Home Forums Terrain and Scenery Is It Terrain-Making OR “Crafting”?

  • This topic has 27 replies, 16 voices, and was last updated 6 months ago by Mike.
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  • #137154
    Cacique Caribe
    Participant

    During our pandemic confinement period I’ve watched more terrain videos than I ever thought existed.  One odd trend I notice is the use of the term “crafting” when referring to making terrain.  At times they use it interchangeably, but at other times they say “crafting” exclusively, as if they’ve never heard of the terrain making process referred to in any other way but as “crafts”.

    To be honest, before now the only people I’ve known to refer to what they do as crafting are usually ladies with loads of homemade yarn and popsicle stick knick knacks all over their house, and I don’t mean for miniature terrain.  Oh yes, and those who say they craft spells and such.

    So when exactly did the term “crafting” begin to creep into the subject of making wargaming terrain?  Was it a term taken up by those who didn’t know that there already existed the term terrain making?

    I’ve been making terrain for nearly half a century and I don’t think I’ll ever refer to what I do as crafting.  “Crafting” sounds amateur-ish or haphazard to me, as if little thought was put into it or as if durability isn’t part of the objective.  Again, the image of a roomful of ladies making stuff out of yarn and popsicle sticks keeps coming up in my mind.

    Thoughts?

    Dan
    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376

    #137155
    MartinR
    Participant

    I’ve never heard it called crafting, but each to their own.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #137157

    Because they’re talented but thick…

    AnYone can sppel ‘crafting’ it’S ded eazy. buT trIy spellink ‘terreyn’!!!

    "Wot did you do in the war Grandad?"

    "I was with Harry... At The Bridge!"

    #137159
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I don’t see crafting as any more amateur than games terrain building.
    When I think of crafters I think of people with skill in a specific craft, could be sewing, knitting, painting, cross stitch, upholstery, etc.

    Here are some crafted things I own, I would place the skill of these above a lot of the wargames terrain I see around.

    Cross stitch, lots of hours work, and decidedly better than I could do.

    The sail for my 15mm ship is a hand stitched rolled hem, this technique is tricky but ace as it makes the seems invisible, again something I have no chance of being able to do.

    Hand drawn and hand stitched map on hand made material. Something I could not do, and doubt many others could.

    Face mask, hand made, triple layer with metal wire reinforced topstitch on a curve. Not only skilled but very useful.

    Patchwork space invaders chair.
    Restored chair, traditionally restored and upholstered so no stapling, hand stitched and horsehair not foam.
    Over 50 hours of work.

    So when I think of crafting I think of this sort of stuff.
    People with a lot more talent than myself who could and indeed do sell their things, alas for a lot less than they often deserve given the skill and effort that goes into the production.
    Much like miniature painters in many ways, much like this whole hobby in many ways.
    Crafting to me does not conjure up images as you describe.

    #137166
    Gillies Sim
    Participant

    Have to say I agree with Mike. For me craft can be anything and before I came to wargaming I would associate it with woodcraft – there may be some amateurs doing that but the finished products can be astounding. It used to be that you would refer to trades as Craftsmen, certainly not amateurs.

    I would say Craft (or crafting) is an easy way of referring to any sort of “making” activity whereas terrain-making is a specific sort of craft. That’s my 2 pence thrown in!

    https://nottherivercottage.blogspot.com/

    #137167
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    I would say Craft (or crafting) is an easy way of referring to any sort of “making” activity whereas terrain-making is a specific sort of craft.

    I like this ^^

    #137169
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I’ve never thought of “crafting” having connotations with gender-coding, age or cultural scene, and I still don’t. Anything from a tea cosy to a molotov cocktail can be “crafted”.

    I use “terrain-making” and “terrain-crafting” interchangeably. I probably tend to favour “crafting” because it sounds more powerful, somehow. There’s a sense of agency about the word.

    In German, Dutch and the Scandinavian languages, the cognates to “craft” (“kraft” or “kracht”) mean power, force or strength. In Anglo-Saxon it meant these same things but also, by extension, skill and ability.

    #137173
    Andrew Rolph
    Participant

    A plus one for Mike.

    Also it depends who is interested…

    • with other wargamers I am making bits of terrain/playing wargames
    • with family I do the same (but I sense the pity and lack of comprehension)
    • with shopkeepers from whom I might wish to buy sticks or felt or cloth or any number of other bits and pieces I am working on a craft project (because I guarantee they won’t understand ‘making terrain for a wargame’)
    • with my wife I am wasting my time (when I should be (insert useful household task here))

    I just built a dice tower (I don’t even need one – I just thought it would be fun). I expect I was crafting then. Mind you the finished project looks like a chimp with a chisel was responsible.

    Cheers

    Andrew

    #137175
    jeffers
    Participant

    Yep. Craft = Making Stuff. We make stuff, be it terrain, painting, figures etc. I think my rancid X-Acto knife, used for many models and every figure I’ve ever sculpted (some hundreds…), was originally marketed as a craft knife.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #137218
    Cacique Caribe
    Participant

    Jeffers

    Spot on.  Anything can be crafted. Anything.  It’s a catch-all term, which explains why stores often call themselves arts and craft stores, just to make sure they don’t miss anyone.

    “Crafting” is too generic a term and can mean working on a million named or nameless tasks.  Knitting is a way more specific (and useful) term than “crafting”.  So is terrain-making.

    And there’s the pride factor too.  “So … what’s your hobby (or what do you do for a living)?”  I would hope my would be that I make wargaming terrain, rather than just say I make “crafts” (which sounds more like a skittish, touchy non-answer).

    Dan
    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376

    #137224

    Herself is a crafter making cards, gift boxes, decoupage thingys and wotnot…

    rooting around in all her crafting rubbish often turns up some surprisingly useful artifacts for us ‘proper’ model makers/crofters!

     

    "Wot did you do in the war Grandad?"

    "I was with Harry... At The Bridge!"

    #137236
    Samantha
    Keymaster

    Knitting is a way more specific (and useful) term than “crafting”. So is terrain-making. And there’s the pride factor too. “So … what’s your hobby (or what do you do for a living)?” I would hope my would be that I make wargaming terrain, rather than just say I make “crafts” (which sounds more like a skittish, touchy non-answer).

    I kind of agree that the term crafting is generic and I never say I “make crafts”. However I am proud to say I am a crafter.

    I do lots of different crafts including knitting, embroidery and painting. So I am a proud crafter.

    I think it might be worth noting the term ‘master craftsman’. The pinicle of skill makes you a master craftsman, the word craft is there in the name. So I am proud to be a crafter.

    Never put a sock in a toaster.

    #137237
    Samantha
    Keymaster

    Herself is a crafter making cards, gift boxes, decoupage thingys and wotnot… rooting around in all her crafting rubbish often turns up some surprisingly useful artifacts for us ‘proper’ model makers/crofters!

    So I think this encapsulates an issue I have noticed in life as well as crafting. Anything that tends to be more female heavy is considered less skillfull than something that is male dominated.

    Women make ‘thingys’ and use ‘crafting rubbish’ but men are ‘proper’ model makers etc.

    Whether said in jest or not, if you look around, you will see the people who really think that way, including women by the way. It’s a societal issue.

    Never put a sock in a toaster.

    #137245
    Rachel Elizabeth
    Participant

    I’d like to chime in and say that I 100% agree that dismissing crafting as being unskilled is inaccurate, and that’s been articulated wonderfully here. I’d also like to address the idea that crafting on an “amateurish or haphazard” level is somehow not a good thing.

    Every single one of us who identifies as skilled in our craft has started from beginner level. And even those of us who have been doing it for years, we always have new things to learn. Some of us are able to make money from what we do and can call ourselves professionals which is wonderful, and some are in it purely for enjoyment and that is also wonderful and valid. I think there’s a difference between knowing your technical skill is high, and feeling superior to those who you perceive as having a lower level of skill. With the former you can use your knowledge to offer constructive criticism and help when it’s wanted or needed, but where does the latter get you?

    For example, I’ve been knitting for well over ten years, and have helped many customers along the way with both simple and more complicated problems, as well as completing commissions for people, and generally constantly still learning new techniques. I’d consider myself an advanced knitter, even a professional one when it makes me some money [and at this point I’d like to point out that in the original post you referred to “ladies with loads of homemade yarn” in a dismissive way, and actually homemade/homespun yarn is a difficult technical skill that takes a lot of practise and dedication, and I aspire to be that good one day!] I also know people who have been knitting for longer than me and never want to go further than knitting the same baby cardigan pattern over and over again for charity, or only ever want to knit squares that can be sewn up into blankets. That’s not for me (I get bored too easily!) but I would never, EVER, dismiss what they do as any lesser than what I do. They’re also knitters and they also get what they need from it.

    I’m a total novice when it comes to terrain building and miniature painting, but so far it’s been loads of fun and I want to keep going. Hope I can count it as one of my many craft skills soon 😉

    #137249
    Cacique Caribe
    Participant

    Does anyone want to give this question a try … “So when exactly did the term “crafting” begin to creep into the subject of making wargaming terrain?”

    My guess is the last 5 years or so, though I could be wrong.  And my guess is that the phrase substitution started off on YouTube.  I have not heard terrain-making called “crafting” anywhere outside YouTube.

    For example, this YouTuber has come up with a highly versatile way to convert stone walls to shop fronts.  He might have plans to use this solely for RPGs, but his idea transcends all miniature tabletop applications in my opinion.  The way I see it, I no longer need to decide ahead of time if my walls are going to be exterior or interior ones in a walled city:

    Perhaps this use for the word “crafting” has a direct lineage going back to D&D players, trying to reinvent (Or rebrand) the 3-D gaming terrain concept.  It does seem to pop up a lot with that RPG crowd:

    Maybe I just need to start getting out more.

    Dan
    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376

    #137257
    irishserb
    Participant

    Post deleted.

    #137261
    Tony Hughes
    Participant

    Craftsmen and their crafts were possibly the earliest specialists in human society. They were professional (in both modern meanings of the term – they earned a living at it and they were self-regulating) by medieval times and only really disappear as a common feature of life here in the UK after WW2.

    As with most terminology, words change to mean what is done now that has some link (however vague or tenuous) to an older activity. With craft & craftsmen now being more akin to artists (and actually artists were merely a specialist form of interior decorator to begin with) and the ‘creative’ being very much in vogue (as if it ever went away) you get new vocabulary to cope. ‘Crafting’ is just another rather lame construct (at least it isn’t as bad as ‘primering’ – a REAL nonsense word) produced by advertisers, the crafts it refers to are rarely new and many have been around for millennia.

    Just like modelling, some crafts are more difficult to master than others but none should be demeaned or assumed to be less than others because they are mostly practiced by one gender or other division of society.

     

    #137262
    Geof Downton
    Participant

    I have never considered my toy soldier activities to be crafting, although I use similar, and at times identical skills, to those I employ when doing stuff more clearly defined as crafting. For example at the moment I’m making wood and crystal wands for some young (and not-so-young) Harry Potter fans. I have been known to dress dolls and make wooden hobby horses, both of which are often described as crafting, though I would be more specific, sewing or woodwork. I don’t think I care how I, or what I do is described. I consider it “stuff I do”. There’s something in a corner of my mind about crafting considering the doing to be of greater importance than the resulting thing.

    One who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off.
    Ahab, King of Israel; 1 Kings 20:11

    #137267

    Herself is a crafter making cards, gift boxes, decoupage thingys and wotnot… rooting around in all her crafting rubbish often turns up some surprisingly useful artifacts for us ‘proper’ model makers/crafters!

    So I think this encapsulates an issue I have noticed in life as well as crafting. Anything that tends to be more female heavy is considered less skillfull than something that is male dominated. Women make ‘thingys’ and use ‘crafting rubbish’ but men are ‘proper’ model makers etc. Whether said in jest or not, if you look around, you will see the people who really think that way, including women by the way. It’s a societal issue.

    Yes dear you’re quite right, at least with a bit of crafting knowledge, after you’ve burnt yer bra you can crochet another one, by the way skillful has only got one l on the end of it.

    So bash on making nice thingys and we ‘master modelers’ will get on with the grown up stuff.

    "Wot did you do in the war Grandad?"

    "I was with Harry... At The Bridge!"

    #137268
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Harry, I have spoken to you on a number of occasions about your conduct here, and whilst I had hoped you were taking onboard the feedback about the type of community TWW is about, it seems quite apparent you were not.
    You have had your posting rights removed.

    #137269
    Tony Hughes
    Participant

    That attitude stopped being funny over thirty years ago, now it’s just pathetic.

     

     

    #137272
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I prefer “pain-stakingly researched bespoke precision-crafted accessories for the tabletop gaming enthusiast”.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #137273
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Harry, I have spoken to you on a number of occasions about your conduct here, and whilst I had hoped you were taking onboard the feedback about the type of community TWW is about, it seems quite apparent you were not. You have had your posting rights removed.

    I am about as feminist as a person can get and I understood Harry’s comment to be sardonic. Along the lines of Black Powder’s advise to lock oneself away from uninitiated children and women so that they won’t be traumatized by the spectacle of grown men playing with toy soldiers and making explosion noises.

    Just my two cents, but I have a very black and sardonic sense of humor and Harry’s old British working class estate-dwelling geezer pose makes me laugh. However, if you think the comments are making women feel uncomfortable, it’s obviously your call Michael and Samantha.

    (I firmly agree with Samantha, by the way. The culturally prevailing view is still that men make and do things of import while women putter around keeping themselves amused and their families happy. Now, you’ll please excuse me, but Herself is kicking my ass to get on with cleaning the bathroom this sunny Saturday quarantine morning before I go back to finishing off my 3mm Ancient British army.)

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #137277
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    I see terrain making more as the board, the hills, streams etc but happy to accept crafting as the buildings and features esp from foam.  I think it’s a Canadian term more than US or European one but craft shops had (and will if they have survived) plastic models, trains, art materials as well as the traditional crafts.

    Webster defines it as ‘an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill’ AFTER ‘skill in planning, making, or executing’.

    Like to O/P I’ve been watching too many videos and now slipped into the dread diorama territory and thinking a slap of paint and a bit of flock just does not cut the mustard anymore.  Never going to roll a dice this year if I do not stop drooling at some of the videos.

    #137279
    Mike
    Keymaster

    However, if you think they’re making women feel uncomfortable, i…

    I happen to know for a fact that it is, but more making them angry/livid at being spoken to in such a tone, rather than uncomfortable.
    I also know for a fact that there are men angry with that sort of attitude.
    Furthermore it is not the first time I have been unhappy with such content, and not the first time I have received complaints.

    It is certainly the not the sort of attitude that is welcomed on TWW.

    #137281
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Sorry, Cacique Caribe.
    Back to the topic at hand now…

    #137283
    Cacique Caribe
    Participant

    Yes, let’s all step away from the distracting PC nonsense reactions for a minute.  To imply that I was citing a known stereotype (yes, it is a stereotype, an over-generalization, no matter how wrong it might be viewed in Western culture today) because I somehow believed that it is still the standard to follow, and then take offense over that, is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction that should have also been done away with 30 years ago too.

    Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that a new application to the word “crafting” (as a substitute for the more specific term “terrain-making”) has apparently entered our vocabulary.  I won’t use it myself, however, because I see the use of the term “crafting” as as being too vague and simplistic, and brings to mind some distracting stereotypes, but I won’t prevent others from using it either.

    It’s like the term “smithing”.  I see it more as a suffix, with the same powers and limitations.

    Anyway, no one should be losing posting privileges over what was said here today.  If one side is allowed to take offense over words, so should the other.  This is a site for grown ups after all, right?  🙂

    Dan
    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376

    #137284
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Yes, let’s all step away from the distracting PC nonsense reactions for a minute.

    It is not nonsense.

    Anyway, no one should be losing posting privileges over what was said here today.

    No-one is, it is a culmination of things.

    I have locked this topic.

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