The Arts and Crafts tradition were an international phenomenon during the historical and cultural span of the nineteenth century, which evolved most fully and earliest in the British Isles and then across the British Empire and into America and Europe. It lasted, however, only until the early twentieth century when the arts and crafts movement faded away into the background as industrialization took the forefront on the social and political agendas of many nations. . With this in mind, we can take a look at some of the more famous arts and crafts traditions of the past and how they are influencing people today:
The Arts and Crafts Movement. This was a major arts and crafts movement that peaked during the latter part of the Victorian era. There, the craftsman was looked upon as a vital link between the artist and the consumer, a living and working link that connected the two and established the concept of craftsmanship. Craftsmen began to experiment with new materials, new techniques, and new ways of expression. This eventually culminated in a backlash against the more mechanized and mass-produced approach to arts and crafts and a resurgence of interest in natural and organic products and crafts.
Arts and Crafts Shops. This movement was also a major arts and crafts development in the late Victorian and early Victorian age, though it fared much better in its later years. Shops were set up by individuals who invested their own time and money in arts and crafts and offered a range of goods from ceramics and wallpaper to woodcrafts, metalwork, pottery and glass. Some shops would specialize in particular areas of arts and crafts, such as toy making or pottery.
Arts and Crafts As Architectural Accessories. The decorative arts and crafts movement encompassed many architectural aspects of the building environment. Cranes, statues, hatters and other ornamental details became more ornate, intricate and whimsical in their designs. These elements became the basis of the decorative arts crafts movement known as the Arts and Crafts style. This movement actually reached its pinnacle in the later Victorian age when artistic architectural details were so commonplace that they actually took on a “clay-like” appearance. Although this trend fad was eventually overtaken by more technologically advanced designs, such as glazed ceramic tiles and intricately cut glass, the Arts and Crafts Movement did not completely fade away.
Arts and Crafts Furniture. Just as the artistic craftsmanship progressed from the interior spaces of a house, so did furniture. The Arts and Crafts Movement did not fully distinguish between domestic furniture that was intended for commercial use, however. Though lacking in artistic merit, the movement did succeed in popularizing handcrafted furniture for the average consumer. Commercial uses of the Arts and Crafts Furniture still allowed the arts and crafts movement to advance as the industrial revolution approached. As the industrial revolution gave way to the rise of the railroad, the movement began to move away from its natural home on the building site to commercial arenas.
As the industrial revolution arrived in the United States, the arts and crafts movement took on even greater importance. The industrial revolution changed the face of manufacturing as it gave rise to the assembly line. With the assembly line came standardized production processes, which meant that a set number of products could be produced at the same time. This, along with new techniques and materials, led to increased profitability and necessitated the further expansion of the arts and crafts movement in the United States, as evidenced by the prevalence of quilted furniture in America, as well as the prevalence of mosaic art in various cities around the country.