To The Best of My abilities.

Gustav Stickley and the

American Craftsman Movement.

 

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Me at Craftsman Farms -Gustav Stickley’s home.

 

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?

 

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Steel inlay carved into my Stickley table.

 

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.

 

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My very real Stickley table I found in an alley, that led me to instigate “Arts and Crafts” 

 

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.

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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.

Tiny Tables Series 5

I am very proud to present Tiny Tables Series 5. William Morris said,”Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” and I believe Series 5 fits the bill for both.

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New hand made adjuster.

Series 5 represents natural beauty, rebirth, and hope. Its construction is based on a butterfly sculpture I have been working on, and the legs mirror the angles I use for wings. Combined with all repurposed materials, Series 5 will be recreated over-and-over using a variety of materials while keeping the design the same.

Series 5 #1 and #3 feature removable X-ray cartridge tops as well as a handmade adjustor and walnut feet.

Dimensions 11″ x 13″ x 20″ // Price $113

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#2 features solid steel top.

 

Series 5 #2 has a reclaimed steel top, eye bolt adjustor.

Dimensions 14″ x 14″ x 21″ // Price $113

 

“Tiny Tables Series 5— Own Something Beautiful” 

 

Building Bridges!

Building Bridges from Phoenix to Brooklyn to Ghent.

In early spring I was Given an opportunity to travel to NYC, no real plans of what to do how to do it. So I packed  some clothes, a few tools and a couple of journals and headed out. This is a long story so I will break it up into a few Blog post, Kinda Tarantino it up a little. So first up will be Ghent, I spent a month working on a small 1840’s farm house where I would Build a bridge, work on a bathroom and try and find a few commissions. It was a large property with a 1840’s farm house, 7 or so out buildings and a stream through the west side. Which brings us to part one…

The Bridge.

The farm was the site of an old water powered saw mill, for the turbine powered mill they had build a sluice way, this created a fork in the stream, which created an “island” that would need a bridge. Using wood left over from when the saw mill was torn down, some found steel water pipes and some new steel I set off to build a bridge. The inspiration was from many places but, mostly a bridge crossing the Hudson near Kinderhook,NY.

Stream and a pile of wood.

Inspiration from Kinderhook,NY

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Building a bridge on dry land.

The stream and one piece at a time.

The Bridge is set.

Next in the series will be the farm, The Greater Hudson Museum of antiquated Farm equipment at Ghent, Why T is the man, and Industrial Craftsman Furniture East, also Known as Joe’s Garage.

The Buttes!!!

Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes

Three months ago I was asked to sketch up a few designs for the Buttes and see about building a few new tables for their patio. They liked what I presented. After a few meetings and conversations I started the build out. Working with some local saw mills (and one in Oregon), I set out to find the perfect wood. I chose many varieties: Black Acacia, three types of Mesquite, White Ash, Arizona Elm, Oregon Cottonwood, Maple, Grenadino, and Aleppo Pine. Next, I set out to design the bases, using 1 1/2 and 2″ square tube steel with wood inserts, one adjustable.  I trussed them in four unique ways using some custom iron, antique fence pieces, some bar stock and some unique craftsmanship.  Each table base is its own while following a common theme, so they match without being the same.  For the wood, I used some live edge and free forms, as well as cut some square.  By following the nature in each piece, the tops formed themselves into color and shape, contrast that gives the pieces even more dimension. The rustic, clean look fits well with the modern restaurant architecture set in rocks amidst a cactus garden.  Being given so much artistic freedom this project embodies the Industrial Craftsman style. 

About me.

Hi everyone, I’m Bill Hemphill, the Industrial Craftsman.

Every piece of ICF furniture is handbuilt by me in a small studio at my cottage in Downtown Phoenix.

 

The Industrial Craftsman story begins at a time when I was a union carpenter, and as the recession hit, I became a stay-at-home dad with two babies.

While helping a friend on a Micro Dwell (tiny house) concept, I was invited to start a small cactus nursery in the parking lot of his art gallery, known as The Hive. Aside from tending these plants, I built furniture from alley scraps that I found on my way to work. One day while foraging, I came across a unique wood table, it was really old and well built. I discovered it was a Gustav Stickley circa 1910! This led me to study his work, where I found so many themes I could relate to, including— a man should enjoy his work, nature should be valued, and workers are craftsman. Inspired by the clean lines and use of quality materials.

 

So I began to study the turn of the century Craftsman Movement, from Macintosh and William Morris, to Greene and Greene and Stickley. I found myself not only drawn to the design but also to the underlying philosophy of quality, simplicity, craftsmanship and usefulness of each piece. My nursery became more and more a workshop, until it no longer fit my art gallery surroundings. I did some great work and moved my shop to a newfound home at the cottages. I continue to build and study, finding some success. My style began to evolve from furniture of scraps to something that truly resembled the Craftsman Movement. Although while still using repurposed material, it became something different, neither Industrial nor Craftsman, but something in the middle, like “Gustav Stickley with a welder”. That’s how the Industrial Craftsman style was born.

 

We’re at a time and place in the world where we can no longer afford to be wasteful by buying disposable furniture. The Industrial Craftsman Movement is about taking back the craft by putting it in the hands of the worker, while creating a quality product that lasts several lifetimes.

 

My philosophy is to deliver high-quality, custom, handmade furniture that serves the businesses and residents of my community. Because of its simple design and diversity of materials, I can create a beautiful piece to fit any budget. I aspire to have a piece of furniture in every home and business in my neighborhood, and I’m off to a good start.

 

 

 

 

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Zoo Micro Nursery

 

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Early inlay

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Early table, Found base, bowling lane top.

 

 

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Early table and cactus planter.

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One of the first “craftsman”inspired tables.

 

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Newer Industrial Craftsman style. Complete with signature W.

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The Boys.

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The boys and I.

 

 

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Much happier me. (photo credit Miss Bane)

 

Candle Holders!

Candles are a romantic way to make home feel like home.  Whether you burn them for light, scent or ceremony,  candles play a big part for many of us.  So, Industrial Craftsman Furniture decided to give them a proper home in your home.  These candle stands are made of  parts and scraps  left over from  my furniture projects.  They are unique, handmade, pieces of mini furniture for you to enjoy.  Prices starting at around $20.

We also made the candles featured. Check out Solar Love Candles on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/solarlovecandles

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Candelabra featuring Solar Love pillar candles

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Ponderosa pine dining table with matching coffee table!

 

 

Dining table made of  ponderosa pine: It features a two piece live edge top, steel legs, cross braces, and wooden feet. It is a nice, thick slab of wood, solid, well built, and one of a kind. Completed with a natural finish of linseed oil and wax.

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Dinning Table 42″ x 28″ 27 inches tall and the top is just over 2′ thick.

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Solid hand milled two piece top.

 

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Steel legs, crossbar and wooden feet one adjustable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Table!

What’s better than a rad one-of-a-kind foraged, hand built diner table? The matching coffee table. Also featuring two planks, steel cross bars, wood feet and adjuster.

 

 

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Ponderosa Coffee Table. 40″ x 20″ 17 inches tall.

 

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Two piece top.