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Stickley, Gustav, 1858-1942. / Craftsman homes
(1909)

Willow chairs and settles which harmonize with the more severe and massive furniture made of oak,   pp. 160-161


Page 160

                                      I
WILLOW CHAIRS AND SETTLES WHICH HARMO-
NIZE WITH THE MORE SEVERE AND MASSIVE FUR-
NITURE MADE OF OAK
THE          opinion  is  frequently expressed
        with  regard  to  Craftsman furniture
        that it is all very well for the library,
        den   or   dining room, but  that an
entire house furnished with it would be apt
to appear too severe and monotonous in its
general effect.   While naturally we feel that
Craftsman     furniture
is    equally   suitable
for    every  room   in
the    house, we     are
aware    that there  is
precisely   the   same
element   of  truth  in
this   criticism that it
holds   when    applied
to any kind of furni-
ture.   The   point  is
that too much of any
one   thing  is apt  to
be    monotonous,  and
the    way  we    avoid
that   fault in a Crafts-
man    house is to make
the   furniture  entire-
ly a secondary thing
and keep it as little
obtrusive   as    possi-
ble,   so   that   each
piece   siuks into   its
place   in the  picture
and    becomes  merely
a part ci the general impression, instead of standing out
as a   separate  article.
  In the   Craftsman houses we do away with a great
deal of the movable furniture by the use in its place of
built-in fittings, which are made a part of the structure
of the house.    As these include window seats, fireside
seats,  settles, bookcases,  desks, sideboards, china cup-
boards and many other things, it will easily be seen that
their presence not only adds to the structural interest and
beauty of the room itself, but makes it possible to dis-
pense with much of the furniture which would otherwise
he needed.     For the rest,  we use   Craftsman furniture
where it is necessary to have pieces of wood construction,
but we relieve any possible severity of effect by a liberal
use of willow settles and chairs which afford the best
possible foil to the austere lines, massive forms and sober
coloring of the oak.  We select willow for this use rather
than rattan, because, while all such furniture is necessarily
handmade, the rattan pieces are usually patterned after the
elahorate effects that we have learned to associate with
            machine-made goods, and so have none of the
            natural interest that is a part of something
            which grows under the hand and is shaped as
            simply as possible to meet the purpose for
            which it is intended.
                The charm of willow is that it is purely
            a   handicraft,  and  obviously so. A   rattan
            chair or settle may be twisted into any fan<
AN ARM CHAIR OF WOVEN WILLOW.
A HIGH-BAcK SETTLE OF WILLOW THAT HARMONIZES ADMIRABLY WITH THE GEN-
ERAL CHARACTER OF cRAFTSMAN FURNITURE.
160


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