Sunday, September 21, 2008
Aesthetic Movement C
The Victorian era made way to mass production; to increase efficiency but leading to the decrease of true designs. Much of the designs love was lost in the level of skill and heart put into the making of each designs. Most of the furniture and work being created was hot off the industrial belt which wasn’t of the best quality. The expanding consumer oriented middle class was losing sight of the care put into the designs looking just to increase their status by accumulating as much “stuff” as possible like furniture dripping in detail and ornamentation. Although the factories made way for many job opportunities, and new way of supplying demand it led to some conflicting attitudes. John Ruskin placed his concerns in his writings and William Morris put his in activities like, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The pair placed the issues of design and production within a new ethical framework based upon an almost religious attitude linking craft, art, and social reform. They criticized the dehumanizing aspects of mechanization and increasing division of labor in factories which were dedicated to the social benefits of handicraft (Raizman 66). Ruskin’s main emphasis was on the moral and spiritual benefits of craft rather than upon accommodating the technology of production of the contemplation of beauty. Morris started a firm which designed furniture and stained glass windows by Philip Webb and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and had an embroidery workshop run by his wife. Such furnishings established a link with craft traditions only minimally affected either by contemporary commercial considerations or by the use of machine tools and techniques (Raizman 109). This proved to be a successful means of production through affordable labor costs of production methods and vision for a society based upon meaningful satisfying work. Would you be a fan of Ruskin and Morris or would you push for the efforts that the Victorian Era created? The Victorian Era created a huge new class to gain importance but Ruskin and Morris soon learned that status came at a high cost in losing the connection between the designs and the designer. Would you put value in the work of the artist or in the status the piece of furniture gave to you? Would you settle for less (bad quality, one of thousand produced) because it was more (easier to obtain, gave you status because you could have lots “stuff” since it was affordable)?
This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.