The British Arts and Crafts Movement flourished between its peak years of 1880-1910, reviving artisan-produced decorative arts in an increasingly industrial era. Founding visionaries John Ruskin and William Morris inspired a new generation of designers, high standards of traditional craftsmanship, and social reform for workers.
Using an ecosocial lens, this research project addresses key principles in the Arts & Crafts Movement: looking to nature for design motifs, improving the living and working conditions of artisans, and using more humble materials to make artistic works affordable to the middle classes. These Arts & Crafts principles are equally relevant today, countering a global economy of disposable goods with growing interest in artists’ cooperatives and local craftsmanship.
What else can we do to help to educate ourselves and others in the path of art, to be on the road to attaining an art made “by the people and for the people” as a joy to the maker and the user? Believe me, if we want art to begin at home, as it must, … if you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it:
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
-William Morris,”The Beauty of Life,” in “Hopes and Fears for Art.” Lecture first delivered before the Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design, (February) 19, 1880.
History of the Arts and Crafts Movement Part I
History of the Arts and Crafts Movement Part II
History of the Arts and Crafts Movement Part III
© Holly Cecil 2015 (where applicable)