Arts & Crafts Movement

September 12, 2009

Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture

Hopefully one day you’ll realize why I couldn’t wait to read Bruce Johnson’s new book-Grove Park Inn: Arts & Crafts Furniture. Even better I hope, after you’ve read it you’ll understand what a conundrum it was figuring out whether to post this as a woodworker’s entry on Gus’ Guild; or Stu’s Blog for Arts and Crafts enthusiast to enjoy. The sad truth is I chose to post it on Stu’s Blog because, of my two blogs, it has gone the longest without a post.

June 14, 2009

Visiting the Pope-Leighey House

I recently visited one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Usonian” houses-the Pope-Leighey house. Originally, built in Falls Church, Va; it was saved from a highway construction eminent domain bull dozer and moved to the grounds of the Woodlawn Plantation in 1964. Several years later, it was moved again, just a few yards this time, to facilitate repairs to its slab foundation. Usonian houses evolved from Wright’s desire to build an affordable house for the middle-class citizen. Built for a cost of $7000 in 1940, which various inflation internet calculators but at approximately $105,000 2009 dollars

May 07, 2009

Who Influenced Who?

This is not a post about The Who, or even a story about The Guess Who; but rather a story about influences; influences within the world of Arts and Crafts era furniture. When I design a piece of furniture, I look to the work of some of the leading Arts and Crafts era furnituremakers-Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Greene brothers, and Charles Rene Mackintosh– for inspiration. I’ll pull out reproduction catalogs from “back in the day,” or more modern auction catalogs, or any available book that features pictures of the classic designs. I often draw creative energy from the work of Gustav Stickley. Looking at images of his work has often made me wonder, who influenced his designs? So as a starting point, I thought I’d look at who influenced Gustav Stickley. There is often very little physical evidence of who influenced who. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just open up a diary and read an entry that starts “My work was influenced by….” But that is seldom the case. Often we rely on the interpretation of those who have spent extraordinary time studying various bodies of work. Fortunately for us, their research is generally in-depth, and their arguments sound.

March 28, 2009

The Art that is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America, 1875 to 1920

I have to admit I’m about 27 years late coming to this dance, but this book is fast becoming one of my favorite on the American Arts and Crafts movement. Edited in 1987 by Wendy Kaplan, this 400 page book focuses on placing the movement in a social and intellectual context. The four major sections of this book discuss the Search for an American Identity- a discussion of forms and styles; Reforms in Craftsmanship-which examines the various methods of making objects; Spreading the Reform Ideal-focusing on the organizations, communities, and schools that spread the idea; and Reform of the Home- a look at the movements impact on domestic life and Craftsman interiors.

March 07, 2009

Historically Accurate Arts & Crafts Drawer

When you think of designing and building an Arts and Crafts drawer for a bedside or end table, what do you think of? Half-blind dovetails in the front, through dovetails in the rear; perhaps a solid-wood bottom grooved into the side, sticking out the back with room for expansion?

March 04, 2009

San Diego’s Marston House

As with the Riordan Mansion, San Diego’s Marston House is also facing operational challenges due to the current economy. The Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO), a San Digo based organization has stepped in to lead efforts to the Marston House open. Please read their call for help from Executive Director Bruce Coon...

March 04, 2009

The Furniture of Charles Rohlfs

The Arts and Crafts movement has always provided a cozy home for paradox. English philosophical roots that are ground in craftsmanship attained by bringing the artist and craftsman back together; is juxtaposed by its American evolution that could not have existed without mass production. Stickley’s vision of affordable quality furniture for the middle class serving as early inspiration for Greene & Greene’s furniture; which could only be enjoyed by very privileged Americans. And Charles Rohlfs’ furniture-which looks nothing like the images normally conjured up when one thinks Arts and Crafts furniture– fits nicely into this paradoxical framework.

February 14, 2009

The Riordan Mansion Needs Your Help!

Designed by Charles Whittlesey, who later built the famous Craftsman Style “El Tovar Hotel” at the Grand Canyon, this craftsman mansion is constructed using pine, native volcanic rock and stone. It features wonderful tulip art glass panels, and innovatively used photo negatives of Native-Americans as window decorations. The rooms are authentic and full of the Riordan’s belongings, including many outstanding pieces of original Arts and Crafts furniture. Riordan Mansion is also a great place to see Arts and Crafts furniture-especially some wonderful examples of Gustav Stickley and Harvey Ellis collaboration.

January 07, 2009

Jessie M. King–Glasgow Illustrator and Artist - Guest Post by Laura Euler

She was the preeminent Glasgow Style book illustrator, but Jessie M. King also excelled in many oeuvres: textiles, ceramics, jewelry, posters, bookplates, interior design, and costumes. John Russell Taylor described her style perfectly in The Art Nouveau Book in Britain: “…the image she conjures up of pale ladies festooned in stars and attended by flights of birds, of wan haloed knights, lost in reverie and drifting through wispy landscapes of faint transfigured trees and insubstantial dream-castles of the mind, is not quite like anything else in art, and once entered, never wholly escaped from.”

December 11, 2008

Cassique: The Voysey Inspired Club House of The Kiawah Island Club - Guest Post by Erica Forester

It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from my students. One day this past semester I was teaching a course on the Decorative Arts after 1800 and discussing the Arts and Crafts Movement in England. I was showing the students some pictures of the architecture and furniture of Charles F. A. Voysey, when all of a sudden one of my students became very excited and said her hometown clubhouse was built in homage to Voysey. I was stunned because outside of architecture students and lovers of the Arts and Crafts Movement, who would ever have heard of Voysey, let alone believe a clubhouse hand been built echoing his philosophy, and his style. She promised to bring me an article on the clubhouse. My post is based on that article by Susan Sully, published in “Legends, The Magazine of Gracious Island Living.”