Arts & Crafts Movement

March 28, 2016

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.

February 01, 2012

Arts & Crafts Furniture @ Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

A great place to see, and photography Arts and Crafts furniture at close range, is the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, VA; I recently visited VMFA to do just that. Their Arts and Crafts furniture is nicely nestled within the broad theme of VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Collection’s Art Deco and Art Nouveau collection located on the third floor in the Lewis Galleries. While there are only two rooms of exhibits, it is a well-rounded representation of American and British Arts and Crafts furniture. There are exceptional pieces from Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Greene & Greene on display.

September 08, 2011

A Conversation with Stephen Gray

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk about collecting Arts and Crafts furniture with one of the great experts–Stephen Gray. Stephen has been collecting since 1976 and has published and edited many books on the topic, and his collection was featured in a show at The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut.

November 01, 2009

Meet Mike Danial and the Stickley Road Show

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Stickley Road show. For the uninitiated, the Stickley Road show is a presentation about the history of, and construction techniques used by The L & JG Stickley Furniture company. The show highlights the expert knowledge, both as a woodworker and long-time second-generation employee of L & JG Stickley, of Mike Danial.

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.

August 19, 2008

Online Arts & Crafts History Course

One aspect of furniture design is understanding the history behind a particular style or influence. I enjoy building in the Arts and Crafts style, so when I stumbled upon an online course titled “Arts and Crafts Movement” offered by The New School University ( ), I signed up. New School is an online university run by the Parsons School of Design located in New York City. I’m told by those with knowledge of design and art schools that Parsons is a very reputable design/Art school.

August 02, 2008

A Great Stickley Book!

I recently visited the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate in Winterthur, Delaware. In addition to the 175 room mansion of the DuPont family, the Winterthur estate is also home to a major research library specializing on American culture. They have a very extensive collection of information on furniture-including Colonial, shaker, and Arts & Crafts furniture. It includes the third largest Shaker library in the country, and one of the best research collections on the Arts & Crafts movement in America. The library’s Arts & Crafts collection includes business papers from many companies, original periodicals, and glass-plate negatives.