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Greetings WSJ readers!

Welcome to those of you finding us for the first time in today's Wall Street Journal print and online editions. We are always looking for new voices and would like very much to hear about your own Arts & Crafts home - please forward photographs and stories to the Editor. Additionally, we'd like to run a series of features on architecturally interesting neighborhoods, like some of those in our photo albums. Please drop us a line if you have suggestions in that area as well.

I hope you find something that interests you here. Feel free to visit our sister site, Urban Cartography, as well.

Steve Lopes, Blacksmith

MorgancolumnSteve Lopes is a Washington-based blacksmith focusing primarily on architectural metalwork. His portfolio includes extensive examples of his lighting, door hardware, and other work. One of the two home tours up on his web site shows off some really magnificent work in (and around) a modern Craftsman-style home in his area. The house, designed by Schuler Architecture and Roger Katz, two Seattle-based firms who are no strangers to modern Craftsman-inspired residential work, is a pretty amazing piece of work, integrating art glass, rough-hewn wood, soft Asian lifts, a huge volume of unpainted shingle, textile-block decorated concrete, some ingenious joinery and of course Lopes' own carefully-wrought iron and other metalwork throughout.

Tom McFadden Furniture

Mcfaddensideboard_1Way up along the California coast, not far inland from Point Arena and not far from Mendocino, lies the tiny town of Boonville. Furniture designer and builder Tom McFadden – who does double duty as a woodworking instructor at Medocino Community College and cabinetmaker for Navarro Vineyards – has been living and making beautiful A & C -inspired furniture in this area since the early 1960s. The liquid lines and soft lifts of his work evoke Greene & Greene and aspects of the Nouveau movement, with a sort of pared-down simplicity. He writes that he currently works primarily in two styles: one characterized by the straight lines and square corners of the most formal Shaker work, and the second incorporating a rounded design element that he calls "steps," which echoes the Asian cloud lifts used so effectively by the Greenes. The most iconic characteristic to Tom's work, though, is his tendency to combine woods of very different colors and shades in the same work, giving some of his finest work a kind of graphic contrast not seen anywhere else. This theme is even visible in his much more conservative office furniture.

Arts and Crafts on Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a fantastically immense user-edited encyclopedia. Anyone can make additions and changes, and it's a testament to the principles of anarchism that it does not decay into chaos. Their entry on the Arts & Crafts Movement is excellent, although slanted more than a little toward the UK, the homeland of the movement. I would suggest that some of you add to the page, develop it a bit, and perhaps explore the influence that A&C has had on other parts of the world.

New Craftsman Developments?

FacadeAs regular readers might have guessed, I'm not a big fan of new homes. I feel uncomfortable in new buildings of all types - offices, stores, and especially houses. Growing up in Berkeley in the 1970s and 1980s, I never even guessed that such things as sprawling suburban development even existed - I had very little contact with the kinds of people who lived in such places. To me, then and now, there was something stifling and unnatural about living in a space that had not evolved, and while certainly the idea of building my own home some day has its attraction, I cannot honestly say that I would feel comfortable in a place without its own history.

Thus, it is with conflicted feelings that I read an email telling me about Atlanta's Hawthorn Park development. Part of that city's Kirkwood neighborhood (which itself was originally established in 1899), Hawhtorn Park is a 2003 development where the home plans are based on traditional (but slightly larger) Craftsman plans. Certainly this is not new; developers want to make money, and ever since the Craftsman revival of the early '90s homebuilders have been offering Craftsman plans and even a few large(er)-scale developments like this have been built. All of the homes in the Hawthorn Park development sold out quite quickly after the initial offer in 2003, and many of them seem to be complete and lived-in at the present time. read on...

Continue reading "New Craftsman Developments?" »

Practical Painting: the Pre-Raphaelites

Theflowerpicker_waterhouse_bigPractical Painting showcases particular artistic techniques and movements in short illustrated essay form. This month, Denise includes a brief history of the Pre-Raphaelites, retrospectively considered part of the UK Craftsman Movement, although in fact they were more an influence upon William Morris and the still-forming Movement than part of it. Artists such as Burne Jones, DeMorgan, Waterhouse, Millais, Alma-Tadema, Rossetti, and Hunt were the central Pre-Raphaelites, and are all represented in the gallery that accompanies the article.

pictured: Waterhouse's Spring (The Flower Picker)

Bechtle Bungalows & Flickr, too


"Enough with the Flickr posts," I'm sure you're all saying to yourselves. Ah, but this is more than just another Flickr post. Because I found a great album of East Bay bungalow pictures ("Springtime in Berkeley") taken by Flickr user Jonathan, aka Curiousyellow. But does the neatness of this little synchronicity end there? No, it does not. Because Jonathan is also an aficionado of the work of the great photorealistic painter Robert Bechtle, who features such homes in much of his work, and he has written several good articles on Bechtle and his work.

Upcoming Events in the UK


The wonderful and very complete Mark Golding recently forwarded us issue #43 of the Arts and Crafts Home newsletter, and due to the increase in readers from the UK, I thought I should summarize some of the upcoming events in that part of the world.

  • The Embroidery of William Morris & His Circle: July 2 – November 6 at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, in London's George Park. Featuring work by May Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Lucy Faulkner Orrinsmith, Philip Webb, George Jack and John Henry Dearle. directions
  • Morris in the 21st Century is the 50th anniversary conference of the William Morris Society. Held on July 7 - 10 at Royal Holloway, University of London Egham, Surrey. Keynote speakers include Regenia Gagnier, David Mabb, and Jan Marsh. A wide variety of presentations will be given.
  • A talk by David Stark, managing director  Keppie Design, on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his time with Honeyman & Keppie: November 8 at 7:30 pm at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Instition, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath. The same location will also host another lecture, this one on Mackintosh's four years in the south of France (1923-27), by Pamela Robertson, Senior Curator and Professor of Mackintosh Studies at Glasgow's Hunterian Art Gallery. That event will be held on February 7, 2006.
  • The Decorative Arts Society notes a special visit to / tour of Hammersmith Terrance on June 18.
  • The Decorative Arts Society will also sponsor a trip to Letchworth Garden City on September 3, and a tour of selected Essex churches (and Waltham Abbey) on September 10. Contact the fine folks at The Arts & Crafts Home for more info on these and other events.
  • The Useful & Beautiful exhibition at Standen, June 29, a William de Morgan study day there on July 12, and an Arts & Crafts study day on October 12. For more information, email David Moore at the National Trust.
  • Barley Roscoe's lecture entitled Arts & Crafts and After on September 13th at Sworder's.
  • The Antique Trader at the Millinery Works Gallery will hold a special exhibition and sale from June 7 to 26. For details, email the fine folks at the Millinery Works.
  • A fine companion to Ms. Robertson's lecture, noted above, would be the forthcoming exhibition Mackintosh in France: Watercolours 1923 - 27, to be held at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh from November 26 2005 to February 5 2006.
  • The Mackintosh House Gallery are holding a number of interesting events, including a show on Mackintosh graphics from April 1 to July 30, another on Jessie King from August 5 to October 29, and finally an exhibition on Mackintosh's architectural projects, from November 4 to January 28 2006.
  • The V&A will hold a study day on International Arts & Crafts: Textiles and Fashion on July 16 from 10:30 am to 4 pm. Lou Taylor of the University of Brighton and the V&A's own Linda Parry will chair the event. Sessions will include a number of lectures and workshops on a variety of topics. Contact the V&A bookings office to attend.
  • The V&A will also hold a number of special shorter lectures to coincide with the International exhibition, such as:
    • June 7: Arts & Crafts metalwork
    • June 8: Mackintosh furniture
    • June 22: Arts & Crafts cabinetry, and also Russian Arts & Crafts
    • June 25: Scottish Arts & Crafts
  • The Pugin Society will be holding a number of events, including lectures on the Romantic Architecture of the Lakes region (July 7 - 10), Tyntesfield and Bristol (July 12), a visit to the Art Workers Guild in London (October 29) and visits to Farnham, Norfolk and more. For further inquiries, please ring 01227 766879, or email the Pugin Society.
  • From April 26 to July 11, Blackwell Arts & Crafts House will host an exhibition of Talwin Morris and the Glasgow School.
  • The Geffrye Museum holds an exhibition of regional chairs through this coming June 12.
  • Waking Dreams: The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites runs from June 25 through September 4 at the Nottingham Castle Museum.
  • Cheltenham Art Gallery Museum has added a stunning piece by M. H. Baillie Scott to its Arts and Crafts Movement gallery. It is a set of light fittings for a billiard table in the form of a walled Eastern city with six turrets surmounted by gilded domes. It was made to Baillie Scott's design by a fellow architect, J. C. Pocock, for the Gate House, Limpsfield, Surrey by Baillie Scott and Beresford in about 1920.
  • The Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society will hold a number of events including a field-trip to Bristol (June 10/11) and an antique tile fair in Nottinghamd. Contact Carolyn Wraight at TACS for more information.
  • Christies London have a lecture on Arts & Crafts scheduled for this upcoming June 28 at their classroom facility at 85 Old Brompton Road, London. This "evening with the experts" course will be offered from 6:30 to 8 pm that day only. Arrangements to attend can be made via Judith Pitcher.
  • Following the Christies course on June 28, above, will be an auction of "Affordable Arts & Crafts for the Home" at their South Kensington location on June 30 at 10:30 am. 250 lots of ceramics, textiles, glass, furniture, sculpture, lighting, metalwork and works on paper will be auctioned off with prices beginning at £300. For more information, contact Zoë Schoon.
  • Wessex Fine Art Courses are offering a study week this coming June 19 - 25 entitled Palaces & Pinnacles: The Art & Architecture of Norfolk, which will include visits to two Lutyens houses (Overstrand Hall and The Pleasaunce) as well as E. S. Prior's Voewood. For details, contact WFAC via email.
  • The Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon invites you to attend their Art of Furniture exhibit, which runs through this coming June 25. The exhibition includes a number of unique pieces of furniture built in Barnstaple by Shapland & Petter. For more information, contact the museum at 01271 346747. Admission is free.

Continue reading "Upcoming Events in the UK" »