Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sonabai Rajawar

Sonabai Rajawar had no artistic training. The only toys she could give her infant son were those she made herself. In desperation, she dug clay from the edge of her well and used it to fashion toys for him to play with. She loved the process and her son enjoyed the results. Soon, Sonabai filled the rooms of their house with clay figures: horses, cows, goats, birds, and human figures.


  1. picasso would laugh and amuse this fine stay in the world and life is artist training sometimes.

  2. What a joy and uplift to hear this story and see these pieces....what pure expressions!

  3. That is the difference between ART and CRAFTS. Sonabai Rajawar is obviously a craftsman, not an artist.

  4. I do not really distinguish between an artist or craftsperson. I see them as equal and interchangeable titles/ categories.
    In the past this labeling has been a problem to me when I wished to change from a ceramics degree to a fine art degree.
    To me it is all valid forms of artistic expression and you learn moving between the mediums available.
    I am sure that Picasso didn't feel any difference or lesser value in say his ceramics compared to his painting. Or Chegall placed lesser value in his stained glass compositions as opposed to his painting.

  5. I'm not saying that the work of an artist is better than the work of a craftsman, sometimes artists with high degrees in fine art can't make anything good or significant. But there is a difference between the work of an artist and the work of a craftsman, and that difference is in the process and in the purpose of the creation. So lets call things by its names, to make the discussion clear. I'm not depreciating the work of a craftsman, this ceramics are really cute and make me feel cozy. A craftsman can make crafts WITH ART (but that doesn't mean that he or she are artists. A doctor can also cure people with art, and a cook can also make great meals with an artistic sense, but we don't start calling doctors or cooks (or another profession) as artists). If the interpretation of my words is that the work of a craftsman is not good as an artist, then the stereotype is in your head.

  6. Soraya
    Thank you for the debate.
    The stereotype is not in my head, it is the stereotype of society and the way that fine art or craft is valued and the status that craftspeople and artists are given.

    1. Hazel, I come to your blog on a regular basis as I am always inspired by what you find amongst our creative world doing it with enthusiasm, respect and integrity.

      I have to agree with you that I see artist and craftspeople as equal and interchangeable.

      Look up craftsman in a dictionary and it will be explained as - a professional whose work is consistently of high quality; "as an actor he was a consummate craftsman"

      Look up artist and it reads - A person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill "You are an artist in the kitchen"

      For my twopence worth I know many 'artists' who are famous that I would not deem to describe them as so and I know people who describe themselves as 'amateur' who are true artists and craftspeople and ones that I, as a trained professional, would aspire to.

      It would be very difficult to define the process and the purpose of a creation to then give the person a label. My thinking is, if this is so, and I decide as my process to make, with integrity, an animal from clay dug out of my back garden and its purpose was for people to get enjoyment from - does that not then make me an artist? Or do I need an art critic to endorse my work in an arts magazine and stamp it with authority for me to gain the title of artist?

      A very interesting debate has taken place here where black is not white and white is not black and anyway, don't you just love these naive works of art! Cheers Jay

  7. Wow, I am just loving this discussion/conversation!! So: everybody can "make art" but not everybody can "be an artist"?

  8. It is possible for anyone to make a stand alone piece of art.
    An artist is someone who commits to artistic exploration, experimentation and production.
    Some people don't set out to be artists, but are artists as a result of their creative output, this includes people like Sonabai and so called 'outsider' artists who through illness, compulision or circumstance produce wonders of art, for example, Angus McFee.

    Others are fortunate enough to be able to have careers as artists.

    Many artists and creatives are not so fortunate and have to squeeze their art around life, often coming to being an artist later in life.

  9. Creating 'Art' is a process and by virtue of making an active decision anyone can create art, being artistic is to consistently do this process. When a person consistently makes art then by action they become an artist. A craftsperson is the name applied to someone who make functionality a core element of their art. It is not a different process in the creating of the work, form, shape, tone, balance, concept all apply but also an added requirement is to its functionality. Sculpture using clay would be classed as art but working with clay to make functional ware is considered craft, even if the work is highly artistic. However in the 21st century the boundaries, labels and values are changing. I favour the word creatives, as for me this term enables one to migrate across disciplines without narrow definitions. I enjoy finding the medium that works best for the creative idea I have. In a homogenous plastic mass produced world anything made by hand be it painting, design, fashion or craft is to be cherished and enjoyed. Its about time we became label blind and walk away from the ways we divide ourselves and embrace the ways we unite.