This article explores creativity in craftwork using the case of Easter egg decoration, a folk art chosen for its traditional roots and diversity of artistic outcomes. This research contributes to the literature at (a) a theoretical level, by conceptualizing a pragmatist-inspired framework of creative activity; (b) a methodological level, by using, beside observation and interview, subjective cameras to record activity; and (c) an empirical level, considering the fact that creativity in folk art has often been a neglected topic. A total of 20 egg decorators of various ages from the village of Ciocăneşti in northern Romania participated in 2 studies. Study 1 concerned the general stages of traditional egg decoration and their characteristics, and Study 2 took a closer look at variations associated with the activity path, the generalities and specificities of work, and how they could be accounted for, particularly in terms of expert–novice differences. These studies revealed the many ways in which creativity is intrinsic to Easter egg decoration, and the final discussion of the article summarizes them with reference to processes of combination and change, copying and translation, personal style, and creative identity. In the end, an understanding of “micro” moments of creativity in craft is achieved, which can help us rethink the relation between tradition and creativity and between folk and fine art.
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2013, Vol 7, Issue 2, p. 140-154