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Article

Alan Crawford

Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.

The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....

Article

Gordon Campbell

American interior decorator and founder of the first tapestry factory in the USA. He worked for Herter Brothers (see Herter, Christian) on the decoration of a series of grand houses, notably William H. Vanderbilt’s house on Fifth Avenue, New York, and William Welsh Harrison’s Grey Towers Castle (now part of Arcadia University) in Philadelphia. When the Vanderbilt house was completed in ...

Article

Damie Stillman

Architectural and decorative arts style that flourished in the USA from shortly after the acknowledgement of independence in the Treaty of Paris (1783) until c. 1820. The term is derived from the period surrounding the creation of the federal constitution in 1787 and was in use in a political sense by that year. Essentially it was a form of ...

Article

Sandra Sider

Folk art, or vernacular art (specific to a group or place), developed in Colonial America out of necessity when individual households produced most of the utilitarian objects required for daily life. Using traditional tools and techniques, many of these makers created pieces in which aesthetics came to play a substantial role, through form, ornamentation, or both. In some groups, notably the ...

Article

Edward J. Nygren

American painter of English birth. In England he was apprenticed to a tailor and then worked in the textile trade. A business failure prompted him to leave London for New York in 1795. By early 1798 he was settled in Baltimore, MD, where he lived for the next 20 years. Having unsuccessfully attempted to establish a dyeing operation, he took up painting as a livelihood. Basically self-taught, Guy specialized in American views, especially cityscapes, although he occasionally painted English landscapes and treated more exotic places, undoubtedly using prints as sources of inspiration. ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

English calico printer, active in America. He was the son of a draper, and trained as a calico printer at Talwin and Foster, a textile printworks at Bromley Hall (Middx). He was assisted by Benjamin Franklin to emigrate, and in 1774 sailed to Philadelphia, where he opened a calico factory in the Kensington area. He printed material for dresses, handkerchiefs and furnishing fabrics, notably bedspreads with medallions depicting urns (e.g. Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A. and Winterthur, DE, Du Pont Winterthur Mus.). When Hewson retired in ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Type of Northern American floor and bed covering in which loops of coloured material are pulled through the meshes of an open fabric to form a pile. The hooked rug has been an American home craft since the 18th century. Woollen (later cotton) rags were cut into narrow strips which were then dyed and hooked into an open-mesh burlap or home-woven flax. The hook, like a large crochet-hook, was fashioned from wood or bone or metal; red dyes were made from cranberries and beets, pink from powdered brick, yellow from onion skins and green from goldenrod and indigo. Designs were sometimes geometrical, but there were also marine scenes (made by sailors), floral designs (popular in French-speaking areas) and animal designs. In the late 19th century Edward Sands Frost (...

Article

New England’s textile mills and the villages they generated introduced the Industrial Revolution to the USA in the late 18th century. The proliferation of mills and their towns established a distinct architectural typology within a pattern of urban settlement. Systems of production used in the mills and the corporate structure underlying many of these endeavors eventually offered an important model of development at the height of American industrialization at the turn of the 20th century....

Article

American, 19th – 20th century, female.

Born 29 October 1837, in Athens (Georgia); died 1911.

Textile artist.

Folk Art.

Harriet Powers was an African-American artist who created 'story quilts' in needlepoint and appliqué, in which she depicted stories from the Bible and from African-American oral tradition, as well from as episodes from her own life. Born a slave, she married young and had nine children, the last of whom was born in ...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

African American quiltmaker. Born into slavery on a plantation near Athens, GA, Powers is known today as the finest African American quiltmaker of the late 19th–early 20th century. Drawing upon narrative folk tradition, Powers recorded in fabric the sermons and stories she had heard living in the South. Following her emancipation, Powers lived with her husband, Armstead Powers, and their children on a farm in the Sandy Creek region of Clarke County, GA. In ...

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Born 1926, in San Francisco.

Sculptor.

Kay Sekimachi studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. She gave up graphic arts to become a weaver in 1954 under the direction of Trude Guermonprez. After 1960 she began weaving with nylon filaments, then created her works with elements obtained from three-dimensional transparent shapes....

Article

John Mawer

American designer . She came from a prosperous and artistic background. She saw the Royal School of Needlework’s exhibition at the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia, which inspired her to found, in 1877, the Society of Decorative Arts of New York City, the aim of which was to restore the status of crafts traditionally associated with women and provide them with the opportunity to produce high-quality, handmade work which could be profit-making. The Society, which generated sister branches in major American cities, taught many design and craft techniques, but art needlework remained the focus. In ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1949, in Illinois.

Installation and textile artist.

Anne Wilson received her BFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1972, and her MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Los Angeles in 1976. She is Professor of Fiber and Material Studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she has taught since ...