Gustav Stickley and the
American Craftsman Movement.
As I sit typing this from my own “stickley” Table, Lets discuss his influence on American culture and Furniture. Many people are familiar with the term “Craftsman” it invokes of bungalows and Historic neighborhoods, or maybe “Sears craftsman” But, how exactly did it become a movement in Art, Architecture, Design? One so ingrained in American society to be easily recognizable?
One man did much of the heavy lifting, borrowing from Morris’ British “Arts and Crafts” , Gustav Sickley designed and built fine furniture made by men, not machines. It was intentionally simple, the beauty was in the honesty of materials and joinery. the complexity in the materials and methods, not in “False adornment”. It was real, solid wood, with quality joinery and functional designs.
Stickley was also responsible for the publication of the iconic “American Craftsman” magazine which along with discussions on the current methods of wood and steel working, design trends and trade discussions. It also featured heavy political discussions of the day, he published works by Anarchist, Socialists and Libertarians. He saw a worker, as a craftsman who created a value and a beauty to society.
As Stickley was so am I committed to the honesty, and natural beauty of the materials, designs and workmanship. To Truly become an American Craftsman…Life is so short, the craft so long to learn…
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia to fill in the blanks…
Stickley’s new furniture reflected his ideals of simplicity, honesty in construction, and truth to materials. Unadorned, plain surfaces were enlivened by the careful application of colorants so as not to obscure the grain of the wood and mortise and tenon joinery was exposed to emphasize the structural qualities of the works. Hammered metal hardware, in armor-bright polished iron or patinated copper emphasized the handmade qualities of furniture which was fabricated using both handworking techniques and modern woodworking machinery within Stickley’s Eastwood, New York, factory (now a part of Syracuse, New York). Dyed leather, canvas, terry cloth and other upholstery materials complemented the designs.
Those ideals – simplicity, honesty, truth – were reflected in his trademark, which includes the Flemish phrase Als Ik Kan inside a joiner’s compass. The phrase is generally translated ‘to the best of my ability.’
His firm’s work, both nostalgic in its evocation of handicraft and the pre-industrial era and proto-modern in its functional simplicity, was popularly referred to as being in the Mission style, though Stickley despised the term as misleading. In 1903 he changed the name of his company again, to the Craftsman Workshops, and began a concerted effort to market his works – by then including furniture as well as textiles, lighting, and metalwork – as Craftsman products. Ultimately, over 100 retailers across the United States represented the Craftsman Workshops.
Looking for the perfect piece, searching for the perfect piece…
Finding the right wood, whether looking through a dumpster, a wood pile, or some freshly sliced timber — knowing what you are looking at is an art.
Identifying the species, age, growth pattern — is it Dry? Cured? Kilned? Is it an “Old Growth” tree or Urban Forested?
Three main ways I get wood.
Urban forested: These are yard trees cut down or blown down, which are milled into useable slabs. Usually has one or both live edges.
Walnut For Barrio Gran Reserva
Assorted woods and wood shopping.
Urban Foraged: Wood found in dumpsters, ally ways, or curbside.
With all the remodels in historic neighborhoods If you are careful you can find some real “Old growth” treasures.
Dumpster score with Miss Bane in Coronado.
In short I use many methods to get the woods I use, but I want them all to be as beautiful and sustainable as possible. Knowing what is useful, what is not, what is firewood, what will not burn.
This entire show was found wood.
Reclaimed: Found in yards, or online purchased, maybe even from a “barn wood store”
This wood is usually old, either a demolished building, or someone was storing it for quite some time.
Green Goddess house of herbs was all reclaimed wood from a Bar in New River.
Old growth Fir “found”
Kitchen and bridge in Ghent, NY made of wood found on site.
Tiny Tables: Beautiful, Simple and Useful.
One of my favorite things about making each piece individually by hand is how different and unique each piece really is. From the materials I am using, to the way I feel, and the designs that are in my head. Each piece is a truly unique experience, and a great way to watch the evolution is through the tiny tables. Let’s look back at the evolution of tiny tables.
These are from the first series of Tiny Tables. Under the ZOO name, this was an original set of ten, built at The Hive Phoenix. Do you have one?
Series two Tiny Tables were slightly larger due to the barn wood I was using at the time. All steel was “Urban Foraged”. There were originally five in this series, made under the ZOO label, and built at the Hive Phoenix. Do you have one?
Series three was similar to series one, but were numbered 1-12.
Series four tiny tables were the first under the new ‘Industrial Craftsman Furniture” label, featured a stenciled W on the bottom and were part of a full collection called “Industrial Revolution”. There were 3 of each piece in this collection, the first collection built at “the cottages”…
This series included 5 pieces and were cut offs from the patio tables I did for the Tempe Buttes Marriott. They were built at the cottages and were the first to feature a carved-W signature instead of spray paint stencilled.
Two Tiny tables and a saw blade table I built In Ghent NY.
As you can see, over time my style has developed and changed. There are many more “Tiny tables” out there but I do not always get/keep photos. Do you have one? Post a photo.
Love benches are the perfect spot to sit, reflect and enjoy.
Perfect for two love benches add a beautiful accent to any patio, entryway or porch. Love Benches come in many styles and wood choices and start at $300. to order a Love bench select a photo, wood type and theme. E-mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Big One Barrio Gran Reserva.
This hand built gem was a collaboration between Wendy Gruber (owner of Barrio)
and I, the Walnut is so rich and chocolate you could eat it. Provided by Tom winkler.
The old favorite Grand avenue Pizza CO.
Industrial/ Craftsman Furniture</span
Aside from being a great Pizza maker, Carson Wheeler is a fine wood aficionado,
and repeat offender. These new table tops feature mesquite from wine glass bar sawmill,
and some old diner booths.
Far from home spring in New York
The Hudson Valley is a magical place that has attracted artist for centuries, do to its beauty, its serenity and bridges. This is a bridge I built with wood found on the property, I also found time to build a few commissioned pieces, and do a few installations…
Courtesy of Lyle Trued and matthew gamble…and the always amazing uncle TEE.
High design in an unlikely spot SouthWest truck driver training.
When Sean Williams of southwest approached me, I could tell he was ready to transform a space, Great designs, impeccable wood selection and a conference table for a boss.
Showing Off Urban Organics at the IceHouse
With the Help of amazing artist Joe Holdren and Scott Woodward we ascended on the Icehouse Phoenix with an Epic showing of Furniture, Abstract Paintings and ceramic sculpture. Thanks, to amazing friends and patrons this show was amazing.
The bread and Butter.
At the end of the day my bread and butter are sales from Zinnias on melrose,
Cartwheels Gallery in Cottonwood and Commissions from Clients new and old.
It keeps the designs fresh and evolving and good clients give me great pleasure.
Thank, you all for making my year amazing.
The ultimate home court advantage.
A Custom handmade conference table.
This table features Colibah, Arizona ash and geometrical radness.
ONE TREE is a collection of furniture made from a single Mesquite Tree.
The “ONE TREE” collection will be on display at Ice House Phoenix, during Urban Organics.
Starting with a Chilean/Argentine Mesquite tree milled by Todd Langford, I set out to create a complete collection.
This collection will include:
A living room set- side table, coffee table, 2 end tables, and 2 tiny tables.
A patio set- bench, 2 end tables, and a patio bar.
This wood is deeply figured and unique, the colors and grains show though in a vivid manner. The pieces within each set are cut so you can see where in each slab they came from.
Urban Organics– October 7th at 6:00 pm
Featuring: Joe Holdren, Scott Woodward and Myself