|ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / book reviews, articles|
Arts and Crafts, edited by Karen Livingstone and
Linda Parry, V&A Publications, London 2005, 368 p.,
320 colour plates, 40 black and white illustrations, text
Book published to coincide with the exhibition International Arts and Crafts, Victoria and Albert Museum, 17 March - 24 July 2005
|The exhibition accompanying
this book will travel from London to
- the Indianapolis Museum of Art:
27 September 2005 - 22 January 2006 and
- the Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco,
18 March - 18 June 2006
both of which will be opening magnificent new buldings in time to host he V&A exhibition.
Frida Hansen, Danaids' Jar, tapestry. Wool.
Norway, 1914,. Designed and woven by Frida Hansen. Private Collection
|The first part one of the
book deals with the development of Arts and Crafts in
Britain, whereas part two is dedicated to America, part
three to Europa and part four to Japan,
The introduction chapter of the book is written by Linda Parry and Karen Livingstone. These authors give in this first chapter a survey of Arts and Crafts as a movement.
Today, Arts and Crafts describe the process of handmaking or decorating objects on a semi- or completely amateur basis. But in the late 19th and early 20th c. this was different. The movement was more professionally and commercially based and took its name from the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in London in 1887. The movement also included a number of developments in different parts of the world.
The authors also point to the differences to the other major development in Europe - to Art Nouveau. These two movements even can be described as antithesis of each other, which can be noted in the geographical spread, in the physical and aestethic nature of the work produced, as in the ideas behind each movement.
|Artists of the original
London Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society were demanding
an improvement in the design and manufacture of the
decorative arts in Victiorian Britain. This was first
initiated by Henry Cole in the 1850s. The authors then
explain the influence of John Ruskin (1819-1900) and the
way, William Morris (1834-96) took over. Morris was by
1887 an internationally renowned and commercially
successful designer and manufacturer.
not rely exclusively on hand craftmanship, many followers
were equally receptive to a careful and controlled use of
the machine, as Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) and the Deutsche
Werkbund in Germany were later to advocate.
British work were exhibited at various international
exhibitions, and a number of widely circulated European
magazines covered a great deal of this work. The
most widely read was the Studio, published in
London, the French Art et Décoration, the
German Moderner Stil, and Dekorative Kunst,
the Austrian Kunst und Kunsthandwerk.
|The authors in their
introduction also consider the development in America
and give a number of reasons, why Arts and Crafts ideas
were more roundly embraced there than in Britain.
new Arts and Crafts Movement in Central Europe,
Scandinavia and Russia was characterized by a
revival and development of indigenous techniques and
traditional pattern and forms. The influence of Germany
is important, as German translations of texts by Morris
and Crane were widely read in countries such as Sweden
and Norway, which both had strong connections with
Germany. In Holland as well the theoretical principles of
the movement were derived among others from German
|Germany's espousal of Arts
and Crafts was one of the most long-lasting developments
of all. It also proved to be an intermediary for British
Arts and Crafts ideas across Europe and into Japan.
development in Japan - the Mingei (Folk
Crafts) movement from 1926 to 1945, concludes this
|Chapter 16, about
Arts and Crafts Textiles
by Linda Parry, page 218 - 223
The author describes
textiles as vital part of the Arts and Crafts home.
Contrary to the views of many then and now, textiles of
this movement were not all handmade nor was the machine
excluded from manufacture. A number of printing and
weaving companies were opening during the early
Professional women designers were working in the early years of the 20th century, like: Phoebe Traquair (1852-1936), Margaret Macdonald (1865-1933), Jessie Newbery (1864-1948).
Traditional techniques helped to emphasize national identity at a time of political upheaval. Tapestry weaving became particularly popular. It has been one of the most popular traditional art forms of Norway and Sweden. Artists were: Frida Hansen (1855-1931), Gerhard Munthe (1849-1929). It was widely taught in leading art schools throughout Europe: The Kunstgewerbeschule in Scherrebek with its leading designer Otto Eckmann (1852-1902).
Eastern techniques used to apply surface
pattern to cloth, such as discharge and resist also
became popular with European Arts and Crafts designers.
The Dutch artist Chris Lebeau (1878-1945) was famous by
|Chapter 16, about
by Lou Taylor, page 224 - 227
Arts and Crafts dress was characterized by individually made, simple garments, which drew on a number of influences, yet all featured soft fabrics and hand-crafted techniques, even when made in commercial studios such as Liberty's, the Isabella workshops in Hungary or the Wiener Werkstätte.
'Simple Life' styles from the mid-1880s were based on an imaginary English rural simplicity, using plain grounds decorated with modest embroidery. Inspriration was taken from wild or garden flowers.
From 1880 to 1914 'reform' and national identity dress became increasingly important and fundamentally
significant across many areas of Europe. This dress was continued to be worn even after the First World War.
In other adaptions peasant decoration was modernized to create new forms of national dress. Peasant decoration also was produced by professional designers and applied to Arts and Crafts or fashionable dress.
Paris couture salons such as Worth and Doucet were influenced by these developments as well and hand embroidery was applied by specialist workshops such as Maison Lesage.
The world we live in today owes a great deal to the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the subject of this ground-breaking and beautifully illustrated book. It was a radical movement; indeed there was a missionary zeal to the pioneers of Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, who included William Morris, C.R. Ashbee and Walter Crane. Influenced by the ideas of John Ruskin, and concerned at the effects of industrial manufacture on standards of design and its debilitating social consequences, they advocated a return to a simpler way of life, a revival of traditional handicrafts and techniques, and an appreciation of the 'beauty in everyday things'.
These idealistic principles were taken up first in America and Europe, though adapted to each country's own cultural climate. In America, stilll a relatively young nation, Arts and Crafts became the first home-grown artistic movement and swept figures of the calibre of Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley into its orbit, while in Europe it was to have a lasting effect on design and the Modern
|Movement. Its last great
sphere of influence was Japan, from 1926 to 1945, where
it flourished as the Mingei (Folk Crafts) movement. This
fusion of Japanese rural folk traditions with a radical,
urban modern aesthetic counted among its leaders the
potters Hamada Shoji and the Englishman Bernard Leach,
who, in turn, brougth the Arts and Crafts Movement full
circle through their influence abroad. The contemporary
craft movement in the West owes a profound debt to these
artist-craftsmen from the East, and to the sources of
Those sources are the subject of this magisterial study, which traces the complexity of the Arts and Crafts Movement through the decades and across the globe. Written by experts in each field, it interweaves the general with the particular: the overarching ideology and its various strands with the ways in which it manifested itself in different regions and cultural traditions. Lavishly illustrated, extensively researched and published to coincide with a major exhibition at the V&A in London, this book presents a compelling reassessment of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and an invaluable visual record of an ever-popular era of design.
|home content||Last revised April 10 , 2005||
For further information contact Anne Wanner email@example.com