INTRODUCTION TO
AMERICAN ARTS AND CRAFTS

In America as well as in Britain, the virtues of handcrafted objects--straightforward design, natural materials and enduring construction techniques--were embraced. The values of hearth and home--idyllic domesticity--and the virtues of honesty and simplicity became the predominant themes, nature being the constant source of inspiration. While Arts and Crafts ornament led to and overlapped with Art Nouveau decoration, particularly in metalwork and ceramics, furniture designs led almost directly to De Stijl and Bauhaus geometry of the 1920s. The work of Gustav Stickley in particular, and the appearance of his Craftsman magazine from 1901 to 1916, paralleled the mature phase of the American movement which extended to the severe furniture of the so-called Mission Style and the finest work of the Prairie School.