The Craftsman style is an architectural, interior design, landscape design, applied arts, and decorative arts style and lifestyle philosophy that began in the last years of the 19th century. As a comprehensive design and art movement it remained popular into the 1930s. However, in decorative arts and architectural design it has continued with numerous revivals and restoration projects through present times.
The American Craftsman style has its origins from the British Arts and Crafts movement which began as a philosophy and artistic style founded by William Morris earlier in the 1860s. The British movement was a reaction to the industrial revolution, with its disregard for the individual worker and degradation of the dignity of human labor. Seeking to ennoble the craftsman once again, the movement emphasized the hand-made over the mass-produced.
The British movement was a response to the Victorian, but the Arts and Crafts style’s arrival in the United States was precisely at the moment when theVictorian era was coming to a close. The American Arts and Crafts Movement also encouraged originality, simplicity of form, local natural materials, and the visibility of handicraft. It was distinguished by being concerned with ennobling the modest homes of the rapidly expanding American middle class, which became the Craftsman Bungalow style.
Dard Hunter was an American Arts and Crafts designer whose designs for books, leather, glass and metal helped unify the Roycroft product line and distinguish it from that of other American Arts & Crafts enterprises. His highly recognizable Rose motif was the inspiration for Luna’s Arts and Crafts guitar.
The “Prairie School” of Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects in Chicago, the bungalow and ultimate bungalow style of houses popularized by Greene and Greene are some examples of the American Arts and Crafts and American Craftsman style of architecture.
The Arts and Crafts style initiated a variety of attempts to reinterpret European Arts and Crafts ideals for Americans. These included the Craftsman-style furniture, and other decorative arts such as designs promoted by Gustav Stickley in his magazine, The Craftsman. Furniture and decorative arts were meant to be not only beautiful but functional, in harmony with nature, timeless and built with integrity.