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ARTS and CRAFTS

by Jirousek, Obniski, Boehm


ARTS and CRAFTS


ARTS and CRAFTS

Written by Jirousek, Obniski, Boehm Edited by Christina Lee Published by Retrinac Publishing Co. 3115 Orchard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007. Copyright 2012 by the Retrinac Publishing Co, Inc. All rights reserved.


arts & crafts

history of the arts and crafts movement he influence of the movement’s figurehead was William Morris, who believed that industrialization alienated labor and created a dehumanizing distance between the designer and manufacturer. Morris strove to unite all the arts within the decoration of the home, emphasizing nature and simplicity of form. The American Arts and Crafts movement was inextricably linked to theBritish movement and closely aligned with the work of William Morris and the second generation of architect-designers, including Charles Robert Ashbee, who toured the United States, and Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, whose work was known through important publications such as The Studio. British ideals were disseminated in America through journal and newspaper writing, as well as through societies that sponsored lectures and programs. The U.S. movement was multicentered, with societies forming nationwide. By 1860 a vocal minority had become profoundly disturbed by the level to which style, craftsmanship, and public taste had sunk in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and its mass-produced and banal decorative arts. Among them was the English

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The Weaving Shed at Merton Abbey from Morris & Company, 1890

reformer, poet, and designer William Morris, who, in 1861, founded a firm of interior decorators and manufacturers —Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company (after 1875, Morris and Company)—dedicated to recapturing the spirit and quality of medieval craftsmanship. Morris and his associates (among them the architect Philip Webb and the painters Ford Madox Brown and Edward Burne-Jones) produced handcrafted metalwork, jewelry, wallpaper, textiles, furniture, and books. The “firm” was run as an artists’ collaborative, with the painters providing the designs for skilled craftsmen to produce. To this date many of their designs are copied by designers and furniture manufacturers. 1

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arts & crafts Stained glass front doors of the Gamble House in Pasadena, California Lamp on the back porch of the Gamble House in Pasadena, California

However, plain surfaces with minimal decorative embellishments were suited to incorporating the machine, resulting in furniture with intense rectilinearity and natural surfaces. In addition to Wright, popular Prairie School architects William Gray Purcell and George Grant Elmslie directed offices in Minneapolis and Chicago. Purcell, Feick and Elmslie (as the firm was known between 1910 and 1913 with the addition of George Feick Jr.) remodeled the J. G. Cross House in Minneapolis in 1911. The firm specialized in residences with artistic interiors (especially for a middle-class clientele, although they certainly worked for wealthy patrons as well) using organic decorative elements. Like Wright and Purcell, Feick and Elmslie, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, California architect-designers of the period, were interested in domestic architecture incorporating the interior as a total work of art. The brothers Greene initially worked

in all the popular revival styles, but after examining English and American design periodicals and Charles Greene’s formative trip abroad, their style shifted by the early 1900s. They fashioned a distinctive style, heavily influenced by Asian design, that reached its zenith with the bungalow, the quintessential Arts and Crafts architectural form, characterized by broad overhanging eaves, articulated woodwork, and an open plan. For the Blacker House (1907) in Pasadena, Greene and Greene usedJapanese design to craft elements in their comprehensive schemes, inside and out. Vase (1915) and bowl (1917) produced by the Saturday Evening Girls.

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arts & crafts

textiles and designs

First: Carnation. Wallpaper Design. by Kate Faulkner. 1875.| Second: Hand painted ceramic tiles. by W illiam De Morgan. 1870.

y the 1880s Morris’s efforts had widened the appeal of the Arts and Crafts Movement to a new generation. In 1882 the English architect and designer Arthur H. Mackmurdohelped organize the Century Guild for craftsmen, one of several such groups established about this time. These men revived the art of hand printing and championed the idea that there was no meaningful difference between the fine and decorative arts. Many converts, both from professional artists’ ranks and

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from among the intellectual class as a whole, helped spread the ideas of the movement. Without a singular philosophy, diversity persevered within the Arts and Crafts movement as a mixture of individuals worked in diverse locations. There were regional differences due to the geographical distribution from the East Coast, to the Midwest, to California. Craftsmen used a wide range of source material to produce hand wrought objects. Arthur J. Stone, a dedicated member of the Boston Society of Arts 3

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First: Design for W indrush printed fabric by W illiam Morris, 1881-83 Second: Drawing for Tulip and W illow block-printed fabric by W illiam Morris, 1873

and Crafts, produced silver objects that were conservative in design. An Englishman who immigrated to the United States, Stone opened his silver shop in Gardner, Massachusetts, where he initially executed all pieces himself. When the business expanded, he hired additional craftsmen to make individual works. There were also creative designers with unique vision, such as Charles Rohlfs, who worked in Buffalo, New York. Rohlfs eschewed industrial production methods, preferring to craft individual pieces of furniture utilizing a myriad of foreign sources, including Moorish, Chinese, and Scandinavian design. Gustav Stickley, founder of The United Crafts (later known as the Craftsman Workshops), was a proselytizer of the craftsman ideal. Emulating William Morris’s production through guild manufacture of his furniture, Stickley believed that mass-produced furniture was poorly constructed and overly complicated in design. Stickley set out to improve American taste through “craftsman” or “mission” furniture with designs governed by honest construction, simple lines, and quality material. He also published the highly influential The Craftsman, a beacon for the American Arts and Crafts movement. Design critics felt that the use of machinery not only contributed Design for Chrysanthemum printed wallpaper and fabric by W illiam Morris, 1876

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to bad design but also diminished the worker’s satisfaction in his job. A.W.N. Pugin drew upon Gothic sources to improve Victorian design; he believed “there should be no features about a building which are not necessary for convenience, construction, or property [and] . . . all ornament should consist of enrichment of the essential construction of the building.” American arts and crafts designers copied Pugin’s interest in honest construction. The art critic John Ruskin decried the use of machinery in manufacturing. He wrote that “all cast and machine work is bad; as work. . it is dishonest.” The designs had to be “honest” and true to the material used. Ruskin reacted negatively to “naturalistic” high Victorian design where a silver table centerpiece might be a camel or a palm tree at an oasis. Design reform had moral overtones, for the worker who labored to create an object would become a better man if his work gave him pleasure. 5

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arts & crafts

FURNITURE lbert Hubbard began with a publishing company in 1895 under the imprint of Roycroft, a name derived from the seventeenth century English book-binders. By 1901, Roycroft began manufacturing a line of furniture in the Arts and Crafts style. Although he was not a designer, Hubbard used his business acumen to create a demand for his books, furniture, and small metalwork. The company survived his death on the Lusitania in 1915 but could not survive the change in taste in the 1920s or the Great Depression. By 1938, the company was sold. Like Hubbard, Gustav Stickley, created a veritable empire of Arts and Crafts goods with a strong philosophical underpining. Unlike Hubbard, Stickley possessed a technical background in furniture manufacturing. Trained by his father to be a stonemason, Stickley learned the furniture manufacturing trade from his uncle. By 1898, he founded the Gustav Stickley

Vienna Bookcase, Thuya and lemon wood, brass, and glazed glass 57 x 39-1/2 x 16-1/4 in. Made by Caspar Hrazdil, 1903

Company in Eastwood, New York. Stickley also promulgated his Arts and Crafts ideals in a magazine he started in 1901. The first two issues paid homage to Morris and Ruskin. Stickley introduced his new designs at the Grand Rapids Furniture Fair in the summer of 1900. His firm, United Crafts, soon changed to Craftsman Workshops. He hoped to create a unified design by organizing “a guild of cabinetmakers, metal and leather workers, formed for the production of household furnishing� similar to that of Morris and Co. in England. The manufactured furniture at the Craftsman Workshop was sold not only at the factory and Craftsman stores in Boston and Washington, but also at Arts and Crafts exhibitions as well as over fifty major retailers located throughout the country. Morris Chair, ebonised wood, adapted by Philip Webb, 1866

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INTERRIOR DESIGN ublications, including The Craftsman, House Beautiful, and Ladies Home Journal, disseminated ideas about design and interiors. The ideal home that emerged had an open-planned interior shaped by a color palette that reflected the natural environment. Articles and illustrations presented decorating suggestions, including the use of colors, type of furniture, and decorative accessories, such as rugs and pottery. Period sources embraced Grueby Pottery for its innovative interpretation of nature and craftsmanship. Founded by William Grueby, the pottery was known for naturally shaped vessels with matte green glaze. In addition to pottery, lighting was also an important element that contributed

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to the ideal Arts and Crafts interior. The copper electric table lamp was the archetypal object crafted by the Dirk Van Erp Studio. Additionally, a Native American undercurrent developed during the Arts and Crafts movement, as evidenced by fashionable Indianstyle baskets and textiles featured in Arts and Crafts exhibitions and publications. Many collected baskets to display in their Indian corners, which may have inspired Louis Comfort Tiffany to design a hanging shade in an Indian basket motif. First: A room decorated in the Arts and Crafts style by W illiam Morris, with furniture by Philip Webb. Second: Entrance Hall ofJames Gamble House, Pasadena, CA . Greene & Greene, 1908,

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architecture rchitecture, too, was part of the Arts and Crafts movement. From the exquisite oriental influenced designs of the Greene and Greene houses in Pasadena to the mass marketed Sears & Roebuck mail order bungalows, there was a craftsman style house for every budget. The construction was honest featuring few frills, a love of wood, and inspiration from nature. Pergolas, sleeping porches, and terraces helped erase the boundaries between the house and the garden surrounding it. Because the design of the house was to encourage a closely knit family, fireplaces and dining rooms were important features. A small room called an inglenook provided a retreat next to the fireplace where the family could gather. One promoter of bungalows wrote in 1911, “A bungalow without a fireplace would be almost as much an anomaly as a garden without flowers.” In California, the Arts and Crafts house was interpreted by many architects, including Greene & Greene in Pasadena, Bernard Maybeck in Berkeley, and Irving Gill and Richard Requa in San Diego. The California style drew inspiration not only from oriental designs but also from the California missions and other early adobe buildings. Irving Gill’s style evolved from the more traditional Arts and Crafts style of the Marston House to a style incorporating the massive walls and arcades of the Mission style as exemplified by the La Jolla Woman’s Club. Gill envisioned a “simple cube house with creamy walls, sheer and plain, rising boldly into the sky unre-

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lieved by cornices or overhang of roof, unornamented save for the vines.” Frank Lloyd Wright shaped a new way of living through his completely designed environments, encompassing architecture and all elements of interiors. He ushered in a style of architecture that became known as the Prairie School, characterized by low-pitched roofs, open interiors, and horizontal lines that reflected the prairie landscape. This architecture, which utilized natural materials such as wood, clay, and stone, sparked a 8

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arts & crafts

View of Thorsen House, Greene & Greene, 1909, Berkeley, CA

Back Porch of Gamble House, Greene & Greene, 1908, Pasadena, CA

revolutionary shift in the American interior. Wright’s “organic” architecture was indebted to nature. The rectilinear, simpler American Arts and Crafts forms came to dominate American architecture, interiors, and furnishings in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Later on, Charles and Henry Greene were important Mission style architects working in California to build now famous houses like the Thorsen House or the Gamble House.

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copyright 2005. Photograph. Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland. Web. 10 Apr 2012. <http://www.wksu.org/ news/story/18548>. “Arts and Crafts Movement.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/ EBchecked/topic/37281/Arts-and-Crafts-movement>. Boehm, Mary Dutton. “The Arts and Crafts Movement in America.” Journal of San Diego History. 36.2&3 (1990): n. page. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/90summer/ arts.htm>. Gamble House back porch lamp. N.d. Photograph. WikipediaWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/File:Gamble_House,_back_porch_lamp.jpg>. Gamble Porch. N.d. Photograph. WikipediaWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Gamble_Porch.jpg>. Jirousek, Charlotte. “The Arts and Crafts Movement.” Art, Design, and Visual Thinking: An Interactive Textbook. Cornell University, 1995. Web. 10 Apr 2012. <http://char.txa.cornell.edu/ art/decart/artcraft/artcraft.htm>. Kate Faulkner. Carnation. 2009. Photograph. The Pattern Sourcebook: A century of surface designWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http://elisabeth-busynothings.blogspot.com/2011/02/yay-for-arts-and-crafts. html>. Obniski, Monica. “The Arts and Crafts Movement in America.” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. (2000): n. page. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/acam/hd_acam.htm>. Peter Goss. Gamble House interior entrance. 1907. Photograph. University of Utah, College of Architecture PlanningWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/item_viewer. php?CISOROOT=/coa&CISOPTR=2386>. Philip Webb. Morris chair. 1866. Photograph. TWOCAN interior designWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http:// twocan.co.nz/2011/09/arts-and-crafts-furniture/>. Saturday Evening Girls. 1915. Sculpture. Paul Revere Pottery, Boston. Web. 10 Apr 2012. <http:// www.britannica.com/bps/media-view/139087/1/0/0>. The Weaving Shed at Merton Abbey. 1911. Photograph. Morris & CompanyWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Morris_and_Company_Weaving_at_Merton_Abbey.jpg>. William De Morgan. Hand painted ceramic tiles. 2009. Photograph. The Pattern Sourcebook: A century of surface designWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http://elisabeth-busynothings.blogspot.com/2011/02/ yay-for-arts-and-crafts.html>. William Morris. Acanthus Leaves. 1875. Photograph. The Granger Collection, New York. Web. 10 Apr 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/bps/media-view/94652/1/0/0>. William Morris . Chrysanthemum. 1877. Graphic. University of GlasgowWeb. 19 Apr 2012. <http:// universityofglasgowlibrary.wordpress.com/tag/wallpaper/>. William Morris . Fruit. 1865. Graphic. University of GlasgowWeb. 19 Apr 2012. <http://universityofglasgowlibrary.wordpress.com/tag/wallpaper/>. William Morris . N.d. Graphic. University of GlasgowWeb. 19 Apr 2012. <http://universityofglasgowlibrary.wordpress.com/tag/wallpaper/>. William Morris. Tulip and Willow. 1873. Photograph. William Morris: Selected WorksWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Morris_Tulip_and_Willow_design_1873.jpg>. William Morris. Windrush. 1881-83. Photograph. William Morris: Selected WorksWeb. 10 Apr 2012. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Morris_Windrush_textile_design_1881-83.jpg>. William Morris, and Philip Webb. N.d. Photograph. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Web. 10 Apr 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/bps/media-view/35359/1/0/0>.


ARTS and CRAFTS â&#x20AC;&#x153;An excellent resource for any artist about the Arts and Crafts movement.â&#x20AC;?

Keith D. Mobley, LAZine

The Arts and Crafts movement emerged during the late Victorian period in England, the most industrialized country in the world at that time. Anxieties about industrial life fueled a positive revaluation of handcraftsmanship and precapitalist forms of culture and society. Arts and Crafts designers sought to improve standards of decorative design, believed to have been debased by mechanization, and to create environments in which beautiful and fine workmanship governed. The Arts and Crafts movement did not promote a particular style, but it did advocate reform as part of its philosophy and instigated a critique of industrial labor; as modern machines replaced workers, Arts and Crafts proponents called for an end to the division of labor and advanced the designer as craftsman.

Published by Retrinac Publishing Co. 3115 Orchard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007. Copyright 2012 by the Retrinac Publishing Co, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Arts and Crafts Movement e-book  

An e-book detailing the Arts and Crafts movement.

Arts and Crafts Movement e-book  

An e-book detailing the Arts and Crafts movement.

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