The term Arts and Crafts refers to a whole host of activities and hobbies that are related to making things with your hands and your skill. These can be sub-divided (if you wish) into Handicrafts or "Traditional Crafts" (doing things the old way) and the rest. Some arts and crafts have been practised for centuries, while others are modern inventions, or popularisations of crafts which were originally practiced in a very small geographic area.
The specific name Arts and Crafts Movement was also given to a design movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, whose proponents included William Morris and Edwin Lutyens. They believed that medieval craftsmen achieved a joy in the excellence of their work, which they strove to emulate.
These activities are called 'crafts' because originally many of them were professions. Adolescents were apprenticed to a master-craftsman, and they refined their skills over a period of years. By the time their training was complete, they were well-equipped to set up in trade for themselves, earning their living with the skill of their hands. The Industrial Revolution and the increasing mechanisation of production processes gradually reduced or eliminated many of the roles professional craftspeople played, and today 'crafts' are most commonly seen as a form of hobby.
Most crafts require a combination of skill and talent, but they can also be learnt on a more basic level by virtually anyone. Many Community centres and schools run evening or day classes and workshops offering to teach basic craft skills in a short period of time. Many of these crafts become extremely popular for brief periods of time (a few months, or a few years), spreading rapidly among the crafting population as everyone emulates the first examples.
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Types of arts/crafts
Crafts involving textiles
Crafts involving wood, metal or clay
Crafts involving paper or canvas
Crafts involving plants