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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 161

            WILLOW CHAIRS AND SETTLES
tastic form, but willow furniture is essentially of basket
construction.   Our idea in making the kind of willow
furniture illustrated here was to gain something based
upon the same principles of construction that charac-
terize our oak furniture; that is, to secure a form that
should   suggest the simplest   basket work  and the
flexibility of lithe willow branches and yet be as dur-
able as any of the heavy oak furniture which is em-
phatically of wood construction.
  Consequently   these pieces are  basketry pure and
simple and have an elastic spring under the pressure
of the body that suggests the flexibility of baskets such
as are woven by the fireside or on the back porch at
the edge of the garden.  The making of willow furni-
ture as a handicraft is rather a hobby with us, for
willow is a material beloved of the craftsman and the
work is very interesting and comparatively easy to do.
The trouble is that so many people are inclined to
overdo it and to make out of woven willow the kind
of furniture that demands wood construction.     Seat
furniture alone is permissible in willow and yet we
frequently see tables, racks and .stands of various kinds,
and even the front of a bureau or a dresser, made of
this material.   Such misuse   is a pity, the
more    that  it tends to create a prejudice
again against willow furniture as a whole.
  The pieces shown here hold in their beauty
of form and color evidences of the personal
interest  of  the worker.   The  willow   has
been  so   finished that the surface has  the
sparkle   seen  in the thin branches of   the
growing    tree as it becomes   lustrous with
the first stirring of the sap.  This natural
sparkle   on  the surface of  willow has  all
          the intangible silvery shimmer  of
          water in moonlight.   This is lost
absolutely  when  the   furniture  made   of
it is  covered with  the usual  opaque   en-
amel, which not only hides the luster of the
surface but gives the effect of a stiff uncom-
promising construction in which the pliable-
ness of the basket weave is entirely oblit-
erated and all the possible interesting varia<
tions of tone are lost under the smooth surface.
   We   finish our willow  furniture in two
colors; one gives the general impression of
                           green,  but it is
                           really a variation
                           of soft wood
                           tones, brown and
                           o~reen  light and
                           dark, as the tex-
                           ture    of   the
                           withes  has  been
                           smooth or rough.
                           In this way the
                           silvery luster of
                           the willow is left
                           undisturbed  and
                           the color beneath
                           is  like that  of
                           fresh young bark.
                           The  other color
                           is  golden brown
                           in which there is
                           also a suggestion
                           of   spring-like
                           gray and green.
WILLOW CHAIR MADE ON A LOWER AND
BROADER MODEL.
VERY LARGE WILLOW SETTLE MADE AFTER A DESIGN THAT WE HAVE FOUND MOST SATIS-
FAcTORY  IN RELATION TO THE REGULAR CRAFTSMAN   FURNITURE OF OAK.
161


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