arts and crafts movement

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ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT Origin: United Kingdom Key Characteristics: Simplicity of form, plain linear shapes First phase: inspired by natural plants and animal forms Second phase: more abstract, inspired by movement and mythical creatures.

Key Facts: Believed in the superiority of handcrafted objects over machine made, machine production regarded as being degrading to both creator and consumer. Advocates of the Arts and Crafts ideal formed guilds and crafts societies, each with their own style, specialization, and leaders, to discuss and share ideas.

Belief that good design could reform society and improve the quality of life of the creator and consumer alike.

Key people / figures: William Morris A W N Pugin John Ruskin Arthur Mackmurdo Charles R Ashbee

The Arts and Crafts Movement The Arts and Crafts movement initially developed in England during the latter half of the 19th century. Subsequently this style was taken up by American designers, with somewhat different results. In the United States, the Arts and Crafts style was also known as Mission style. This movement, which challenged the tastes of the Victorian era, was inspired by the social reform concerns of thinkers such as Walter Crane and John Ruskin, together with the ideals of reformer and designer, William Morris. Their notions of good design were linked to their notions of a good society. This was a vision of a society in which the worker was not brutalized by the working conditions found in factories, but rather could take pride in his craftsmanship and skill. The rise of a consumer class coincided with the rise of manufactured consumer goods

In this period, manufactured goods were often poor in design and quality. Ruskin, Morris, and others proposed that it would be better for all if individual craftsmanship could be revived-- the worker could then produce beautiful objects that exhibited the result of fine craftsmanship, as opposed to the shoddy products of mass production. Thus the goal was to create design that was... " for the people and by the people, and a source of pleasure to the maker and the user." Workers could produce beautiful objects that would enhance the lives of ordinary people, and at the same time provide decent employment for the craftsman. Medieval Guilds provided a model for the ideal craft production system. Aesthetic ideas were also borrowed from Medieval European and Islamic sources. Japanese ideas were also incorporated early Arts and Crafts forms. The forms of Arts and Crafts style were typically rectilinear and angular, with stylized decorative motifs reminiscent of medieval and Islamic design. In addition to William Morris, Charles Voysey was another important innovator in this style. One designer of this period, Owen Jones, published a book entitled The Grammar of Ornament, which was a sourcebook of historic decorative design elements, largely taken from medieval and Islamic sources. This work in turn inspired the use of such historic sources by other designers.

However,in time the English Arts and Crafts movement came to stress craftsmanship at the expense of mass market pricing. The result was exquisitely made and decorated pieces that could only be afforded by the very wealthy. Thus the idea of art for the people was lost, and only relatively few craftsman could be employed making these fine pieces. This evolved English Arts and Crafts style came to be known as "Aesthetic Style. However in the United States, the Arts and Crafts ideal of design for the masses was more fully realized, though at the expense of the fine individualized craftsmanship typical of the English style. In New York, Gustav Stickle was trying to serve a burgeoning market of middle class consumers who wanted affordable, decent looking furniture. By using factory methods to produce basic components, and utilizing craftsmen to finish and assemble, he was able to produce sturdy, serviceable furniture which was sold in vast quantities, and still survives. The rectilinear, simpler American Arts and Crafts forms came to dominate American architecture, interiors, and furnishings in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The term Mission style was also used to describe Arts and Crafts Furniture and design in the United States. The use of this term reflects the influence of traditional furnishings and interiors from the American Southwest, which had many features in common with the earlier British Arts and Crafts forms.

Charles and Henry Greene were important Mission style architects working in California. Southwestern style also incorporated Hispanic elements associated with the early Mission and Spanish architecture, and Native American design. The result was a blending of the arts and crafts rectilinear forms with traditional Spanish colonial architecture and furnishings. Mission Style interiors were often embellished with Native American patterns, or actual Southwestern Native American artifacts such as rugs, pottery, and baskets. The collecting of Southwestern artifacts became very popular in the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Yet, while the Arts&Crafts movement was in large part a reaction to industrialization, if looked at on the European whole, it was neither antiindustrial nor antimodern. 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. At the same time, some Art & Craft leaders felt that objects could also be affordable. The conflict between quality production and 'demo' design, and the attempt to reconcile the two, dominated design debate at the turn of the last century.

Those who sought compromise between the efficiency of the machine and the skill of the craftsman thought it a useful Endeavour to seek the means through which a true craftsman could master a machine to do his bidding, in opposition to the reality which was much more prevalent during he Industrial Age; humans had become slaves to the industrial machine.

The Arts and Crafts Movement began primarily as a search for authentic and meaningful styles for the 19th century and as a reaction against the eclectic revival of historic styles of the Victorian era and the "soulless" machineproduction of the Industrial Revolution. Its practitioners advocated the equality of all the arts and the importance and pleasure of work. Considering the machine to be the root of many social ills, some turned entirely towards handcraft, which made their products expensive and affordable only by the rich. The appearance of Arts and Crafts objects resulted from the principles involved in their making. One of their hallmarks was simplicity of form, without superfluous decoration, often exposing their construction. Another was truth to material, preserving and emphasizing the qualities of the materials used. Arts and Crafts designers often used patterns inspired by British flora and fauna and drew on the vernacular, or domestic, traditions of the British countryside. Many set up workshops in rural areas and revived old techniques. They were influenced by the Gothic Revival(1830-1880) and were interested in all things medieval, using bold forms and strong colors based on medieval designs

Great Britain William Morris's Red House in London. William Morris (1834-1896) was the central figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris's ideas emerged from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of which he had been a part, and were influenced by Ruskin's books The Stones of Venice and Unto this Last, which sought to relate the moral and social health of a nation to the qualities of its architecture and designs. In 1861 he founded a company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., which produced decorative objects for the home including wallpaper, textiles, furniture and stained glass, designed and made by Morris and his colleagues. In 1890 Morris set up the Kelmscott Press, for which he designed a typeface based on Nicolas Jenson's letter forms of the fifteenth century.[7] Red House, Bexleyheath, London (1859), designed for Morris by architect Philip Webb, exemplifies the early Arts and Crafts style, with its well-proportioned solid forms, deep porches, steep roof, pointed window arches, brick fireplaces and wooden fittings. Webb rejected the grand classical style, found inspiration in British vernacular architecture and attempted to express the texture of ordinary materials, such as stone and tiles, with an asymmetrical and quaint building composition.[2] Morris's ideas spread in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, spawning many associations and craft communities, although Morris himself was not involved in them during the mid 1880s because of his preoccupation with spreading socialism. A hundred and thirty Arts and Crafts organizations were formed in Britain, most between 1895 and 1905


Morris wanted a home for himself and his new wife, Jane. He also desired to have a "Palace of Art" in which he and his friends could enjoy producing works of art. The house is of warm red brick with a steep tiled roof and an emphasis on natural materials. Red House forms an early essay in a romantically-massed, non-historical, brick-and-tile domestic vernacular style; it has diverse windows and a beautiful stairway. The garden is also significant, being an early example of the idea of a garden as


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