The Arts And Crafts Movement

 

The Arts and Craft Movement

 

The Arts and Crafts movement began in post-Victorian era England. This was during a time at which concerns about the industrialization of life moved some to re-evaluate the importance of handcraftsmanship, and see it in a positive light. In England, this began with the work of William Morris, an architect-designer who saw the separation between the designer and the manufacturer as a dehumanization of production. In his work he tried to create a united design in all areas of décor, and emphasized nature and simple form.

The American Arts and Crafts movement (1880-1910) was closely aligned with these teachings, but also emerged from a contemporary movement of social reform in America called the Progressivism movement. This movement helped shaped the mood of these emerging styles. This was in fact not the style of the mainstream that still appreciated the aesthetic of academic eclecticism, which included many of the rational geometric styles including Neoclassicism, Italianate, Queen Anne, Gothic Revival, and other Victorian styles.

 

The proponents of this movement imagined idyllic images of medieval life, when life was more moral, and architecture where building forms were naturally derived from function. They saw the use of hand craft more virtuous than that of machine crafted products. Artisan creation included stained glass, wallpaper, tile, textiles, carpets, metal goods that look as medieval as possible. These were of course modified medieval forms that were picturesque forms of the vernacular. The period brought a few distinctive style of houses that included a fully designed environment matching the style on the interior as well. This included the Craftsman/Bungalow style, Mission style, Prairie style, and English Cottage/Tudor revival style.

 

In the home, this movement was seen as one for the American middle class who were willing to forgo niceties if traditional architectural decoration to maximize the floor area for minimum financial outlay. This included built in furnishings that included cabinet and shelving spaces. This gave homeowners the opportunity to incorporate wood and glass craftsmanship into the public areas of the home. Craftsman style build-ins are typically characterized by simple straight-line construction, medium to dark stained wood, heavy and substantial mass, but are well proportioned. They have a distinct lack of unnecessary ornament, with extreme simplicity and fine craftsmanship. Oak is a commonly used wood in Craftsman style houses.

In the same strain of affordable and beautiful design for homeowners, art glass windows also creates a unique look of a handcrafted home. Beveled glass had been historically expensive, but the sudden availability of inexpensive plate glass allowed for a mosaic looking windows made out of beveled pieces. The beveled edges of the glass that make up the whole window come from the process of grinding down and shaping the edge of each piece. The individual pieces are joined together between metal came strips. Shapes tended to be formed of shallow curves. This curved glass can provide intriguing visual effects to the light passing through the windows.

 

Art glass was a staple of this time period. Not only used in windows, but in door insets, hanging light fixtures, and lamps. In fact, the colored stain glass of the windows, and the dark colors of the wood in the room created a greater need for direct lighting, which encouraged the use of table lamps. A well-known manufacturer of art glass was Louis Tiffany of who you may have heard from the name “Tiffany lamp.” Designs of objects found in nature were likely selections for stained glass windows. Many high style American windows depict fruit. Natural scenes reflected the interest in floral realism. The realistic scale of the designs in the glass was intended to cause viewers to feel like they were standing in a garden, or sitting on the limb of a tree.

John Bradstreet was a predominant craftsman in Minneapolis. Working out of the Minneapolis Crafthouse, he was an influential “taste-maker” in his pursuit of more avant-garde ideas. On multiple occasions, Bradstreet visited Japan, which influenced his designs, and led to the development of his unique style of woodworking. Japanese influenced design began to emerge from the Arts and Crafts movement as a whole. Bradstreet found it very important to preserve the integrity of the handcrafted tradition.

 

The Art Nouveau movement that emerged from France also ran in concurrence during this time period. Highly styled organic forms expanded the use of nature including flowers and the distinctive whiplash curve, and even included seaweed, grasses, and insects. Rather than look like natural ornamentation had been placed on the object, it looked like natural objects have been growing out of the piece. It was the culminating expression of nature toward which all the Victorian arts had been directed. Architectural designs made use of exposed iron, and large pieces of glass. The hammered texture finish is typical of the hand crafted Art Nouveau style. The look of the melting iron takes on the characteristics of the curling organic forms. Many architectural designs of the Art Nouveau were made of exposed iron.

 

The Arts and crafts in architectural antiques

 
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Beveled Glass Sidelights

 

The Arts and Crafts movement in America emphasized the unique look of a handcrafted home that could be afforded by the middle class as well as the wealthy. Beveled glass had been historically expensive, but the sudden availability of inexpensive plate glass allowed for a mosaic looking windows made out of beveled pieces. The beveled edges of the glass that make up the whole window come from the process of grinding down and shaping the edge of each piece. The glass pieces are ground down, smoothed out, and then polished. The individual pieces are joined together between metal came strips. Beveled windows incorporate floral designs least often because of the thicker glass, and heavier cames. Shaped tended to be formed of shallow curves. This curved glass can provide intriguing visual effects to the light passing through the windows. 

 

Oak Room Divide

Woodwork and trim are style defining characteristics of bungalows and Tudor style houses, which were commonly built during this period, especially “build-ins” that included cabinet and shelving spaces. Built-ins gave homeowners the opportunity to incorporate wood and glass craftsmanship into the public areas of the home. Craftsman style build-ins are typically characterized by simple straight-line construction, medium to dark stained wood, heavy and substantial mass, but are well proportioned. They have a distinct lack of unnecessary ornament, with extreme simplicity and fine craftsmanship. Oak is a commonly used wood in Craftsman style houses. Create a warm, welcoming, peaceful feeling in your home with this practical furnishing.

 

 

Iron Art Nouveau Sconce

Art Nouveau, a style that developed out of France, had a strong application in architecture and interior design. Highly styled organic forms that expanded the use of nature included seaweed, grasses, and insects. Rather than look like natural ornamentation had been placed on the object, it looked like natural objects have been growing out of the piece. It was the culminating expression of nature toward which all the Victorian arts had been directed. Architectural designs made use of exposed iron, and large pieces of glass. Scones would typically line the hallway or stairwell of a dark wood house with details in a metal whiplash shaped railing. 

 
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Monk Light

Though it might not look it, this light could easily fit into an American Craftsman bungalow living room, with dark oak wood build in furnishings surrounding a central wood table, and Tudor style wood lining the walls. Hanging chain lights were popular during this period, as the wires to hook up the electricity could be woven through the chain. You might look up and find a central hanging light made with dark, “hand-hammered” style metal. While geometric shaped lights with art glass were also popular during this period, light fixtures referencing medieval times were popular as well such as hammered iron and copper in basic shapes on heavy chains. The monk faces reference the medieval time period as well. Go back to a “simpler” time that the craftsman longed for with this unique lighting fixture.

 

Cast Iron Mantel with Tile

Art Nouveau style can be seen in the flat, decorative patterns that included leaf and tendril motifs, intertwined organic forms, and the distinctive whiplash curve. The use of cast iron to create the mantel piece would allow for intricate and simple details of flowers, and a hammered iron look to create a lightweight form in comparison the heavily ornamented furnishings of the Victorian period. The handcrafted ceramic tiles use one color of glaze the highlights the raised portions of the tiles, showing a lighter hue of the glaze. This mantel could easily fit into a contemporary residence that liked to be daring in its use of color and décor.

 

Grape Stained Glass Transom Window

Designs of objects found in nature were likely selections for stained glass windows. Many high style American windows depict fruit. Natural scenes reflected the interest in floral realism. Normally fruit was depicted on flat glass, but sometimes the dimensional qualities of jewels would be used for grapes. The realistic scale of the designs in the glass was intended to cause viewers to feel like they were standing in a garden, or sitting on the limb of a tree. Louis Tiffany, a well know art glass manufacturer had a large role in the popularity of styles in lamp shades and windows. 

 

Tree of Life Stained Glass Window Set

Bradstreet was a predominant craftsman in Minneapolis. Working out of the Minneapolis Crafthouse, he was an influential “taste-maker” in his pursuit of more avant-garde ideas. On multiple occasions, Bradstreet visited Japan, which influenced his designs, and led to the development of his unique style of woodworking. Bradstreet found it very important to preserve the integrity of the handcrafted tradition. Nature designs allowed the stained glass portion of the window to be made up of many interlocking and curved pieces. However, towards the end of the Arts and Crafts period, it became more popular to include more glass that would allow for windows to be seen through, with just small details.

 

Oak Prairie French Door Set

These doors come from a sunroom of a Prairie Style house in Glencoe, Illinois. The Chicago area and the greater Midwest had a large number houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and other lesser known architects in the prairie style. Prairie style houses are characterized by their horizontal axis that referenced the Midwest plains, two stories with a flat or low-pitch roof, and one-story high porches with wood or masonry porch posts. The patterns of the art glass windows designed for prairie style houses were formed by metal came lines. These were as important as the glass, as these dividing lines break up the view to the outside, and cast shadows into the room as patterns. Many of these patterns include tall, linear, geometric shapes. The forms in the prairie style windows reflect the building structure and the landscaping as a part of the overall architecture and surroundings

 

Art Nouveau 3-Light Chandelier

The hammered texture finish is typical of the hand crafted Art Nouveau style. The look of the melting iron takes on the characteristics of the curling organic forms. Many architectural designs of the Art Nouveau were made of exposed iron. It wasn’t uncommon to find a hanging chandelier in spacious dining room or gathering room of a craftsman home.

 
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Tulip Door Knob Set

The Art Nouveau and Craftsman style emphasized the design of the environment as a whole. This meant that you could find nature ornamentation and details on anything, even a doorknob. Arts & Crafts era hardware, even if machine made, still included functional forms with simple and understated decoration. Hand-hammered copper or iron, and forged brass were typical materials. Dark colors and finishes, such as oiled bronze or antique brass can be seen as well. This period featured less innovation and more nostalgia than other eras, although there is a distinctive blending of craft and function.

 

Cast Iron Exterior Sconces

These sconces are typical of the Art Nouveau style in their handmade artisan look and the use of curving tendrils of interweaving vines. Unlike the American craftsman, who staunchly stood behind the practice of hand-crafting all art, designers of the Art Nouveau style were fine using modern machinery to shape forms that had nature inspired ornamentation, as well as looking hand-crafted. Hang these sconces outside, or repurpose them as bedside lights, or hall and entry way lights. 

 

Flower Windows

Prairie style windows typically feature a mixture of clear glass and art glass in geometric designs that emphasize verticality. They also typically feature designs of nature. These windows feature a mixture of pink and cream slag glass (or marble glass), and green and yellow textured glass. During the Arts and Crafts period, most manufacturers were probably using slag glass, however, the term was used casually to refer to almost any type of pressed opaque glass containing swirls or streaks. Textured glass is made by rolling an embossed roller over the glass. This gives an extra dimension to the glass to make it look like the texture of the object in the stained glass pattern. Hang these windows where light can come through, and create uniquely shaped patterns and colors on the ground.

 

A+C Lock Sets

Craftsman style hardware was characterized by its simple design, but with still a little detail to reference nature. The simple design of the door hardware matched the typically simple geometric design of Craftman doors which stayed with the idea that the environment as a whole was designed. Arts & Crafts era hardware, even if machine made, still included functional forms with simple and understated decoration. Hand-hammered copper or iron, and forged brass were typical materials. Dark colors and finishes, such as oiled bronze or antique brass can be seen as well. This period featured less innovation and more nostalgia than other eras, although there is a distinctive blending of craft and function.

 
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Beardslee Sconces

The Beardslee Chandelier Manufacturing Company prided themselves on their cooperation with architects. The company marked all of their products with a trademark logo to guarantee a genuine product. The company installed lighting in offices, public buildings, and shopping centers, as well as offering 24-hour shipment catalogs of products that they had on stock. These sconces have a typical geometric form of the Craftsman style. These sconces could fit well in a kitchen, or bathroom were there might be other burnished brass hardware, as well as providing direct task lighting.

 

Sheffeld Lights

First introduced by American lighting manufacturers around 1900, the graceful lines and distinctive shell-like ribbing of the Sheffield style reference the work of Colonial metalsmiths. Ambiguously associated with architecture of the early 20th century, it works well in a variety of period and period-inspired homes, especially English cottage and Dutch colonial style homes, which took some influence from and looked similar to the Craftsman style of house. This hanging chandelier would fit well in a large space like a dining or living room.

 

Fir Entry Double Door

Plain plank doors with glazed panels above became a typical feature of arts and crafts houses. With arts and crafts and bungalow homes, front doors were typically designed in conjunction with the window style. The entry complemented the window pattern by integrating special types of glass panes into its design. In most bungalow houses, the door was protected by the deep shadows of the front porch. Place this in a doorway where light can diffuse through the glazing, or repurpose it into a see through table top or shelving unit. 

 
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Hammered 5-Light Chandelier

You might look up at the ceiling of a Craftsman bungalow dining room, complete with oak or dark wood furnishings, and find a central hanging light made with dark, “hand-hammered” style metal. Hanging chain lights were popular during this period, as the wires to hook up the electricity could be woven through the chain. While geometric shaped lights with art glass were also popular during this period, light fixtures referencing medieval times were popular as well such as hammered iron and copper in basic shapes. Give a contemporary room a classy look, or contrast a white room with dark metal and wood details using this lighting fixture. 

 
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Art Nouveau Balcony

Iron lends itself well to Art Nouveau forms. The architect-designers of the period considered fences and gates as a part of the house of the whole. In the 1890’s, a revival of “quaint” accessories reflected the Art Nouveau influence. The distinctive Art Nouveau whiplash shape can be seen in the railing, as well as iron flower shapes that are typical of the style. Integrate this balcony rail into nature as a garden trellis for flowers and plants to wrap around as they grow.