I believe that WITHIN a "fine art" classroom, there is room for craft, BUT it must, even in a small way, be personalized to the student/artist, otherwise it's hollow. Craft helps us connect with culture, social studies, the history of our species, and that's great, but art must also connect with the maker in some personal way. It is not hard to do, but does take a little thinking.
For the sake of argument, I will use the example of a Dream Catcher. It's a great opportunity to discuss Native American culture, or even go a bit deeper and discuss the art they make for themselves, and the art they sell to tourists. If your school's History or World Cultures classes do a unit on Native Americans, it can helpful to coordinate a cross content lesson.
In most cases, a dream catcher is a "craft" item. The product generally tells you nothing about the artist who made it. It does not have to be that way.
We had students create a "charm" that represents something that brings them joy to help attract good dreams. Hannah, above, made a simplified ballet slipper, others made sail boats, baseballs, funny faces, or representations of their pets. This little charm connected the artist to the work. One could go further by adding colored beads and feathers where the colors of the bead or feather represent other expressive qualities. We have a poster hanging in our room about the emotional values of color. It has become a good resource to keep students thinking symbolically.
So don't say NO to craft, just find a way to connect it to the maker, the artist, and it will become more than just a cute thing, it will become an expressive work of art that has personal meaning.
Have a lesson you want to personalize but are just not sure how, share it in the comments, and we can all post some suggestions. If you don't want to post it, use this link.