Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aesthetic Movement

While the creation of the machine and the fine tuning of the production line were considered by most a positive development during the Industrial Revolution, others saw this as a movement away from craftsmanship and personalization. After the rise of the Victorian Era in design, where individuals could go as far as to order a new home from a catalogue, intellectuals like John Ruskin wanted to return to simpler ways of creating great art and design. Ruskin was an English writer and art critic who held a high regard for the Middle Ages and the older Gothic style (Raizman, 107). He held to the theory that the boom of industrialization lead to a growth in materialism and eventually resulted in poverty, inequality, and misery. Ruskin believed that one should take extreme pride in their work and although it does take longer to finish, the work is more valuable because of the imperfections and the interaction with the human hand. He believed machine created objects were too uniform and drone-like, lacking in individuality. John Ruskin hated Paxton’s Crystal Palace because it embodied everything he disliked about the Industrial Revolution. Although he was a critic he had no specified style or set of rules for designers other than the work be a “unique creation reflecting the skill, pride, and effort of the craftsman” (Raizman, 108). We have discussed many times whether the Industrial Revolution had a harmful or helpful effect of the population. Now consider whether machines ruined the art itself. Do you think a move toward the old way of doing things and the appreciation of skill and workmanship of the craftsman was necessary after the standardization of design? After all, design follows a path of lows to highs. Do you think it was time to come back down to the roots of craftsmanship again?

5 comments:

Carrie said...

In some ways I believe that machines ruined art but in some ways I believe it didn’t. At the time of John Ruskin the Industrial Revolution was happening and all kinds of people were beginning to experience things that they had not experience before. These are things that once before only the rich could experience. In the process of making these objects the craftsmanship was taken away and I do believe it “ruined” the true art of the object. There was no true blood, sweat, and tears put into each object. The Industrial Revolution in some ways didn’t ruin the art because it gave the ability for more people to see and experience these objects even though they lacked the true craftsmanship. In today’s time I feel that people always appreciate the skill and workmanship of true craftsmanship over anything that is manufactured. During the time period I feel that the Arts and Crafts Movement was a great movement. I feel that it was time for a different outlook away from the Industrial Revolution that people were getting so use to and back down to the roots of true craftsmanship in art.

Sabrina said...

I think that history is history. We cannot chnage what has happened in the past and we cannot ignore what has previously occured. I believe that we, as a people, are who we are today, because of everything that has transpired throughout history. Thus, the industrial revolution surely was a time of exploration of new ideas and processes. And during this exploration, we made mistakes, such as a lack of quality in our products. However, the brilliant part about history is that we CAN look back on what has previously happened. We can determine our mistakes and propose and implement new solutions. Therefore, I think that the return to "craftsmanship" in the Aesthetic Movement was guaranteed to happen once people were given the oppurtunity to observe the mistakes made during the Industrial Revoltion.

olivia said...

During the Industrial Revolution, this idea of being able to mass produce products while lowering the cost seemed like a win-win situation for factories and consumers. More people were able to view and buy the goods which helped the economy prosper. At first, the fact that craftsmanship and the design process were being taken out of the equation probably wasn't a significant problem to them. Looking back now, we do have to see the good and bad things that came out of the introduction of the machine. Using machines enabled the prices to be lowered considerably on goods. This meant that people who weren't in the upper class could finally afford nicer furniture. This helped to shrink the gap between the different classes of people. On the other hand, we do have to take into consideration the fact that handicraft did suffer. Today, people put great value on handmade crafts and furniture. We appreciate the time and energy that went into creating the products. In the end, the Arts and Crafts Movement opened people's eyes to what was happening and encouraged them to change the way goods were produced.

Moore13 said...

It's a cycle, the Industrial Revolution brought about new technologies, easier ways of doing things and then when people lose interest in it or simply just don't appreciate it a new movement will bring back the old traditional way of doing things. This can be directly connected to what us, as design students are experiencing digital design programs like CAD are being used more frequently in the presentations of design. These programs make presentations look clean and professional, but what about the personality that hand dawn drawings have? I find it frustrating sometimes that so much seems to be done by computer generated programs versus by hand. I would much rather sit at a drawing table working on a drawing than sitting in front of a computer screen that gives me a headache drawing. Back to my point the Industrial Revolution put up a good fight but it can in now way ruin true art because it never created true art. The Arts and Crafts movement was just the consumer disagreeing with what the Industrial Revolution stood for. At some point it’s going to happen again, clients will demand to see the personal touch of a hand drawing.

maggie clines said...

Though the Industrial Revolution and the creation of the machine changed the way design was developed, I believe it was a necessary step that was had to be taken. I also believe that from it, we as a people saw what happens when materialism takes over our lives; we continue to see it today. The Industrial Revolution happened so that we could come full circle and revert back to what was truly important, the craft itself.
I feel like it was definitely a positive thing for designers and critics such as Ruskin to start revivals of classic forms and to show the importance of hand crafted art work. It brought everything back into prospective for the designers of the time, showing them what was really important. I also feel that from this, the artist began to reconnect with their work; not just make it for mass quantities.
I actually feel as though we are seeing this today too. With our extreme life style of immediate gratification, we are beginning to see its consequences. From this we are now as a community and world starting to come full circle and begin to work for the environment instead of against it.

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.