I am a maker. I love to make things -whether yarn, garden beds, bread, books, or messes. It's taken me a long time to figure that out. I love to have my farm and I love to write and I love lots of things but at the end of the day, I love to learn the process of making things; and I don't care about finishing them
It's also more than being a craft person or artist - I feel like it's a bigger thing. I first started thinking about this when I looked into a Craft Council membership. They had a questionnaire about how you identify - craft person, artisan, artist, maker, crafter, etc.
I often use craft as a descriptor but I think there is something deeper than that and different. And, I'm told, when you say "craft" people think "arts and crafts" and glue sticks and glitter. While there is nothing wrong with glitter and glue sticks are important in book making, I can see what they're getting at.
Craft person seems pretty specific and I used to identify with it - but what about all of the things I am making that don't have a purpose beyond art? That's not (technically) craft. And writing? Some people say that writing is a craft, some say art. And then there are textiles. For a while I was happy to call myself a textile artist but then I had a well intentioned friend tell me paper crafts aren't really part of textiles. And sure enough, she's right. So, back to the drawing board.
Artisan has a kind of "old world" connotation that appeals to me but that's not quite right either. And while some of what I do is really old world, a lot of it has a really new world kind of spin on it.
Beyond that, there is a whole bunch of social weight to all of these terms and you have to be prepared for that, no matter what you call yourself. If you're a crafter, you get the 'little kid, glue sticks, and glitter' vibe, an artist shouldn't be making things that are functional, an artisan must be using old world techniques. And what if you're a potter who makes textile items to add texture to your pottery or glazes? And maybe you sell some of the textiles as art? How do people make sense of that?
And, congruent with my personality, I have no interested in being penned up in a box where I should or shouldn't be doing anything.
There are some great debates on art vs craft here and here oh, and here too. Maker is just coming into the discussion. I don't love the word actually but it seems closer than anything else I've head in English.
Right now, I'm settled on maker.