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The American Craftsman Style, or the American Arts and Crafts Movement, is an American domestic architectural, interior design, and decorative arts style popular from the last years of the 19th century through the early years of the 20th century. The American Craftsman style has its origins in the earlier British Arts and Crafts movement which dates back to the 1860s. While the British movement was a Victorian-era phenomenon, its translation to the American setting took place precisely at the moment when that era was coming to a close.
In the late 1890s, a group of Boston’s most influential architects, designers, and educators, determined to bring to America the design reforms begun in England by William Morris, met to organize an exhibition of contemporary craft objects.
The first American Arts and Crafts Exhibition opened on April 5, 1897, at Copley Hall featuring over 1000 objects made by 160 craftsmen, half of whom were women. The success of this exhibition led to the incorporation of The Society of Arts and Crafts, on June 28, 1897, with a mandate to “develop and encourage higher standards in the handicrafts.” The 21 founders were interested in more than sales, and focused on the relationship of designers within the commercial world, encouraging artists to produce work with the highest quality of workmanship and design. This Society was incorporated for the purpose of promoting artistic work in all branches of handicraft. The style incorporated locally handcrafted wood, glass, and metal work that is both simple and elegant.
Several developments in the American domestic architecture of the period are traceable not only to changes in taste and style but also to the shift from the upper- to middle-class patronage.
With the large bays, turrets, and rear wing removed, the front porch simplified, and the ceilings lowered somewhat, it is not difficult to see how the American Foursquare developed from the common American Queen Anne. Another common design development arising from the class-shift of the time was the built-in "breakfast nook" in the kitchen.
Renowned architect David Owen Dryden designed and built many Craftsman bungalows in San Diego's North Park area, which is the site of the proposed Dryden Historic District. Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most important architects of the American home and whose career spanned the Victorian to the Craftsman to the Prairie School, which he in large part founded, is credited with much of the conceptual development of the middle-class home design in the first third of the 20th century.
The Arts and Crafts Movement was a British and American aesthetic movement occurring in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. It was a reformist movement that influenced British and American architecture, decorative arts, cabinet making, crafts, and even the "cottage" garden designs of William Robinson or Gertrude Jekyll. In the United States, the terms American Craftsman, or Craftsman style are often used to denote the style of architecture, interior design, and decorative arts that prevailed between the dominant eras of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, or roughly the period from 1910 to 1925.
The Arts and Crafts Movement began primarily as a search for authentic and meaningful styles for the 19th century and as a reaction to the eclectic revival of historic styles of the Victorian era and to "soulless" machine-made production aided by the Industrial Revolution.
Yet, while the Arts and Crafts movement was in large part a reaction to industrialization, if looked at on the whole, it was neither anti-industrial nor anti-modern.
The need to reverse the human subservience to the unquenchable machine was a point that everyone agreed on. Though the spontaneous personality of the designer became more central than the historical "style" of a design, certain tendencies stood out: reformist neo-gothic influences, rustic and "cottagey" surfaces, repeating designs, vertical and elongated forms. In fact, the proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement were against the principle of a division of labour, which in some cases could be independent of the presence or absence of machines.
Red House, Bexleyheath, London (1859), by architect Philip Webb for Morris himself, is a work exemplary of this movement in its early stages.
In America in the late 1890s, a group of Boston's most influential architects, designers, and educators, determined to bring to America the design reforms begun in Britain by William Morris, met to organize an exhibition of contemporary craft objects.
The huge success of this exhibition led to the incorporation of The Society of Arts and Crafts, on June 28, 1897, with a mandate to "develop and encourage higher standards in the handicrafts." The 21 founders were interested in more than sales, and focused on the relationship of designers within the commercial world, encouraging artists to produce work with the highest quality of workmanship and design.
Widely exhibited in Europe, the Arts and Crafts movement's qualities of simplicity and honest use of materials negating historicism inspired designers like Henry van de Velde and movements such as Art Nouveau, the Dutch De Stijl group, Vienna Secession, and eventually the Bauhaus. In Russia, Viktor Hartmann, Viktor Vasnetsov and other artists associated with Abramtsevo Colony sought to revive the spirit and quality of medieval Russian decorative arts in the movement quite independent from that flourishing in Great Britain. The Wiener Werkstatte, founded in 1903 by Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, played an independent role in the development of Modernism, with its Wiener Werkstatte Style. The British Utility furniture of World War II was simple in design and based on Arts and Crafts ideas. In Ireland, the Honan Chapel, located in Cork, Ireland, on the grounds of University College Cork, built in 1916 is internationally recognised as representative of the Irish Arts and Crafts movement. In the United States, the Arts and Crafts Movement took on a distinctively more bourgeois flavor. In the United States, the Arts and Crafts Movement spawned a wide variety of attempts to reinterpret European Arts and Crafts ideals for Americans. Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator who designed more than 1,000 projects, of which more than 500 resulted in completed works.
Wright promoted organic architecture (exemplified by Fallingwater), originated the Prairie School of architecture (exemplified by the Robie House), and developed the concept of the Usonian home (exemplified by the Rosenbaum House).
Wright authored twenty books and numerous articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe. Dates of structures shown on this web site conform to dates in The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog, by William Allin Storrer.
Gustav Stickley (March 9, 1858 – April 21, 1942) was a furniture maker and architect as well as the leading spokesperson for the American Craftsman movement, a descendant of the British Arts and Crafts movement. In 1901, Stickley founded The Craftsman, a periodical which began by expounding the philosophy of the English Arts & Crafts movement but which matured into the voice of the American movement.
Artificial light should be kept to a minimum, so large groupings of windows were necessary to bring in light. Stickley began making furniture in the mission oak style with the founding of the Craftsman Workshops in Eastwood, New York (now a part of Syracuse, New York) in 1904.
He moved his headquarters to New York City in 1905 and planned to establish a boarding school for boys in Morris Plains, New Jersey (what is now Parsippany, New Jersey).
Although initially conceived of as a clubhouse for students, financial troubles forced Stickley to live there with his family instead. Stickley was a poor businessman and the American public began to reject his simple furniture in favor of revival styles; in 1915 he filed for bankruptcy, stopping publication of The Craftsman in 1916 and selling Craftsman Farms in 1917.
Gustav's brothers Leopold (Lee), Albert, Charles and John George Stickley were also important figures in the Arts and Crafts movement. William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was an English artist, writer, and socialist.

This is designed to introduce you to William Morris's visual designs, including book design, calligraphy, furniture, decorative arts, paintings, drawings, stained glass, tapestries, textiles, and wallpapers. Originally, mission and craftsman furniture was characterized by rectilinear design, simple, straight construction, heavy proportion and exposed joinery, often using medium or dark stained oak. Posted in Furniture, Hardwood Furniture, Interior Design.Tagged american made, craftsman furniture, craftsman style furniture. She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. Craftsman furniture was introduced by Stickley who began making American Craftsman furniture in 1900, though he did not change the name of his firm to the Craftsman Workshops until 1903. As a design movement, its popularity remained strong until the 1930s, although in the decorative arts it continues to experience numerous revivals until the present day. The British movement, which spawned a wide variety of related but conceptually very distinct design movements throughout Europe, was a reaction to the degradation of the dignity of human labor resulting from the Industrial Revolution.
It can be said that the American movement that also emphasized craftsmanship was also a design reform movement that encouraged originality, simplicity of form, local natural materials, and the visibility of handicraft, and was concerned with ennobling the more modest home of the rapidly expanding American middle class. The first meeting was held on January 4, 1897, at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) to organize an exhibition of contemporary crafts. Some of the supporters of the exhibit were Langford Warren, founder of Harvard’s School of Architecture; Mrs. It hopes to bring Designers and Workmen into mutually helpful relations, and to encourage workmen to execute designs of their own. A reaction to Victorian opulence and the increasingly common mass-produced housing elements, the style incorporated clean lines, sturdy structure, and natural materials. The American Victorian typically took the form of a two-story square house with a hip roof disguised behind a variety of two-storied bays, with an assortment of gables as well as octagonal or round turrets and wraparound porches presenting a complex facade. The middle-class housewife of the era would not have domestic servants (at least not live-in ones) and would be doing much if not all of the housework herself, as well as watching the children.
The Victorian kitchen of the previous era was separated from the family view and daily routine. The Marston House, an Arts and Crafts mansion built in 1905 for George Marston (a prominent San Diegan who was also a founder and first president of the San Diego Historical Society), was designed by San Diego architects William Hebbard and Irving Gill.
Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and a romantic idealization of the craftsman taking pride in his personal handiwork, it was at its height between approximately 1880 and 1910.
Considering the machine to be the root cause of all repetitive and mundane evils, some of the protagonists of this movement turned entirely away from the use of machines and towards handcraft, which tended to concentrate their productions in the hands of sensitive but well-heeled patrons. Some of the European factions believed that machines were in fact necessary, but they should only be used to relieve the tedium of mundane, repetitive tasks.
Yet the extent to which the machine was ostracised from the process was a point of contention debated by many different factions within the Arts and Crafts movement throughout Europe. In order to express the beauty inherent in craft, some products were deliberately left slightly unfinished, resulting in a certain rustic and robust effect. They were in favour of the idea of the master craftsman, creating all the parts of an item of furniture, for instance, and also taking a part in its assembly and finishing, with some possible help by apprentices. There is a deliberate attempt at expressing surface textures of ordinary materials, such as stone and tiles, with an asymmetrical and quaint building composition. Some of the supporters for the exhibit were Langford Warren, founder of Harvard's School of Architecture; Mrs.
The movement can be assessed as a prelude to Modernism, where pure forms, stripped of historical associations, would be once again applied to industrial production. While the European movement tried to recreate the virtuous world of craft labor that was being destroyed by industrialization, Americans tried to establish a new source of virtue to replace heroic craft production: the tasteful middle-class home. These included the "Craftsman"-style architecture, furniture, and other decorative arts such as the designs promoted by Gustav Stickley in his magazine, The Craftsman. His work includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, hotels, and museums. His colorful personal life frequently made headlines, most notably for the failure of his first two marriages and for the 1914 fire and murders at his Taliesin studio. Also included is a page that features seventeen buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright which have been designated by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to be retained as an example of his architectural contribution to American culture. Following the chronological periods, a page provides links to sites that deal with Frank Lloyd Wright's career, in general --photo collections, directories of resources, biographical sketches, etc. He worked with architect Harvey Ellis to design house plans for the magazine, which published 221 such plans over the next fifteen years.
His furniture was all handmade rather than machine made, crafted to be simple and useful; it was primarily built from native American oak, joinery was exposed, upholstery was carried out with natural materials (canvas and leather), wood could be varnished but never painted, and there were no unnecessary lines. Craftsman Farms was designed to be self-sufficient, with vegetable gardens, orchards, dairy cows and chickens.
In 1988, Barbra Streisand paid $363,000 for a Stickley sideboard from Craftsman Farms; magazines such as Style 1900 and American Bungalow cater to those interested in the Arts and Crafts movement.
He was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, was one of the principal founders of the British Arts and Crafts movement, a pioneer of the socialist movement in Britain, and a writer of poetry, fiction, and translations from the Icelandic.
The Green Mountain State is increasingly recognized as the country’s leader in high quality, handmade wood furniture. Drawer pulls were usually simple round brass rings or rectangular back plates of solid brass with canted corners and an oval bail handle.  But like all things, craftsman furniture has evolved.
It was sometimes popularly referred to as Mission Furniture, a term which Stickley despised. In many ways it was a reaction against the over-decorated aesthetic and disregard for the worker of the Victorian era. When craftsmen, consumers, and manufacturers realized the aesthetic and technical potential of the applied arts, the process of design reform in Boston started. It endeavors to stimulate in workmen an appreciation of the dignity and value of good design; to counteract the popular impatience of Law and Form, and the desire for over-ornamentation and specious originality. The name comes from a popular magazine published in the early 1900s by furniture maker Gustav Stickley called The Craftsman, which featured original house and furniture designs by Harvey Ellis, the Greene brothers, and others.
Typically, the basic square house was also complemented by a back wing complete with its own entrances, and a stairwell that housed the kitchen, pantries, and scullery on the first floor and the servants' quarters on the second.

These added roles made it important that the kitchen be integrated into the main house with easy sight lines to the common areas of the main floor (the dining and living rooms) as well as to the back yard.
It typically had a work table (having the equivalent purpose of the modern countertop) at which the servants would eat after the family meal was served and the kitchen tidied.
The Marston House is now a museum located on the border of Balboa Park, and is open to the public. At the same time, some Arts and Crafts leaders felt that objects should also be affordable. There were also socialist undertones to this movement, in that another primary aim was for craftspeople to derive satisfaction from what they did.
This was in contrast to work environments such as the French Manufactories, where everything was oriented towards the fastest production possible. Morris later formed the Kelmscott Press and also had a shop where he designed and sold products such as wallpaper, textiles, furniture, etc.
They thought that the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts would ennoble the new experience of industrial consumerism, making individuals more rational and society more harmonious.
A host of imitators of Stickley's furniture (the designs of which are often mislabeled the "Mission Style") included three companies formed by his brothers, the Roycroft community founded by Elbert Hubbard, the "Prairie School" of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Country Day School movement, the bungalow style of houses popularized by Greene and Greene, utopian communities like Byrdcliffe and Rose Valley, and the contemporary studio craft movement. Wright also often designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass.
It is hoped that Wright on the Web will inspire the visitor to seek out his nearest building --or make a pilgrimage to a distant one-- and experience "for real" an actual structure or interior space that Frank Lloyd Wright created. He also established the Craftsman Home Builders Club in 1903 to spread his ideas about domestic organic architecture. The main house there is constructed from chestnut logs and stone found on the property, and exemplifies Stickley's building philosophy. As a co-founder of the domestic design firm Morris & Co., Morris was influential in the resurgence of traditional textile arts in the wake of the industrial revolution, working across a broad spectrum of techniques including tapestry weaving, dyeing with natural dyes, carpet-making, wood-block printing, and embroidery in the style that became known as art needlework. Vermont boasts over 1000 furniture companies plus 2000 independent woodworkers operating out of small shops, barns and garages. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. Seeking to ennoble the craftsman once again, the movement emphasized the hand-made over the mass-produced.
It will insist upon the necessity of sobriety and restraint, or ordered arrangement, of due regard for the relation between the form of an object and its use, and of harmony and fitness in the decoration put upon it.
The designs, while influenced by the ideals of the British movement, found inspiration in specifically American antecedents such as Shaker furniture and the Mission style. Fitted with inferior-quality woodwork and hardware, and noticeably smaller bedrooms and lower ceiling heights, the Victorian kitchen-servants wing embodied the aristocratic class distinctions of the Old World. Commonly, the butler's pantry of the Victorian Era was replaced with diningroom cabinetry that often consisted of "built-ins", which gave home designers the opportunity to incorporate wood and glass craftsmanship into the public aspects of the home. The Victorian kitchen had no "proper" place for a family member to sit, eat, or do anything else.
Cobden Sanderson, Walter Crane, Nelson Dawson, Phoebe Anna Traquair, Herbert Tudor Buckland, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Christopher Dresser, Edwin Lutyens, Ernest Gimson, William Lethaby, Edward Schroeder Prior, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gustav Stickley, Greene & Greene, Charles Voysey, Christopher Whall and artists in the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
The conflict between quality production and 'demo' design, and the attempt to reconcile the two, dominated design debate at the turn of the twentieth century. This satisfaction, the proponents of this movement felt, was totally denied in the industrialised processes inherent in compartmentalised machine production.
Morris's own ideas emerged from the thinking that had informed Pre-Raphaelitism, especially following the publication of Ruskin's book The Stones of Venice and Unto this Last, both of which sought to relate the moral and social health of a nation to the qualities of its architecture and designs. In short, the American Arts and Crafts Movement was the aesthetic counterpart of its contemporary political movement: Progressivism. Studio pottery — exemplified by Grueby, Newcomb, Teco, Overbeck and Rookwood pottery, Bernard Leach in Britain, and Mary Chase Perry Stratton's Pewabic Pottery in Detroit — as well as the art tiles by Ernest A. To add a link from Wright on the Web, please e-mail the URL to the address at the bottom of this page. He is also well known as a designer of wallpaper and patterned fabrics and as the founder of the Kelmscott Press. They produce a diverse collection of wood furnishings for every taste and budget and together they have earned a world-wide reputation for integrity, authenticity and green design. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.
While the British movement still contained some of the over-done decoration of its Victorian precursor, it was almost anti-Victorian in philosophy; the movement's founder, William Morris, was a staunch socialist and as such the philosophy behind the Arts and Crafts movement in the UK is clearly part of the materialist dialectic. Again, as the housewife of the Craftsman era was now preparing the family meals, the Victorian kitchen gave way to one designed as the heart of the family's daily life. Some of the most famous apostles of the movement, such as Morris, were more than willing to design products for machine production, when this did not involve the wretched division of labour and loss of craft talent, which they denounced.
The decline of rural handicrafts, corresponding to the rise of industrialised society, was a cause for concern for many designers and social reformers, who feared the loss of traditional skills and creativity. Batchelder in Pasadena, California, and idiosyncratic furniture of Charles Rohlfs also demonstrate the clear influence of Arts and Crafts Movement. However, the expensive materials and expensive hand-made techniques meant that the movement was in fact serving the wealthiest clients, a seeming contradiction to its roots in socialist philosophy.
The breakfast nook often placed under a window or in its own bay provided a place for the family to gather at any time of the day or evening, particularly while food was being prepared. Morris and other socialist designers such as Crane and Ashbee looked forward to a future society of free craftspeople.
In 1881 the Home Arts and Industries Association was set up by Eglantyne Louisa Jebb in collaboration with Mary Fraser Tytler (later Mary Watts) and others to promote and protect rural handicrafts. A group of reformist architects, followers of Arthur Mackmurdo, later established the Art Workers Guild to promote their vision of the integration of designing and making.

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