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Language and how we think about ourselves and our work

Language and how we think about ourselves and our work

I have been thinking lately about the language I use when speaking about myself and my work. To me it makes a difference in how I feel about what I do.  All through their childhood my children heard me say " Terminology is everything” and I stick with that ideal.  


I find that thinking of myself as an artist has a different result on how I think of my work than when I use the word craftsman. In my heart I believe I am a craftsman.  The objects I make and the way that I make them hold a large portion of the emotion I feel for my work. When I think of myself as an artist I find that I am looking more towards the content of the works and possibly am less concerned with process and the beauty of the object. The end result being I am happier with the work I am making when I think of being a craftsman.

Now comes the rub. The 2 terms, labels, words are loaded with meaning for many of us. I am sure you know what I am talking about.  Having spoken to a couple of important friends about this I was told that they think of themselves as printmakers.  This I like. 

What do you call yourself? Does it change your feelings about the work you are making? Do you simply avoid it ? I would very much like to hear from y’all.

Be well,



Jameiah Wahls

Jameiah Wahls

Larry Huhn

I have never been entirely comfortable with calling myself an artist, but I have felt the term craftsman wasn’t quite accurate either. I added the moniker of “Printmaker” to my website when I started printing more work in gravure, though I was already making prints in platinum, gum and other media. Somehow through the physical act of the gravure process I identified more as a printmaker.

Bill Hushman

when I was working, I considered myself a Craftsman. I installed floorcovering, vinyl flooring, ceramic tile and such. Some of my clients called me an artist when I was finished which made me feel very good as a craftsman. I think Craftsman and Artist can both be used in describing a job well done or an image well recorded…

Yoshio Inoue

I personally find the “printmaker” designation very satisfying and rewarding too. It is the most beautiful and enjoyable name I have ever had in my life. Frankly, I have always hated the term photographer. It may now be a word that defines people who are too frivolous and uncaring.

We might think of it like this. To seeing many old churches in France and Italy, they sometimes have different architectural styles in the lower part and the upper part of the building. For example, most are Romanesque in style at the bottom and Gothic or post-Renaissance at the top. As you know, the Renaissance is praised as a revival of humanity, but on the other hand, there are times when it can be felt that there is an excessive individualistic conception of art. The Romanesque style is old, but it feels simple and powerful. Perhaps the stonemasons who made it did not consider themselves artists. Perhaps what motivated them was a sense of service to God. (I myself am not an enthusiastic religious person, though) Therefore, as a creator, I want to value both feelings…

ron hammond

If somebody asks I say I’m a photographer — that’s a statement of fact. I take photographs, I print photographs. “Artist” is a label that is given but not claimed. If somebody wants to call me an artist that’s fine by me.

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