Ten Facts That Illustrate the Enduring Light of the Arts & Crafts Movement

Carved copper switchplates with Mackintosh roses – Ron Van Ostrand
  1. Arts & Crafts was the first deliberate maker movement, emphasizing a return to utilitarian, handmade goods.
  2. 2. Spanning the late 1800s through the early 1920s, Arts & Crafts was a reaction against fussy, ornate Victorian embellishment and that style’s mass production via industrialization. A&C encompassed decorative arts, home furnishings, and architecture. 
  3. It doesn’t have anything specific to do with summer arts-and-crafts shows.
  4. It’s not the same as arts and crafts at summer camp, either
  5. Indeed, the most significant national Arts & Crafts gathering happens in deep winter, at the local Omni Grove Park Inn.
  6. No-nonsense Mission (aka Craftsman) wooden furniture is the most recognizable remnant of the original Arts & Crafts style.
  7. Unless it’s early-20th-century bungalows with tapered columns and deep eaves.
  8. Arts & Crafts may have saved lives. This month, historian/curator Ryan Berley will discuss the work of artisan/architect William Waldo Dodge, a wounded World War I soldier who was trained in A&C-style silversmithing at the Asheville VA hospital — and who then helped train other veterans.
  9. Today’s A&C torchbearers include celebrated metalsmith Ron Van Ostrand and printmaker Laura Wilder, a descendant of Almanzo Wilder (husband of iconic children’s-book author Laura Ingalls Wilder).  
  10. Laura Ingalls Wilder was a young teenager when the Arts & Crafts movement began. By the end of her life, the Mid Century Modern style was at its peak. She was born in February and also died in February, three days after her 90th birthday.

The 33rd National Arts & Crafts Conference, directed by Bruce Johnson, happens Friday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Omni Grove Park Inn (290 Macon Ave.), with lectures and workshops by Ryan Berley, Laura Wilder, Natalie Richards, Ron Van Ostrand, and others. For a full schedule of events, call 828-628-1915 or see arts-craftsconference.com.

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