The skills, knowledge, and techniques that are associated with the practices and production of CRAFTS may be characterized — as with most aspects of cultural behavior — in terms of a continuum of cultural processes, that is, how they are learned and transmitted from one person to another, or from one generation to another. In modern complex societies such as the United States, individual craftsmen and -women often learn and transmit their knowledge via combinations of these cultural levels and processes.


Sometimes called "Traditional Crafts" or "Heritage Crafts," these practices are learned informally, by imitation and observation, particularly from individuals who are themselves "bearers of tradition."

The skills of whittling -- working wood with a simple knife -- may be learned simply through observation and imitation of traditional forms, like the "BALL in a CAGE" created from a single piece of wood.

See, for instance:
Chain and Ball-in-Box Carving in Kentucky


Crafts passed on through mass media, magazines, television, radio, Internet. In the (post-1989) internet age, sites like Etsy are enormous online "craft" resources, with products to buy and sell as well as tools, materials, and courses of instruction. YouTube offers numerous videos with ideas and advice about making "handmade" or "craft" items to sell—even if they're created with devices like the Cricut, a "smart cutting machine" first invented and sold in 2003.

For instance: Quilt patterns and techniques are often learned and/or shared through television shows, or via magazines and patterns sold at fabric stores. Though some patterns and techniques may be described in these shows or books as "traditional," learning about them from mass media or online publications is a hallmark of the POPULAR level of cultural process.


These are typically "Fine Crafts," "Academic Crafts," or "Studio Crafts," learned formally, taught officially through formal institutions such as schools, colleges, museums, and conservatories. Sometimes distinguished from folk (traditional) and popular (mass cultural) crafts using such terms as "contemporary" or "artistic" crafts.

See, for Kentucky examples, entries under "
School resources"