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Stickley, Gustav, 1858-1942. / Craftsman homes

Cabinet work for home workers and students who wish to learn the fundamental principles of construction,   pp. 169-184

Page 169

IN the brief sketch we have already given
      of furniture making in this country we
      made the statement that one of the chief
      elements of interest in Craftsman furni-
ture is the fact that its construction is so
simple and direct and so clearly revealed that
any one possessing even a rudimentary knowl-
edge of tools and of drawing and some
natural skill of hand could easily make for
himself many pieces of   furniture in this
style.   Believing this thoroughly, and also
realizing fully the interest that cabinetwork
holds   for most people and the means it
affords of developing the constructive and
creative faculties, we have given in THE
CRAFTSMAN a number of designs solely for
the benefit of home workers.     For a year
or two we published, in connection with these
designs, full working drawings and also mill
bills for the necessary lumber; but we were
forced to abandon  that on account of lack
of space and to give only the drawings show-
ing the finished pieces, for which the work-
ing   drawings and mill  bills   were easily
obtainable upon application.
 We illustrate here a number of these de-
signs, most of which are for pieces that are
fairly easy to make and that have a definite
use as household furnishings.  While the de-
signs of course show the exact models of the
pieces they represent, we intend them to have
also a suggestive value and to      stimulate
thought and experiment along the lines of
designing and making plain substantial fur-
niture.   It has been proven beyond question
                             that the most
                     ~- powerful stimu-
                             lus  to well-de-
                         fi n e d   construc-
                         tive     thought is
                         found in the di-
                         rection    of t h e
                         mind       to some
                         form of creative
                         work.     Therefore
                         if a man or a
                         boy has any ap-
                         titude       along
                         these lines, it is
                         a     foregone con-
                         clusion    that he
                         will     not have
made    many     pieces
after  given   models
before he begins to
think for himself and
to. make or modify
designs to meet his
own demands and to
afford an opportunity
for working out his
own problems.    Fur-
thermore, as his ex-
perience  grows,   he
will   naturally  dis-
cover new ways of
doing   things   t h a t
may    be better   for
him to    follow than
any  of   the  stereo-
typed rules.  We ap-
prove thoroughly of
the freedom of spirit
that leads to such ex-
perimenting, for, al-
though we originated
the Craftsman furni-
ture, it is just such interest and work on the
part of other people that will ultimately de-
velop it into a national style.  One warning,
however, we would like to give to all amateur
workers: that is, that oneĀ¹s own whims must
no more be followed than the whims of other
people.   We will find plenty of interest and
occupation in making things that are actually
needed and plenty of exercise for all our
creative power in designing them to fulfil as
adequately as possible the purpose for which
they are intended.  So long as this is done
there is no danger of the work degenerating
into a fad; instead, it is likely not only to
give much pleasure and profit to individuals,
but to grow until the whole nation once more
reaps the benefit that comes from the intelli-
gent exercise of the creative powers in some
interesting form of handicraft.
    Every one knows the relief to brain work-
ers and to professional men that is found
in this kind of work.  It not only affords a
wholesome change of occupation but brings
into play a different set of faculties and so
proves both restful and stimulating.  A pro-
fessional or business man who can find relief
from his regular work in some such pursuit,

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