• The Dawn of DIY: When it Was Hip to Stitch In today’s Etsy Era, in which everyone aspires to be an artisan (or at least shop like one), embroidery is an exotic handicraft, as incomprehensible to most consumers as blowing glass or brewing beer. But from the 16th century on, girls were schooled in the mysteries of needles and thread by creating samplers, which taught them simple stitches as well as their ABCs. “People like Gustav Stickley…
  • Copper Chronicles: How a Shipyard Worker Hammered Artillery Shells into Art When a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck San Francisco on the morning of April 18, 1906, it triggered three days of fires, destroying almost 30,000 structures and leaving more than half the city's residents homeless. Once the embers cooled, the quake spurred an equally thorough rebuilding effort, first for roofs over people’s heads, but then for the creature comforts that would transform all those n…
  • The Artisans and Designers Responsible for Roycroft Metalwork I started collecting Roycroft around 1992 when I visited the Peter Roberts Gallery in New York City. That was sort of the peak of the Arts and Crafts mania and there were many galleries in SoHo: Gallery 532, Peter Roberts Gallery, Michael Carey Gallery, and so on. I was amazed by the stuff I saw and thought that someday when I could buy real furniture I would love to get some. I remember being sho…
  • The Kalo Shop, a Mecca for Arts and Crafts Sterling Silver How did I get started collecting Arts and Crafts silver? My wife and I had been collecting Arts and Crafts items as far back as I can remember, mostly furniture and tiles. One day many years ago I got bit by the silver bug. We lived in California and I’d visit antique dealers and one of them showed me a silver serving spoon by Chicago silver maker Falick Novick. It was beautifully made, the shape …
  • Elyse Karlin on the Beautifully Unrefined Origins of Arts & Crafts Jewelry I started collecting jewelry when I was about 13 years old. I was very close to an interior designer who took me to antiques shops. While she looked for paintings and objects for her clients, I gravitated toward the jewelry counter. I started asking questions and buying little pieces for $10, $12, and it turned out I had a good eye. I was pretty much self-taught because up until the last 20 years …
  • Riley Humler Explains the Importance of Rookwood Art Pottery I don’t remember the first Rookwood piece I ever bought, that’s getting close to 40 years ago. But I must have liked it, because I kept studying and learning, and it’s been a lot of fun and a lifelong thing. I’m originally from Kentucky, about 90 miles down the Ohio River from Cincinnati, where Rookwood was based. So there was Rookwood in the area, and I could also drive up here to look for things…