Asilomar restored!



Celebrated as Monterey Peninsula's "Refuge by the Sea," Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds has been restored to its former glory. Preservation architecture firm, Page & Turnbull, played an important role in the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Social Hall and the Mary Ann Crocker Dining Hall. 

Phoebe Apperson Hearst Social Hall

In this building, Page & Turnbull removed alterations that were not agreeable to the original design and restored the configuration of spaces in the building to be as close as possible to Morgan’s original layout, while improving its functionality. Restoring the Registration Area and rebuilding the hall’s historic Tearoom returned a sense of harmony and order to the Social Hall. In replacing the non-original existing flooring in the Social Hall, the size and grain pattern were matched to the original oak strip floors. Highlighting the ceiling structure and illuminating the room’s beautiful redwood trusses are replicas of the original wall sconces and historical chandeliers produced with a lighting manufacturer. Stains and varnishes were tested on the new redwood boards in the walls and, where possible, many of the existing boards were reused and salvaged. 

Crocker Dining Hall

In this building, a visual connection was created between the historic dining hall and the servery, and the building’s commercial kitchen was completely renovated. 

Asilomar Background

The Pacific Grove retreat was originally designed by Julia Morgan, the first female architect to be licensed in the State of California. The grounds were founded by the YWCA as a young women’s leadership summer camp in 1913 and has been part of the California State Parks system since 1956. A National Historical Landmark, the 100-year-old site features the largest collection of buildings designed by architect Julia Morgan, who embraced the Arts and Crafts Movement. 

You can learn more and book a room at Asilomar online.

brown shingle, alpenhaus style

Architektur lp mt house
This 398-square-meter (approximate 4000 sq ft) German home combines some of the best aspects of the traditional German mountain farmhouse and the Western Stick brown shingle design - so popular in the United States - with modern materials and engineering. Germany's LP Architektur built it in six months and finished primary construction in 2008.

The Craftsman: Almost Every Issue, Now Online


I've recently been gifted a large archive of every issue (bar two - issues 8 and 9 from the 1916 volume are missing) of Gustav Stickley's The Craftsman, beginning with volume 1, number 1 in October of 1901. I'll be posting one every few days for the coming weeks, starting with the first issue today. 

Here you go: Volume 1, number 1 of The Craftsman: October 1901 (3 meg PDF)

Thanks very much to the archival-minded friend - another big fan of the public domain - who passed these on to me!

Voysey clocks & more

from our friend Christopher Vickers:

Following on from the CFA Voysey Clocks postings here last August [Voysey clocks; Chris Vickers & Voysey], readers may be interested in Christopher Vickers new page featuring many of the period Voysey clocks still known to exist.

Chris would be very interested to receive further information / images of Voysey clocks, or really anything at all designed by Voysey!

Gustav Stickley library table, from the Metropolitan Museum collection


Library table, ca. 1906
Gustav Stickley (American, 1858–1942); Craftsman Workshops
Syracuse, New York
Oak, leather; H. 30 in. (76.2 cm), Diam. 55 in. (139.7 cm)
Gift of Cyril Farny, in memory of his wife, Phyllis Holt Farny, 1976 (1976.389.1)

Inspired by William Morris, Gustav Stickley founded The United Crafts (later known as Craftsman Workshops) in 1898. Stickley was greatly influenced by Ruskin and Morris, his travels to Europe, and important contemporary journals such as The Studio and Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration. Initially managing the firm as a guild, Stickley participated in profit-sharing with his employees, but as the operation grew, regular factory standards were implemented. The Craftsman line was introduced to the public in 1900. This hexagonal library table is made of oak with a leather top ostensibly adhered by overt circular tacks, and utilizes visible joinery with tenon-and-key joints. Illustrated in the November 1902 issue of The Craftsman, the Arts and Crafts periodical published by Gustav Stickley between 1901 and 1916, the hexagonal library table became a popular item in Stickley's sales inventory.

Arts & Crafts wallpaper today

Morris_wallpaperminor updates to this article, originally from Hewn & Hammered in 2004:

People often think of the interior of Arts & Crafts period homes as austere, minimilist spaces devoid of pattern. They envision tasteful rich woods and plain walls with only a jewel tone paint shade as a foil. There may have been some interiors like that, but the height of the Arts and Crafts movement coincided with the height of Victorian decorating. Rather than homes and design books of the period only embracing one or the other style, what often occurred was a blending of the two styles. One of the finest examples of graphic art to come out of this period were the many rich and detailed wallpaper designs.

When you think of Arts & Crafts designs it is the iconic images that often come to mind. From the famous Morris chrysanthemums, pomegranates, daisies and marigolds to Frank Lloyd Wright's hollyhocks and branch borders, these patterns from nature figure prominently in all manner of Arts & Crafts design. Morris was said to have considered wallpaper a 'medium of communication' and created over 144 distinctive textile designs that were reproduced in several different mediums such as textiles, wall coverings and carpets. Historically, the actual creation Arts and Crafts period wallpaper was a painstakingly difficult and involved process. Long sheets of paper were rolled out on great tables and dozens of artisans using a primitive silkscreening process layered on paint in highly detailed repetitive patterns. This made the wallpaper prohibitively expensive for the average decorator. But when you have a great room sometimes painting techniques and stencilwork just won't cut it; they just can't give that 'wow' factor - that's when it's time to look to wallpapers.

From a ceiling frieze to a feature wall to a room done completely in a bold pattern to mimic your favourite period estate, wallpapers is what you are looking for. But, where do you find them? Aren't they prohibitively expensive?

Not necessarily. The advent of laser printing techniques and computer-aided design have changed all of that, and as a result prices have come down so mere mortal restorers and decorators can work with the medium and get the same stunning effect. Currently, several companies are recreating these intricate designs.

A local favourite and one of the few A&C suppliers on the East Coast, J.R.. Burrows & Company and Burrows Studio of Rockland MA consider themselves historical design merchants. The Burrows Studio, a division of J.R. Burrows & Co., produces and recreates designs that are representative of the Aesthetic and the early Anglo-American Arts & Crafts movements. The wallpaper designs are mainly English in origin, as the English A&C movement was - and continues to be - highly influential in New England. There are graphic samples of the papers as well as a provenance and a detailed description of each style on their extensive website.

Heading out to the west coast one of the finer manufacturers is Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers. As recently as 2000, Bradbury and Bradbury began using computers to print their beautiful Arts & Crafts friezes, and they are gorgeous, lush, rich (okay, okay, I know - enough adjectives, but I can't help it!) full of color and bold, beautiful designs.  The site is unique in that designs are grouped by color theme. Choose an olive room and the site will show how to coordinate various Bradbury designs into a single cohesive look. You can view it all on the site or order a catalog to peruse with a good cup of tea in your Morris chair.

Last stop is way up north in Canada at Charles Rupert Designs Ltd., dedicated to supplying "splendid items for the traditional home and garden." Not only do they have all the paper patterns you have been dreaming of, but they have the fabrics to match. One of their great features is a complete wallpaper and fabric sample cutting service which will allow you to see what you envision before you commit. Everything they sell is top quality and they strive to use traditional natural materials wherever possible, shunning plastic, vinyl and other synthetics.

Thanks to Jo Horner of the always entertaining and often very touching Counting Sheep for this wonderful article!

Arts & Crafts Revival according to the Seattle Times

It's always interesting when a newspaper suddenly and inexplicably picks up that we're in the middle of a revival of the A&C Movement, especially when this has been going on since the late 1980s. Usually, though, it's a case of warming up a particular audience for an upcoming home show or museum exhibition. Not so with this article by the Associated Press' Ula Ilnytzy: it's a general primer on the Movement, its various offshoots and collector subcultures. It would have been nice to see a bit more specialization - there's nothing here you don't already know - but it's certainly not a bad thing to be seeing articles like this in regional newspapers. And the photographs are certainly nice.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

Those words of William Morris — British poet, socialist and wallpaper and fabric designer — are as inspiring now as they were when he helped the Arts and Crafts Movement span the globe at the turn of the 20th century.

With its focus on clean lines, hand crafting and natural materials, the style was a response to the excesses of the Victorian era and the advent of industrialization and its emphasis on quantity over quality. The same ideas feel fresh in the current era of mass production, fueling a renewed surge of interest.

In fact, the revival inspired by a 1972 Princeton University exhibition has already surpassed the original life span of the style's popularity in the early 1900s.

Tokyo's Nihon Mingeikan & Mingei's relationship to Arts & Crafts

Japan's Daily Yomiuri includes an English-language edition, and a recent issue includes a short article by Robert Reed on Tokyo's Nihon Mingeikan, a small museum celebrating Mingei crafts and the life and work of Soetsu Yanagi, the founder of the Mingei movement. Mingei is sometimes associated with the Arts & Crafts movement by art historians who note both its chronological proximity to European A&C and its similar philosophical underpinnings (the recent International Arts & Crafts show, which originated at the Victoria & Albert and was at San Francisco's De Young Museum in the middle of 2006, included a model room based on Mingei crafts and made a strong case for that movement's inclusion as part of the 'International Arts & Crafts' milieu).

From the museum's website:

Located in Tokyo, the Mingeikan Museum is housed in a beautiful traditional Japanese building completed in 1936. Founded in the same year, the Mingeikan has over 17,000 items in its collection made by anonymous crafts people mainly from Japan, but also from China, Korea, England, Africa, and elsewhere.

Yanagi Soetsu (1889-1961), the first director and founder of the Museum, coined the term Mingei (folk art) in 1926 to refer to common crafts that had been brushed aside by the industrial revolution. Yanagi and his lifelong companions, the potters Bernard Leach, Hamada Shoji, and Kawai Kanjiro, sought to counteract the desire for cheap mass-produced products by pointing to the works of ordinary crafts people that spoke to the spiritual and practical needs of life. The Mingei Movement is responsible for keeping alive many traditions.

Arts and Crafts Revival Society of Boston

reader Carl Close Jr., an artist blacksmith at Hammersmith Studio, forwards the following notice and hopes that other craftspeople in his area will be interested in forming a latter-day craftsperson's guild:

Are you an artist or craftsperson that works in the Arts and Crafts style? I am a metalworker in the Boston area and want to start a group that fosters the ideals and philosophies of the founders of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. I thought it might be fun to also have an exhibit called Then and Now, a show that could showcase past masters and what similar artists are doing today to revive the Arts and Crafts Movement. So if you are a wood carver, metalworker, potter, book artist, silversmith, furniture designer, pleinair painter or any other historically-styled craftsperson, and live in the Boston or New England area, please let me know if this would be of any interest. You can contact me off my website,, or write me email.

Thank you - Carl Close, Jr, artist blacksmith

Forest Hills Gardens: an American Planned Community

Fhgyellowmap Situated on the edge of New York City's borough of Queens, Forest Hills Gardens is probably the most successful - and best known - example of an English planned garden community in the United States. Originally built as a commuter suburb - even in 1915, just six years after its construction, it was less than 15 minutes from Manhattan's Penn Station by rail - the community was originally planned and built by the Russell Sage Foundation and Cord-Meyer Development Co. beginning in 1909. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., son of the father of landscape architecture and a great craftsman and technician in his own right, collaborated with architect Grosvenor Atterbury to make a community that worked both internally and as part of the world-class city they both realized New York would soon grow into.

This thriving community still offers a lush, green and very much park-like escape for several thousand residents, and suggests solutions for our conflict between limiting sprawl and creating living, working, and above all livable communities. Forest Hills Gardens was home to many visionaries of the time, including Frederic Goudy, one of the foremost typeface and graphic designers of the age and an important figure in the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Goudy even published a monograph in 1915 detailing his own family's many reasons for relocating to the community; unfortunately, the book has not been reprinted, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a copy today. Gustav Stickley's own magazine, The Craftsman, also featured articles and drawings on the community in 1911.

Susan Klaus has written a terrific book on Olmsted's relationship to the community, focusing on the planning of the community and with many illustrations of its history to the present. It's worth a read if you are interested in planned communities in general and how the Arts & Crafts Ideal can be applied to so much more than simply architectural design. Additional photographs of and articles on the community are available online.

A Visit with Randell L. Makinson

the following interview with Randell L. Makinson, by Linda Arntzenius, was originally published in Autumn 1998 issue of USC's Trojan Family Magazine.

If there is a Greene & Greene cult abroad in Southern California, USC architecture alumnus Randell L. Makinson can take most of the credit.

Imagine yourself a keen student of architecture. Eager to assist a visiting professor by bringing him slides for his architectural history class, you approach a large, wooden house on a quiet residential street in an upscale Pasadena neighborhood. No sound save birdsong breaks the late morning silence. Lawns are perfectly cropped, hedges trimmed. No one is about as you set up camera and tripod for a carefully composed shot of the magnificent building. Framed in your viewfinder, the portal is a symphony of oiled teakwood and leaded glass.

Then, just as you are about to click the shutter, the door opens. A gentleman, tall and imposing in a dark suit, steps out. You watch as, unsmiling, he makes he way across the wide, private lawn and asks you to explain yourself.

This is precisely what happened to Randell L. Makinson in 1954 in front of 4 Westmoreland Place. But instead of being sent about his business, Makinson founds himself treated to a tour of the house and garden. Three and a half hourse later, he was seated on the living room floor with Cecil and Louise Gamble, pouring over their home's original blueprints.

much more after the jump, below

Continue reading "A Visit with Randell L. Makinson" »


A group of Parsons graduate students are responsible for Design-a-Room, an interactive tool that lets you play around with motifs and furniture items from the Cooper-Hewitt's own collection of historic design objects. The Craftsman era collection is not so big, but there are some neat standouts - a Charles Rennie Mackintosh cardtable, a Bradley & Hubbard slag-glass shade lamp, a Voysey (identified as Vaysey on the site) sideboard designed for Morris' Kelmscott Chaucer. Unfortunately, the site is riddled with spelling errors and incorrect dates, but it's a fun little toy anyway.

Roycrofters not Luddites

The Roycrofters - or at least the Roycroft Campus Corporation - have got themselves a weblog. So far, lots of Elbert Hubbard epigrams and bits and pieces of news relating to the always-interesting events going on in that magical place. And unlike this place lately, it's more original content than links to other places (speaking of which, please do email me if you've got pictures or articles you'd like to share with our readers!).

Greene & Greene at Auction, redux

Given the recent attention given the sale of a reproduction lantern which hung for a time at the Gamble House, this 2005 article from the Los Angeles Times, detailing the sale of Randell Makinson's personal collection of Greene & Greene ephermera, may be particular interesting to those who are not familiar with the story.

It was the auction the Craftsman community couldn't stop talking about.

In December, Sotheby's auction house put up a rare collection of furnishings and accessories from historic homes designed by the brothers Charles and Henry Greene, the architects who created the venerable Gamble House in Pasadena, as well as other celebrated examples of the early 20th century Craftsman style in Southern California.

The collection was offered by an anonymous donor whose identity did not seem of particular importance until it became clear it was Randell Makinson, the former curator and director of the Gamble House. The auction, which appraisers say was the largest of its kind, netted almost $3 million.

Arts and Crafts in Boston

Maureenmeister Architecture Radio is a wonderful online lecture series and covers an enormous range of topics - and I am ashamed to write that I did not know about this terrific resource until today. A relatively recent lecture (mp3; recorded at the Boston Public Library on 05.05, published 09.05) by Maureen Meister, author of Architecture and the Arts & Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard's H. Langford Warren (the first full-length study of this very important turn-of-the-century architect, educator and movement leader) and editor of H. H. Richardson: The Architect, His Peers and Their Era is devoted to the Arts & Crafts Movement in Boston.

Old House Interiors writes of her book on H. Langford Warren that “(she) makes the point that some architects are influential because they have a lot of clients, while others exert their influence less directly - but more widely - through students… Warren's own blend of Gothic, Georgian, and Colonial forms was perceived as the proper New England style long after his death in 1917. In serving the Society of Arts and Crafts for longer than anyone else, Warren further imprinted area taste.”

Paraphrased the jacket of her most recent book: 'Maureen Meister has taught art history courses at the Art Institute of Boston, Lesley University, Northeastern University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston since 1982. In recent years she has lectured on American architecture at Tufts University.' And she has a very nice voice, too.

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.

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)

The Simple Home

CakeelerBernard Maybeck patron / client Charles Keeler (a poet, playwright, inventor of religions and generally odd duck) wrote The Simple Home in 1906. It has been out of print for many years and was reprinted in 1979 by Peregrine Smith; however, you can read the original text online without the (copyrighted) Peregrine Smith introduction.

ALL the arts are modes of expressing the One Ideal;
but the ideal must be rooted in the soil of the real,
the practical, the utilitarian. Thus it happens
that architecture, the most utilitarian of the arts,
underlies all other expressions of the ideal ; and of all
architecture, the designing of the home brings the artist
into closest touch with the life of man.

Sotheby's: Greene & Greene

GreenelightRich Muller notes that "many of the pieces that have been in the Huntington's Scott gallery are now up for auction (through Sotheby's). There are a lot of high-resolution images that I've never seen anywhere else. Get your checkbooks out, or at least download some of these images!  There is also information on each lot." Catalogs are US$43; the least expensive item up for auction is significantly more expensive.

Of special note, at least to those interested in the graphic arts: some of the most expensive cuts (of such a small size, at least) ever.

Tom Stangeland & Steve Helberg:
Arts & Crafts Master Artisans in Pacific NW

ChinahutchWhen we moved into our home in 1998, we decided to furnish our main floor with Arts & Crafts furniture. We saw Tom Stangeland's Greene & Greene dining room table (modeled on one in the Blacker House in Pasadena) at NW Fine Woodworking here in Seattle and this was (to quote Casablanca) the "beginning of a beautiful [creative] friendship."

Continue reading "Tom Stangeland & Steve Helberg:
Arts & Crafts Master Artisans in Pacific NW" » 21st-Century Arts & Crafts

cherylwilliamsBuilding on the Arts & Craft movement of an earlier time, is a treasure trove of current artists working in metalwork, ceramics, printmaking, painting, fiber, glass, wood, lighting, furniture and tableware.

The Arts & Crafts masters of yesteryear would have enthusiastically approved of The Guild's Philosophy: In a nutshell, we believe that when you live with art that you love, and it's made by a gifted artist with skill and care, it adds something rich and sweet to your life, every day.

Continue reading " 21st-Century Arts & Crafts" »

21st-Century Arts & Crafts

21acWhen the philosopher-designers of the Arts & Crafts movement pushed design, usability and simplicity to the forefront, they tossed out the traditional standards of Victorian taste: outrageous cost and over-decoration. They felt that the best design [was] one which should become commonplace ... whether it was a piece of furniture or a spoon. And that great design should be within the reach of the common man.

Hewn and Hammered will be searching out the Arts & Crafts designers of this decade ... craftspeople who reach back to nature for their inspiration and who are on their way to becoming the Stickleys, Gruebys and Roycrofters of their generation.

So, stay tuned in to Hewn & Hammered for our showcase of Arts & Crafts of the 21st Century. We'll begin our tour with this unique 21st Century Arts & Crafts retreat in Scotland...

please visit House In Progress!