A view from the Gripe Department:
I have seen two exhibitions recently: one was of Turkmenistan jewelry; and the other of African-American quilts. In both instances the makers were described as "artists". Considering the jewelers in question worked mainly making armor, maybe "artisans" would be more appropriate. Also, most of the quilts were not that well designed or made, so "makers" or “quilters” should have been enough. I don’t really object to anyone calling themselves an artist, but museums and gallery spaces should have some better understanding of the intention of the people involved in the creative process: not everything that is chosen to hang on museum walls is necessarily made by artists, however interesting. Do museums wish to edify or just glorify? Maybe you become an "artist" once a museum or gallery decides to display your work, whatever the quality.