University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

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

The craftsman idea of the kind of home environment that would result from more natural standards of life and work,   pp. 194-205 ff.


Page 195

                    T HE CRAFTSMAN IDEA
calls forth all their resources in the way of self-reliance and the power
of initiative.
Even in the rush and hurry of life in our busy cities we remember well the
quality
given to the growing nation by such men and women a generation or two ago
and,
in spite of the chaotic conditions brought about by our passion for money-getting,
extravagance and show, we have still reason to believe that the dominant
char-
acteristics of the pioneer yet shape what are the salient qualities in American
life.
  To preserve these characteristics and to bring back to individual life
and
work the vigorous constructive spirit which during the last half-century
has
spent its activities in commercial and industrial expansion, is, in a nut-shell,
the
Craftsman idea.  We need to straighten out our standards and to get rid of
a
lot of rubbish that we have accumulated along with our wealth and commer-
cial supremacy.  It is not that we are too energetic, but that in many ways
we
have wasted and misused our energy precisely as Œwe have wasted and
misused
so many of our wonderful natural resources.   All we really need is a change
in our point of view toward life and a keener perception regarding the things
that count and the things which merely burden us.  This being the case, it
would
seem obvious that the place to begin a readjustment is in the home, for it
is only
natural that the relief from friction which would follow the ordering of
our lives
along more simple and reasonable lines would not only assure greater comfort,
and therefore greater efficiency, to the workers of the nation, but would
give
the children a chance to grow up under conditions which would be conducive
to a higher degree of mental, moral and physical efficiency.
THEREFORE we regard it as at least a step in the direction of bringing
    about better conditions when Œwe try to plan and build houses which
will
    simplify the work of home life and add to its wholesome joy and comfort.
We have already made it plain to our readers that we do not believe in large
houses with many rooms elaborately decorated and furnished, for the reason
that these seem so essentially an outcome of the artificial conditions that
lay
such harassing burdens upon modern life and form such a serious menace to
our ethical standards.  Breeding as it does the spirit of extravagance and
of
discontent which in the end destroys all the sweetness of home life, the
desire
for luxury and show not only burdens beyond his strength the man who is am-
bitious to provide for his wife and children surroundings which are as good
as
the best, but taxes to the utmost the woman who is trying to keep up the
appear-
ances which she believes should belong to her station in life.  Worst of
all, it
starts the children with standards which, in nine cases out of ten, utterly
pre-
clude the possibility of their beginning life on their own account in a simple
and
sensible way.  Boys who are brought up in such homes are taught, by the silent
influence of their early surroundings, to take it for granted¹ that
they must not
marry until they are able to keep up an establishment of equal pretensions,
and
girls also take it as a matter of course that marriage must mean something
quite
as luxurious as the home of their childhood or it is not a paying investment
for
their youth and beauty.  Everyone who thinks at all deplores the kind of
life
that marks a man¹s face with the haggard lines of amdety and makes him
sharp
and often unscrupulous in business, with no ambition beyond large profits
and
a rapid rise in the business world.  Also we all realize regretfully the
extrava-
195


Go up to Top of Page