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.

March 04, 2015

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 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.

November 03, 2011

Restoring Grove Park Inn's Vanity Chair

This is the final post in a three post entry on the Grove Park Inn’s Vanity Chair. Read the first post, The Grove Park Inn’s Vanity Chair, and the second post, The Grove Park Inn’s Vanity Chair, Part II.

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.

September 03, 2011

The Grove Park Inn’s Vanity Chair Part II

This is the second post, in a series of three that shares what I learned about factory built arts and crafts furniture while restoring a Vanity Chair from Asheville, North Carolina’s Grove Park Inn.

July 09, 2011

The Grove Park Inn’s Vanity Chair

As an admirer of all things Arts and Crafts, I enjoy visiting Asheville, North Carolina’s Grove Park Inn, often attending the annual Arts and Crafts Conference that takes place at the inn. During my many visits to the inn I’ve come to love its furniture collection, especially the original furniture still used in the main inn’s rooms. For me, this furniture is a great example of pieces produced in factories during the Arts and Crafts era.

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.

December 05, 2008

The Glasgow Style

“The scope of this book is strictly decorative arts in the Glasgow Style, aimed at the collector. That leads to some odd emissions. No architecture and no fine Art building–even if it is the Glasgow Style rendered in stone–and none of Frances McNair’s remarkable paintings. Those can be seen in many other books or on the Internet. I specifically want to explore items that are not necessarily in other books, things that may not be museum-quality but that represent the broad spectrum of objects made in the Glasgow Style.”