Historically, the more specialized crafts with high value products tended to concentrate in urban centers and formed guilds. The skill required by their professions and the need to be permanently involved in the exchange of goods often demanded a generally higher level of education, and craftsmen were usually in a more privileged position than the peasantry in societal hierarchy. The households of craftsmen were not as self-sufficient as those of people engaged in agricultural work and therefore had to rely on the exchange of goods. Some crafts, especially in areas such as pottery, woodworking, and the various stages of textile production, could be practiced on a part-time basis by those also working in agriculture, and often formed part of village life.
Once an apprentice of a craft had finished his apprenticeship, he would become a journeyman searching for a place to set up his own shop and make a living. After he set up his own shop, he could then call himself a master of his craft.
This system of a stepwise approach to mastery of a craft, which includes the obtainment of a certain amount of education and the learning of skills, has survived in some countries of the world until today. But crafts have undergone deep structural changes during and since the end of the Industrial Revolution. The mass production of goods by large-scale industry has limited crafts to market segments in which industry's modes of functioning or its mass-produced goods would not or cannot satisfy the preferences of potential buyers. Moreover, as an outcome of these changes, craftspeople today increasingly make use of semi-finished components or materials and adapt these to their customers' requirements or demands and, if necessary, to the environments of their customers. Thus, they participate in a certain division of labour between industry and craft.
There are three aspects to human creativity - Art, Crafts, and Science. Roughly determined, art relies upon intuitive sensing, vision and expression, crafts upon sophisticated technique and science upon knowledge.
Handicraft is the "traditional" main sector of the crafts, it is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. Usually the term is applied to traditional means of making goods. The individual artisanship of the items is a paramount criterion, such items often have cultural and/or religious significance. Items made by mass production or machines are not handicraft goods. Handicraft goods are made with craft production processes.