“According to RG Collingwood, Principles of Art, what distinguishes the artist from the craftsman is that the craftsman has a precise notion of what she is constructing. The artist, in contrast, performs her creations to learn what they become. And in learning what they become, the artist informs herself about something previously unknown to the artist.”
It’s an interesting distinction—and not one that should be seen as a putdown for craftsmen. It’s just a different approach to the visual arts. I think the distinction can also be seen in literature. The writer of literary fiction begins with questions or a vague direction and ventures into the unknown, whereas someone writing genre fiction (such as mysteries) would begin with a plot—a detailed map of the journey and destination.
I would consider my own jewelry firmly in the artisan camp, though there is still an element of surprise and serendipity involved (plus what my art teacher mother would call "the happy accident"), which makes me think that the boundaries between these two ways of working are not always so clear cut. Even with a map, there is going to be the occasional detour or insight that pushes the piece in an unexpected direction.
One of my favorite quotations (only tangentially related, but I never get a chance to use it!) is by Gustave Flaubert:
“Language is a cracked kettle on which we bang out tunes to make the bears dance, when what we long for is to move the stars to pity.”