Written by Paige McAtee, email@example.com Saturday, 31 May 2014 00:00
The simple yet iconic style of the Arts and Crafts Era was highlighted at a recent art lecture held at the Hicksville Public Library.
Art historian Louise Cella Caruso presented the lecture titled the Arts and Crafts Movement in America. Caruso holds many art lectures throughout Nassau County, all of which are self-made and researched.This lecture highlighted architecture and furniture created during the arts and crafts movement, which occurred in the early 20th century.
“Many people don’t realize that arts and crafts was a major movement and it still impacts the world today,” said Caruso.
This movement focused not only on the products, but also the maker and process of creating.
Prior to the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Victorian Era had lost the simplicity and passion of life in the clutter of over-decorating explained Caruso. In comparison, this movement simplified and gave dignity and usefulness to simple designs, with quality workmanship.
The lecture highlighted some of the most well-known architects of the movement including Frank Lloyd Wright. One of his most famous homes created in that time period included the home Fallingwater, located in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.
The house was built on top of a waterfall for the Kaufman family who employed Wright to build the prairie style house. Caruso explained how the house blended into the organic surroundings and was astride with the waterfall, making for a beautiful sight.
Inside the house, there is a suspended staircase that is enclosed by glass in the winter, but in the summertime the glass moves back to allow the sun to shine in.
“It was very innovative and very bold at the time,” explained Caruso.
A regular at Caruso’s lectures, Oyster Bay resident Frances Addazio, enjoyed hearing about the architecture of the Arts and Crafts Movement. She was most fascinated with prairie style houses and how elaborate they were. “They reminded me of German homes or something you would see in Switzerland,” said Addazio.
While covering the furniture aspect of the movement, Caruso spoke of Gustav Stickley, who was the most successful in his craft. He developed a furniture empire with a style free of ornamentation and excessive design. His style focused on simplicity, individuality and dignity. This work was practical, unadventurous, and with good taste.
One of the most recognizable pieces of work of the Arts and Crafts Movement was the Morris chair. Stickley borrowed this prominent form of design from England and brought it to America. The Morris chair is reclinable, comfortable and adjustable. To this day, Morris chairs are collected and sold for thousands of dollars.
Addazio recognized some of the furniture designs shown in the lecture. “The work almost reminds me of things I see in other people’s homes now,” she commented. “I don’t think they really have any idea where the origin came from.”
The style from the Arts and Crafts Movement is still around to this day, and the designs are a daily reminder of the quest for design that was as enjoyable to create, as it was to use and live off of.