The Root of Art Over Craft

There has always been a dichotomy between “art” and “craft”. This schism is built from the materials used the create the work or from the venue in which the work is displayed.

To many, art typically consists of media such as painting or sculpture. It can usually be found in a frame on a gallery wall or resting on a pedestal. The viewer pictures the artist in his studio at an easel, pouring himself into a canvas.

On the other hand, there is craft. The materials associated with it are typically sewing needles, paper mache, and scrapbooking paper. We visualize our grandmothers in rocking chairs next to baskets of yarn.

However, with the growth of the handmade movement, the lines between art and craft has become increasingly blurred. These mediums and methods are overlapping and merging to create their own unique categories. Knitting is finding a home among street art and clothing is being displayed in galleries.

As a community, we find ourselves wondering if these distinctions between art and craft are significant. How can we continue to break down and question these assumptions and expectations?

John Ballou, Rochester in Rubber


The purpose of Mayday! Underground is to bring local artists and craftspeople whose work represents the handmade movement to the forefront; in turn, this fair provides the Rochester community with a unique shopping experience. While Mayday! is one of the few Rochester craft fairs that explores the line between art and craft via its vendors, ‘The Root of Art over Craft’ exhibition will take this exploration one step further.

Running in tandem with Mayday! Underground, ‘The Root of Art over Craft’ asks artists, craftspeople, and everyone in between to assess their practice and push it beyond its normal scope. We are bringing the gallery setting to the craft fair in a fresh, new way. Our attempt to merge these two worlds is an attempt to break down the barriers between art and craft for both parties: artist and viewer, crafter and shopper.

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