Difference Between Artisan and Craftsman

Key Difference – Artisan vs Craftsman

Although Artisan and craftsman are two words that are sometimes categorized as synonyms, there exists a key difference between these two words. First let us define the words artisan and craftsman. An artisan is a skilled worker who makes things by hand. On the other hand, a craftsman is a worker skilled in a craft. The key difference can be observed in the object produced by an artisan and a craftsman. In the creation of an artisan, a spark of creativity can be observed. However, in the case of a craftsman, the creation is a result of replication, more than creativity.

Who is an Artisan?

An artisan is a skilled worker who makes things by hand. Artisans create various objects. This includes sculptures, jewellery, furniture, clothing, mechanical goods, tools, etc. The specialty of an artisan is that most of the objects that they create have a functional value. This is why a distinction can be made between an artist and an artisan. In the case of an artist, the objects have more of an aesthetic value than anything else, but the objects created by artisans have both functional as well as aesthetic values. However, it must be highlighted that in some cases, the objects can have merely decorative value only.

It is believed that to be an artisan, the individual requires a lot of experience and creativity. Some can even excel to the levels of artists as well. In the ancient days, before the industrial revolution which resulted in the mass production of goods, artisans held a high position in the society as people consumed various objects from artisans. Even today, such objects have a high value on the market because they are handmade, hence carries a unique value.

Difference Between Artisan and Craftsman

Who is a Craftsman?

A craftsman is a worker skilled in a craft. There is a range of crafts that a craftsman can perfect in ranging from carpentry to pottery. A craftsman needs to have a lot of experience so that he can be skilled in creating various crafts. When a craftsman is new to a field, he often works under the supervision of a master craftsman. Such a person is known as an apprentice.

In each country, there are crafts that are unique to the country or region. For example, in Sri Lanka, the creation of masks in various traditional forms is considered as a craft. However, along with the new technological development, most crafts are dying away due to the increase in various industries that replace the roles of the craftsmen with machinery.

Key Difference - Artisan vs Craftsman

What is the difference between Artisan and Craftsman?

Definitions of Artisan and Craftsman:

Artisan: An artisan is a skilled worker who makes things by hand.

Craftsman: A craftsman is a worker skilled in a craft.

Characteristics of Artisan and Craftsman:


Artisan: The object has both functional as well as aesthetic value.

Craftsman: The object mainly has a functional value.

Value in the market:

Artisan: The object has a high value.

Craftsman: The object has a comparatively lower value.


Artisan: An artisan is highly skilled in his field.

Craftsman: A craftsman is also highly skilled in his field although he does not need much of creativity, only the necessary skill to replicate an object.


Image Courtesy:

1. Artisans Angkor By Piseth1  [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

2. Shakertown Craftsman Boxes By Tom Allen [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons