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Arts and Crafts Movement

Arts and Crafts Movement

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Published by: Suncokreta on May 23, 2012
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Arts and Crafts movement
"Artichoke" wallpaper, by John Henry Dearle for William Morris & Co.,
Arts and Crafts movement
was aBritishandAmerican aesthetic movement  occurring in the last years of the 19th centuryand the early years of the20th century. Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and a romantic idealization of the craftsman taking  pride in his personal handiwork, it was at its height between approximately 1880 and 1910.It was a reformist movement that influencedBritishand American architecture,decorative arts,cabinet making,crafts, and even the "cottage"garden designsof William Robinson or  Gertrude Jekyll. Its best-known practitioners wereWilliam Morris, Charles Robert Ashbee,  T. J. Cobden Sanderson,Walter Crane, Nelson Dawson, Phoebe Anna Traquair ,Herbert Tudor Buckland,Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Christopher Dresser , Edwin Lutyens,Ernest Gimson, William Lethaby, Edward Schroeder Prior , Frank Lloyd Wright,Gustav Stickley, Charles Voysey,Christopher Whallandartists in the Pre-Raphaelite movement. In the United States, the terms 
, or  
are often used todenote the style of architecture, interior design, and decorative arts that prevailed betweenthe dominant eras of  Art NouveauandArt Deco, or roughly the period from 1910 to 1925.
Origins and key principles
TheOregon Public LibraryinOregon, Illinois, U.S.A.is an example of Arts and Crafts in a Carnegie Library.Myers Free Kindergarten building inAuckland,  New Zealand. The Arts and Crafts Movement began primarily as a search for authentic and meaningfulstyles for the 19th century and as a reaction to theeclectic revival of historic stylesof theVictorian eraand to "soulless" machine-made production aided by theIndustrialRevolution.Considering the machine to be the root cause of all repetitive and mundaneevils, some of the protagonists of this movement turned entirely away from the use of machines and towards handcraft, which tended to concentrate their productions in thehands of sensitive but well-heeled patrons.Yet, while the Arts and Crafts movement was in large part a reaction to industrialization, if looked at on the whole, it was neither anti-industrial nor anti-modern. Some of theEuropean factions believed that machines were in fact necessary, but they should only beused to relieve the tedium of mundane, repetitive tasks. At the same time, some Arts andCrafts leaders felt that objects should also be affordable. The conflict between quality production and 'demo' design, and the attempt to reconcile the two, dominated designdebate at the turn of the twentieth century.Those who sought compromise between the efficiency of the machine and the skill of thecraftsman thought it a useful endeavour to seek the means through which a true craftsmancould master a machine to do his bidding, in opposition to what many believed to be thereality during the Industrial Age, i.e., that humans had become slaves to the industrialmachine.The need to reverse the human subservience to the unquenchable machine was a point thateveryone agreed on. Yet the extent to which the machine was ostracised from the processwas a point of contention debated by many different factions within the Arts and Craftsmovement throughout Europe.(This conflict was exemplified in the German Arts and Crafts movement, by the clash between two leading figures of theDeutscher Werkbund(DWB),Hermann Muthesiusand Henry Van de Velde. Muthesius, also head of design education for German Government,
was a champion of standardization. He believed in mass production, in affordabledemocratic art. Van de Velde, on the other hand, saw mass production as threat tocreativity and individuality.)Though the spontaneous personality of the designer became more central than the historical"style" of a design, certain tendencies stood out: reformist neo-gothicinfluences, rustic and "cottagey" surfaces, repeating designs, vertical and elongated forms. In order to express the beauty inherent in craft, some products were deliberately left slightly unfinished, resultingin a certain rustic and robust effect. There were alsosocialistundertones to this movement,in that another primary aim was for craftspeople to derive satisfaction from what they did.This satisfaction, the proponents of this movement felt, was totally denied in theindustrialised processes inherent in compartmentalised machine production.In fact, the proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement were against the principle of adivision of labour , which in some cases could be independent of the presence or absence of machines. They were in favour of the idea of the master craftsman, creating all the parts of an item of furniture, for instance, and also taking a part in its assembly and finishing, withsome possible help by apprentices. This was in contrast to work environments such as theFrench Manufactories, where everything was oriented towards the fastest production possible. (For example, one person or team would handle all the legs of a piece of furniture, another all the panels, another assembled the parts and yet another painted andvarnished or handled other finishing work, all according to a plan laid out by a furnituredesigner who would never actually work on the item during its creation.) The Arts andCrafts movement sought to reunite what had been ripped asunder in the nature of humanwork, having the designer work with his hands at every step of creation. Some of the mostfamous apostles of the movement, such as Morris, were more than willing to design products for machine production, when this did not involve the wretched division of labour and loss of craft talent, which they denounced. Morris designed numerous carpets for machine production in series.
[edit] History of the movement
Red Housein London.Red House,Bexleyheath, London(1859), by architect Philip Webbfor Morris himself, is a work exemplary of this movement in its early stages. There is a deliberate attempt atexpressing surface textures of ordinary materials, such as stone and tiles, with anasymmetrical and quaint building composition. Morris later formed theKelmscott Press and also had a shop where he designed and sold products such as wallpaper, textiles,furniture, etc. Morris's own ideas emerged from the thinking that had informedPre-Raphaelitism, especially following the publication of Ruskin's book 
The Stones of Venice
Unto this Last 
, both of which sought to relate the moral and social health of a nation tothe qualities of its architecture and designs. The decline of rural handicrafts, correspondingto the rise of industrialised society, was a cause for concern for many designers and social

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