This weekend, and each year on the third weekend of February, Asheville NC is the venue for an extraordinary antiques show that is focused on the Arts& Crafts Period. You may know that the style originated in England in the late part of the 19th Century...as a reaction to the stark, 'modern' lines and materials that the Industrial Revolution had brought in the mid-1800s. The thought was something like, 'too much smoke and steel and not enough Nature and poetry.'
The English artist William Morris is perhaps the best-known of the English Arts &Crafts Movement. The designs in textiles, furniture as well as painting and architecture drew their inspiration heavily from nature. Its colors, textures and shapes and materials were used to create everything from useful items used in daily life to entire buildings. Morris's designs are familiar to us today even though we might not have known that William Morris originated the designs.
In America, the Arts & Crafts Movement became popular for the same reason that the British originated it...as a balance or reaction to too much 'modernization'. Potters made extraordinary urns, lamps, tiles and other objects. Weavers created rugs, household linens and wallcoverings.The colors are borrowed directly from nature including ochre, olive drab, browns and tans, just as one would find in a garden or a field.
Gustav Stickley, whose company is still in business today in New York state, is doubtless the most well-known of the Arts & Crafts furniture makers in America. Wood was, of course, a material that was loved for its texture and its 'nature'. The style also takes inspiration from antique Oriental furniture, using clean lines of Japanese and Chinese styles and typically allowing the 'joinery' to show, as well.
Whether the furniture is made to sit on, put books in, put a lamp on or to dine on, you will recognize the distinct shape, style and materials of the Arts Crafts Period. Poetry and stories from the period celebrate Nature and the purity associated with each of the Seasons in a year.
Come to Asheville NC, stay at a luxurious, relaxing bed and breakfast inn. And then wander over to the Arts & Crafts antique show on Saturday and Sunday where dealers from all over the U.S. and Canada gather each year. A well-deserved feast for the senses!