What was the Arts & Crafts Movement?

Don’t let the name deceive you, as this certainly has nothing to do with finger painting and paper mâché.

Let’s go back to the British Isles between 1880 and 1920 and look at medieval, romantic and folk-art styles combined with traditional craftsmanship; here you will find yourself looking at Arts & Crafts furniture and décor. The movement quickly spread from the Isle’s to the British Empire and North America. It essentially emerged from the desire to reform the overtly ornate and artificial qualities of the Industrial Revolution. Designers sought to return to a simpler way of living with clean lines and emphasis on function. Although less decorative than previous periods, Arts & Crafts productions stand the test of time in quality and style. They were crafted out of solid wood, often Oak, due to its dense nature which offers a strong and durable product.

Now what does this have to do with you and I? Well we had a great influence from the Arts & Crafts movement here Canada and especially right here in Calgary. Neighbourhoods such as Mount Royal, Rideau, Elbow Park and Mission were being developed during this time and as such the interior design and character of the homes have come to reflect this. A great example is this fireplace mantle (pictured below) which came from a home built in the 1910’s and was removed after some remodelling decades later. At over 110 years old, this solid oak piece displays exceptional quality in craftsmanship and truly has stood the test of time.

The simple, yet elegant lines that defined the Arts & Crafts movement can also be seen in this Oak Library Table

and this Oak Bench and Mirror Set.

All of these pieces are over 100 years old and it is nothing short of remarkable how near immaculate they are.

There is something to be said about the everlasting quality of handcrafted oak furniture that will probably outlive us all.