Recently, I headed up to Morris Plans to the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farm to drop off my handmade paper note cards and hanging art for their annual Holiday Open House (December 5 & 6th and 12 & 13th)... My good friend Shunzyu Haigler who is the manager of Membership and Individual Support there offered to let me tour the house to see the holiday decorations, and the newly restored master bedroom. So after finishing my display I crossed the bookstore into the house. O' my... there is a such a spirit of love and warmth to the Stickley Museum that will never be captured in photos. You just must walk there to appreciate the attention to details, the use of materials, and the peace that settles on you the minute you step into the rooms that Gustav Stickley shared with his family and friends over a century ago.
Starting in 1908, Craftsman, the magazine Stickley founded a few years earlier, reported on the development of Craftsman Farms. The Stickley family's New Jersey home, and the culmination of the domestic ideals espoused in the magazine. "Like so much of what Stickley did, his magazine sprang from commercial impulses, but in transcending these impulses it taught and inspired a generation of artisans, designers, and architects, and reached out to thousands more seeking a simpler way to lead their lives."1
The Arts and Crafts Movement was a British, Canadian, Australian, and American aesthetic movement occurring in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and a romantic idealization of a craftsperson taking pride in their personal handwork, it was at its height between approximately 1880 and 1910.2
It was a reformist movement that influenced architecture, decorative arts such as textiles, pottery and wall paper, cabinet making, and even the "cottage" garden designs of William Robinson or Gertrude Jekyll. Among its best-known practitioners were William Morris, Elbert Hubbard, Frank Lloyd Wright, Greene & Greene, and Gustav Stickley, as well as artists in the Pre-Raphaelite movement... Evident also to all who visit Dard Hunter's Studio and Mountain House in Chillicothe, Ohio the movements had a great impact on graphic arts as well. (Dard Hunter (1883-1966) graphic designer in the Arts & Crafts Movement, paper historian and author, private press printer, collector and museum director. Friends of Dard Hunter, founded in 1981to his memory, is an international organization center around the same handmade paper and related arts and crafts, of which I am a member.)
...Papermaking has a deep kinship with Arts & Craft, that is perhaps not immediately apparent unless you understand the philosophy behind the movement. That is most likely why my mixed media art which borders on a contemporary Victorian vibe is still perfectly at home among the other work featured there.
If you live, work, or frequent the tri-state area for any purpose and have not visited the Stickley Museum, you have missed an important piece of art and design history. There is however still opportunity to amend your deficiency :-). You can learn more about the Stickley Museum and the Arts and Crafts Movement via the following resources for starters (just cut/paste links):
Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farm: http://stickleymuseum.org/index.php
Video clips from Elbert Hubbard special on PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wned/elbert-hubbard/
The Life of Dard Hunter: http://www.dardhunter.com/About.htm
The Friends of Dard Hunter: http://friendsofdardhunter.org/index.html
2 Wikipedia Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arts_and_Crafts_Movement