Origins and history
The American Craftsman style has its origins from the British Arts and Crafts movement which began as a philosophy and artistic style founded by William Morris earlier in the 1860s. The British movement was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, with its disregard for the individual worker and degradation of the dignity of human labor. Seeking to ennoble the craftsman once again, the movement emphasized the hand-made over the mass-produced. The Arts and Crafts movement was also a reaction against the eclectic 'over-decorated' aesthetic of the Victorian era. It was an anti-Victorian movement, with William Morris a staunch socialist. However, the expensive fabrication and construction materials and costly hand-made techniques used meant that the created works of the movement were actually only serving a wealthy clientele, often derided as "champagne socialists". However the philosophy and aesthetics of the British Arts and Crafts movement inspired a wide variety of related but conceptually distinct design movements throughout Europe, as well as the 'American Craftsman' movement in North America. While the British movement was a response to the Victorian, the Arts and Crafts style's arrival in the United States was precisely at the moment when the Victorian era was coming to a close. The American Arts and Crafts Movement did share the philosophy of the reform movement and encouraged originality, simplicity of form, local natural materials, and the visibility of handicraft. It was
distinguished by being concerned with ennobling the modest homes of the rapidly expanding American middle class, which became the Craftsman Bungalow style. In the late 1890s, a group of Boston's more influential architects, designers, and educators was determined to bring the design reforms begun in Britain by William Morris to America. Its first meeting, to organize an exhibition of contemporary craft objects, was held in January 1897 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Present at this meeting were local museum trustees, including General Charles Loring, William Sturgis Bigelow, and Denman Ross; art collectors and patrons; writers and art critics, such as Sylvester Baxter for the Boston Evening Transcript; and artists and architects, such as Ross Turner and Ralph Clipson Sturgis. They succeeded in opening the first American Arts and Crafts Exhibition in April 1897 at Copley Hall, featuring over 1000 objects made by 160 craftsmen, half of whom were craftswomen. Some of the exhibit's supporters included: the founder of Harvard's School of Architecture, Langford Warren; social reformers Mrs. Richard Morris Hunt, Arthur Astor Carey, and Edwin Mead; and graphic designer Will Bradley. The exhibition's success led to the formation of The Society of Arts and Crafts in June 1897, with a mandate to 'Develop and encourage higher standards in the handicrafts.' The Society focused on the relationship of artists and designers to the world of commerce, and on high-quality workmanship.
More information about Fernie Alpine Chalet: