Check it out–the other comment threads are interesting.
Anyway, here’s the comment I wrote describing the diff between a craft and an art (because it’s easier than coming up with all new material, that’s why):
In twenty words or less, right?
When you make art, you make a thing that has no other function but to be experienced as art.
When you make “craft”, you may create a thing (like a bookshelf) that can be appreciated as art, but which also has other intrinsic constraints on its function.
To clarify: “intrinsic” is an important word, because the novel I’m writing has to have a length of 90K words, give or take. That’s a constraint imposed by my publisher, but it’s not intrinsic to the form.
Both take tremendous skill, but “I’m not an artist” is reflexive anti-elitism, an assurance that the speaker is regular folk, not one of those flighty effete types. It took a long time for me to shake off my working class attitudes about art and self-identity. Now I’m willing to call myself an artist if I’m forced to, but I make low, pop-cultural art about monsters and face-punching.
Self-identity is weird.
Take a look at this if you have the chance (and don’t skip the comments). It’s interesting stuff about, in part, using writing to solve problems created by the writing.
Jim’s followup, and mine, too, are in the thread.