One of my favorite podcasts is Craftsanity with Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood. She also has a great blog.
She is constantly exploring the topic, "is craft art." She recently opened the question up to discussion on her blog. I contributed my two cents. Here is my comment:
Craft is art.
I see it as a tree. First you have “the arts” which encompass Music, Drama, and Visual Art. I assume that when you say “Art” you mean “Visual Art.” Then under “Art” you have Film, Photography, Design, Craft, and Illustration. Design encompasses graphic, product, architecture, interior, etc. Craft encompasses knitting, crocheting, quilting, etc. Illustration encompasses painting (oils, watercolor, etc.), drawing, digital drawing, pastels, etc. Photography and Film encompass different areas as well.
If you are using Art to mean “Fine Art” then the argument becomes fine art vs. commercial art (and functional art). Murray Tinkelman (one of America’s great illustrators) once said “illustration is fine art on a deadline.” I would go so far as to say commercial art is fine art on a deadline. This would make ALL art fine art including craft.
Also, there are varying degrees of creativity that are needed to produce different forms of art. If you follow a pattern exactly it probably didn’t take as much creativity as the person who designed the pattern but at the end of the day I would consider them both artists because they both created a piece of art.