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arts & crafts design help

3541 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  CaptainSkully
I would like to dress up some of my arts & crafts style items with some inlays. I have found lots of designs on the web but they are all way too complex for my limited skill level and would not be apropriate to go with the basic furniture designs I have made. Any help with some simple yet elegant A&C designs. I have absolutely no ability to come up with something of my own. Thanks,
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one of the "rules" surrounding arts and crafts that emerged from the 19th c was:
" construct decoration, don't decorate construction"

Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many others returned again and again to this passage in defense of their work.

originally, it had to do with the question about whether or not use of power machines for construction of a and c furniture. Morris and Ruskin said "no", FLW, "yes", but i'm not sure about Stickley-probably "maybe",

i could give you more, but better, do your own search of the phrase in "google book search".

as far as i know, among designers of a and c, only the brothers greene and greene did inlays, but i probably will have someone point out that this statement isn't entirely true.

to put inlays on already constructed a and c pieces runs a danger of just basically ruining or destroying the piece. a and c is distinguished by straight elegant rectilinear lines, where functionality is the key

that said, can you show us-or at least describe-the a and c items that you have in mind to inlay?

sincerely, i hope that this helps-i certainly don't mean to be destructive
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There were two faces for Stickley.
His demonstration shop was equiped with artisan hand tools.
His production shop used any appropriate automation available.
I think Robert Lang may have written a book on inlays for craftsman furniture. Like Raymond said, not much of the original A&C furniture had inlays, but that's what being an artist is all about. Be creative.
Tim, Whew! I checked your website, and think maybe i shouldn't have dived in here. your work is pretty good looking stuff!

i have myself debated about whether to make a morris chair. so far haven't taken the plunge, but your work is an inspiration

Stickley evidently laid out his thoughts about a and c design in 1903: "The Structural Style in Cabinet-Making", here's the link:

you can now check the whole text of The Craftsman in a keyword search, and when i did-click on results below- found in the digitized version of The Craftsman that there are over 70 instances of the use of the term "inlay":

in case anyone thinks that such investigation shows early signs of my mental instability, be assured that it is only part of my work on
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I did indeed write a book about Arts & Crafts period inlays. In a nutshell, inlays were more evident in English Arts & Crafts furniture than in American, but both Gustav Stickley and the Stickley Brothers Company of Grand Rapids produced inlaid furniture. The Stickley Bros. product was derivative of the English stuff, Albert Stickley imported a couple of specialists from England to design and make it. The Gustav Stickley inlaid furniture was introduced in January 1904, but never went into full production. Originals are pretty rare, and the designs were mostly by Harvey Ellis. The inlays were produced by George Jones in Manhattan. The current Stickley company uses the designs on a lot of stuff, thanks no doubt to the efficiencies of CNC for cutting the inlay.

Bob Lang
many thanks, Bob.

one thing my 40 years of academic reference work taught me is "tread carefully", because potentially an expert is around the next corner, prepared to shoot down any of your over-statements, even when your own authority comes from the most reliable sources.

may i ask what sources you used for the info above? i'd like to use them.

To answer the original question, Mitch Andrus sells authentic period inlays from his website. If you do a Google image search on Arts & Crafts tile you will find a lot of designs that are less intricate than what was used on the original furniture but would be a good fit for the style.
uuuuhhhh… sorry i asked
I don't have the attention span to read the previous posts, but the onion, ginko, or tsuba inlays are all acceptable Stickley/Greene & Greene options. Also, Macintoch roses are very cool. Yoshiko Yamamoto also makes some really cool prints that may be adopted for inlays.
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