The theme of dehumanization by machines extends back to at least the early 1800's with the Luddites destroying their machines in protest. The matter of cultural dehumanization and esthetic alienation are examined throughout the philosophies of Western Civilization.
The current appreciation of Arts & Crafts handwork reflects a deeper reexamination of the lifestyle, successes, and excesses of the postwar (1945-1995) period. Traditional social principals have been woven into the warp and weft of a new economic order following W.W.II. Dominated by production and consumption, the stabilizing forces of many values have been discarded pell-mell. Thrift and considered purchasing have been abandoned in favor of instant gratification and wide-eyed acceptance of the most grossly inflated marketing claims. Like the furniture, our lives have become a shoddily constructed core, overlain with a veneer of attractive display. And, like the poorly constructed furniture, shoddily constructed lives will inevitably and prematurely fail.
The paragraph above was written in 1998, when we were first constructing this web site. It accurately reflects the degeneration that proceeded throughout the latter part of the 1990's and into the New Century. The economy is in a shambles. The furniture that filled the houses that were hastily and shoddily constructed is waiting in broken heaps for a trash collection that some communities can no longer afford !!!
You have searched out this site because you sense that there is something more appropriate for your sensibilities than the shuck-and-jive of the current commercial furniture offerings.
The plastic-over-sawdust, particle board dream is delaminating right before our eyes. There is a strong and pervasive fear that the squalor that we have created out of a set of formerly noble trades and crafts is about to consume everything. As was so aptly noted in the comic strip "Pogo" ........" I have seen the enemy, and he is us".
YOUR HOME CAN BECOME AN ISLAND OF SENSIBILITY AND SOLACE IN THE NEXT ERA OF SHATTERED AND DECLINING EXPECTATIONS. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THINGS THAT ARE USEFUL AND DURABLE. THIS IS THE COMFORT THAT THE ARTS & CRAFTS MOVEMENT OFFERED IN 1890. IT IS STILL ALIVE AND VITAL TODAY ...............Michael Schmitt , January 10, 2009
Actually there have been a series of "movements" in the times since 1800. These have been characterized by years of excess followed by a period of reflection and introspection. So, the questions posed in the late 1800 early 1900 period were not new themselves.
What was new was the burst of artistic expression that folded itself around these issues. This reflection and artistic expression metamorphosed into what is now known as the Arts & Crafts Movement.
The themes of cultural, domestic, artistic, esthetic, social, and moral interaction was closely examined by the Arts & Crafts spokesmen (and women!) of the era.
The Arts & Crafts movement, on one level, forces us to examine our priorities . While currently there may be a new appreciation of the artistic and mechanical talents of the founders and us, their followers, it remains to be seen if the necessary reflection and introspection receive the attention that they deserve.
Without the associated ruminations on lifestyle and priorities,
this renaissance is no more than the hula-hoop of interior design
for the 21st Century.