Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Stickley Museum

The Stickley Museum is located in the original L. & J.G. Stickley Factory at 300 Orchard Street, Fayetteville, N.Y.

For more information and directions, click here.

Highlights include the Prairie Settle, designed by Peter Hansen, which incorporates wide arms and paneled quartersawn oak to create a distinct horizontal plane. Also, view the Drop Front Desk, designed by Harvey Ellis, and a signature piece for Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Workshop. This desk bears Ellis’s copper and pewter inlays and avodire marquetry.

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms

Craftsman Farms, in the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey, is the former home of Gustav Stickley, a leading figure in the American Arts and Crafts Movement. The log house, built in 1911 from hewn Chestnut trees and local stone, and the site, which consists of 30 acres of the original 650-acre tract, is designated a National Historic Landmark.

The main house at Craftsman Farms was designed as a gathering place for workers, students and guests, large enough to accomodate 100 people. The living and dining rooms are warmed by copper-hooded fireplaces. The porch opens to a vista of the farm. The house is T-shaped, with a one-story kitchen attached to the rear. The gabled roof has shed dormers at the front and back, allowing for light and ventilation of the upstairs bedrooms.

The Craftsman Farms

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kelmscott Manor and William Morris

If Gustav Stickley is the father of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, then William Morris is the father of the English Arts and Crafts Movement.

Morris lived from 1834 to 1896, the epicenter of the Victorian era. His life, design, and philosophy was in reaction to the rigid formality of the Victorian era and the mechanical qualities of the industrial age. Morris epitomized a return to the simple country life. In 1869, Morris bought a country home called Kelmscott Manor to the west of London, on the edge of the Cotswolds and near the town of Lechlade.

Visit Kelmscott.

My grandfather emigrated from England, probably during the 1890's. I still possess a picture of his family farm in Langford Downs showing two old gentlemen proudly standing and sitting in front of a two story brick and stone house. The gentlemen are likely my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather.
The age and style of the picture are such that it was taken sometime during the period when Morris lived at Kelmscott.

It is always fun to discover connections. So, when I was in England this summer, I learned that Langford Downs was a mile from the Kelmscott Manor. Whether my great-grandfather knew of Morris, I will never know. Their social classes were miles apart, and even thought Morris himself was a socialist, it is unlikely that he spent much time among the local folks.

Image from wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gustav Stickley

Gustav Stickley was born in 1858. In 1901, Stickley founded The Craftsman, a periodical expounding the English Arts & Crafts movement of William Morris and others, but which matured into a distinctly American movement. Working with architect Harvey Ellis and with brothers Leopold, Albert, Charles, and John, these pioneers of the movement developed housing plans and furniture styles which have had a major impact on the industry even to this day.

Gustav Stickley believed that a house should be constructed in harmony with its landscape, local materials should be used when possible, an open floor plan would encourage family interaction, and built-in bookcases and benches would maximize space. Decorations were intended to be organic in nature and minimal in use. The style of furniture developed is referred to as Mission and is characterized by rectilinear lines and solid sturdy construction.

For more on Gustav Stickley and the Craftsman Home.