Monday, February 5, 2007

Aesthetic Movement: Britain: Arts and Crafts

The Arts and Crafts movement was partly founded based on the ideas of John Ruskin, a writer. He believed that with the technology that we had gained, we were losing the most important parts of design. Design wasn’t as personal as it had once been, everything was produced in bulk, and was losing quality as well. Ruskin’s ideas were based on Gothic Revival ideas because Gothic Revival emphasized craftsmanship. However, where Ruskin’s ideas differ is where Gothic Revival is bringing back that original Gothic style, the Arts and Crafts movement brought on a new style and was completely original. The Arts and Crafts movement was very small, mainly because of how expensive it was. While the ideas were great, people simply didn’t want to buy hand crafted products anymore when they could buy the same thing of lesser quality for significantly less. A huge part of the Arts and Crafts movement was shifting away from the Victorian era of design. Most of those associated with the Arts and Crafts movement hated the bulk and clutter of the Victorian era. They disliked how heavy it was and how it lacked functionality, so they created something handcrafted and simple to break away from that. Arts and Crafts designers were regarded as craftsman, because the introduction of machines left people to learn the machines and not crafts, which turned these designers into the craftsman as well. Since the Arts and Crafts design focused more on functionality than formalities it led to designs such as the Red House designed by Philip Webb. The Red House was designed based on the functionality of it. Everything was placed a certain way for a specific purpose, not just to make something look good. Webb was a designer that took his ideas from that of William Morris. Morris was a huge influence in the Arts and Crafts movement. He took his ideas from Ruskin and brought them to a new level with his designs. Even though these designers thought they were technically taking a step back in time by using hand crafted things, they were taking a huge step forward in regards to design. The designs of the Arts and Crafts movement really pushed into modern designs because they were focused on the function and quality, which was completely different than the gaudiness and clutter of the Victorian era. What do you believe caused such a rapid shift from the Victorian era to the Arts and Crafts movement? And do you believe that the shift to the Arts and Crafts movement affected the future of design?

1 comment:

spees said...

I think that the shift was mostly caused when people get enough motivation to be different. Since people went from clutter to simplicity and reasoning in the shift, there was probably a lot of interst in this. Examples like the Red House are great displays of this reasoning behind everything. Since styles always reinvent, morph, and evolve, I wonder if we will get back to the handcrafted goods.

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