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

An outline of furniture-making in this country: showing the place of craftsman furniture in the evolution of an American style,   pp. 151-159


Page 158

       FURNITURE MAKING IN THIS COUNTRY
successful imitations of the rooms in French
or English palaces two or three hundred years
ago.  But in all this there is no real thought
and nothing that approaches it.    It is only
when a thing has the honest primitive quality
that reveals just what it is, how it is made
and what it is made for, that it comes home
to us as  something which possesses an    in-
dividuality of its own.  It is not an elaborate
finished thing made by machinery with intri-
cate processes which we cannot understand and
about which we (10 not care in the least   it
      is something that we might make with
      our own hands.    Therefore it is some-
      thing that sets us to thinking and estab-
      lishes a  point of contact from   which
      springs the essentially human qualities
      of interest and affection. Understand-
      ing just how it is made, we are in a
      position to appreciate exactly what the
      artisan has done and how well he has
      (lone  it.   From    this understanding
      comes  the   personal  interest in good
      work that alone gives the vital quality
      which we know as art.
        Many people misunderstand the mean-
      ing of the word primitiveness, mistaking
      it for crudeness, but the word is used
      here to express the directness of a thing
      that is radical instead of tlerived. In
      our  understanding   of  the  term, the
      primitive  form of construction is that
      which would naturally suggest itself to
      a  workman    as embodying    the  main
      essentials of a  piece of  furniture, of
which   the  first is the straightforward pro-
vision for practical need.  Also we hold that
the structural idea should be made prominent
because lines which clearly define their pur-
pose appeal to the mind with the same force
as  does  a  clear concise  statement of  fact.
This principle is the basis  from which the
Craftsman style of furniture has been devel-
ope(l.  In the beginning there was no thought
of creating a new style, only a recognition
of the fact that we should have in our homes
something    better suited to our   needs and
CRAFTSMAN SIDEBOARI) WiIFIlE WROUGHT IRON PULLS AND
HiNGFS ARE USED IN A DECORATIVE WAY.
CRAFTSMAN DINING TABLE AND TWO OF THE MOER MASSIVE DINING CHAIRS, ONE   
 UPIIOLSTERED IN HARD LEATHER
STUDDED WITh  DULL BRASS NAILS AND THE OTHER MADE OF PLAIN OAK WiLH A HARD
LEATHER SEAT.
158


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