Finding the Space Between Craft and Art

Finding the Space Between Craft and Art

Craftember Ambassador, Ali Board, shares her experience with experimenting with different mediums of craft and art...

My creative career started in the very best way, without the pressure of intending to end up with it as my livelihood, therefore there were no rules or notions of how something had to be done, just lots of experiments and a bucket load of errors.

I’ve never really pigeon-holed something as belonging to the specific families of craft or art, it’s all part of the same conversation to me, a painting technique here, a stamping technique there – whatever it takes to make the piece tell the story that I want it to.

And so, I have ended up with a huge proportion of my work occupying a space that doesn’t really have a grand title and here I would like to share some of my favourite techniques with you in the hope that you will try combining them or experimenting with them in the future.

Gelli plate
This amazing monoprinting technique is so quick for creating backgrounds or papers for my collage work and I can never predict quite what I am going to get. I love the textural element and that I can use found objects from my garden to describe their shapes far quicker than I could with a brush or pencil.


I get to do some very exciting things in my job and working with poets and lyricists is one of them. Rather than a writing or calligraphy technique, I will use letter stamps to share the verse as it seems more haphazard and in keeping with the overall look of my work.


Here is probably my favourite of all the techniques and one that goes right back to my childhood. I was never happier as a kid than with scissors and a glue stick, using an old cardboard box to build a car or a house and it seems to have permeated through into my paintings today. I love to find beautiful papers or create my own textures and then include them in my work, very often constructing an entire painting around a small scrap of something I have found.


A huge amount of my work is inspired by my family history and although it’s not always obvious, I like to tell the stories of my ancestors, often invented and from my imagination. Ephemera or found objects such as postage stamps, old photographs or postcards can often be used as the background for a painting or an exciting surface to create something different.

These techniques turn up again and again, very often being my starting point if I am stuck or simply a wonderful excuse to play and not worry about where it is heading, I hope they work for you too.

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