theory am willing to stake my life on.
I am not talking about dictionary definitions, but connotations. I am more interested in understanding how these words are actually used than in any dictionary definitions. Trust me, if anyone starts down that path you will be ignored.
As I haven’t arrived at an answer or deeper understanding I will be asking questions throughout. I am still seeking information and viewpoints. I am hoping commentators or those taking the survey can shed some light on this. There is even a survey you can take!
My first instinct was that hobbies are masculine and crafting is feminine. Crafting is things like: paper *crafting*, sewing, crochet, locker hooking, scrapbooking, knitting, and rug making. Hobbies are things like remote controlled airplanes, woodworking, and building models. These break down clearly along stereotypical gender interests. What do you think about hobbies versus crafting?
Still, I was confident there are examples that do not fit this pattern.
If my assumption is actually the case, will activities traditionally thought of as hobbies become crafting as more women pursue them? The above friend does woodworking as a craft. My sister is also taking up woodworking as a craft. Neither sees this as a hobby. Will woodworking become a *craft* or a craft/hobby as more women become interested? Will it fall into either or both categories depending on who is doing it or describing it?
As a society do we value hobbies more than crafting? Do we value woodworking over tatting? Do we value the masculine over the feminine? Seems obvious when I put it like that! Of course, this assumes that my first instinct was accurate and I am not ready to make that bold statement yet.
Next I did some research. Turns out there is a store in the UK named “Hobby Craft.” The hobby section on the website includes candle making, doll house, and soap making. Clearly *not* activities that are traditionally considered masculine. But, I am not sure that I would characterize those this as hobbies either! So, are these examples of the words poorly applied? Someone else’s reasonable use? Something else?
Also, when I was young my grandfather needlepointed belts with navigation symbols. My grandmother (not his wife) also did needlepoint. I’m not sure that I would say needlepoint is crafting…but, given a choice between crafting and hobby…crafting. Why wouldn’t I naturally call needlework crafting?
Perhaps this is a regional thing. Perhaps hobby and craft are used differently in different regions. Perhaps there are 53 other dimensions that apply that I am not thinking of (probable!).
Are there several other axis that holds weight in this decision? Who knows. What might they be?
I know there are more questions than answers right now. I am just beginning to systematically think about this. Help me!
To try to get a little more information I have put together a survey. If I get at least 50 responses I will publish the results.
Maybe these words are mostly synonymous with personal variations. Still…I have spent far too much time considering this given it weighty importance to the world.