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Sun, 9 Jan 2005

Arts & Crafts Exhibit

— SjG @ 6:10 pm

There’s a show on at the County Art museum: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America, 1880–1920: Design for the Modern World which I visited with my folks yesterday. I’ve always liked “Craftsman” style, but didn’t have a good feeling for how it fits in with other styles of design and schools of art. I’ve always been partial to Green & Green craftsman style, Art Nouveau and Tiffany, Jugendstil, Bauhaus and the whole German Expressionist movement, but this exhibit gave me a glimpse into how they interrelate.
The show is organized by country, which gives a strong impression of the regional variations of the style; this could, of course, be an artifact of the pieces available in the collection.
What surprised me was the diversity of the movement: everything from almost pathologically-detailed Islamic-inspired detail work to very plain, simple work. It seems that one of the common threads in the Arts and Crafts movement, aside from the stated goals, was a sense of elegance.
As ever, the exhibit made me want to get out the calligraphy pens, the stained-glass and soldering iron, clay, woodworking tools, and learn to make jewelry all at once.

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