Mission-style furniture grew out the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts movement, which like Art Nouveau was a response to industrialization. During the Victorian Era, elaborate Rococo and Neoclassical furniture was churned out by factories. Artists, designers, scholars, and other thinkers of the day began to express disdain for both the frilly, ornate aesthetic of Victorian decor, as well as the low quality of machine-made items.
The lead thinkers of the Arts and Crafts movement, such as art critic John Ruskin and designer William Morris, both from England, called for a return to high-quality, hand-made furniture, crafted by artisans. They promoted a simpler, more natural, and more functional look, with clean lines and solid, heavy frames made of wood. They believed that furniture design should lack clutter and highlight the craftsmanship of the construction and the natural beauty of the materials.
In 1900, furniture designer Gustav Stickley, publisher of the influential magazine, “The Craftsman,” popularized this movement in the United States, launching his own Mission or Craftsman-style of furniture. Said to be based on the spartan furnishings of California’s Franciscan missions, the earthy, rectilinear style was characterized by thick lines of oak, with exposed mortise-and-tenon joints and little in the way of decorative carving.
The best examples of antique Mission-style furnishings, from chairs to tables to cabinets, often feature rows of narrow wooden spindles that create eye-pleasing parallel lines. The wood is varnished but never painted, and the upholstery is always of a natural, unembellished material such as dyed leather or canvas.
The great irony of Mission-style furniture is that even though the Arts and Crafts movement supposedly rejected mechanization, Stickley would used steam-powered or electric woodworking machines to get the wood ready for his pieces, which would then be hand-finished by his artisans. Eventually, the Mission style was mass-produced just like its predecessors had been, and low-quality, slipshod items were soon found everywhere.
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COS Sports Notes: Three former Giants on NFL rostersVisalia Times-Delta, July 2nd
COS currently has three former student-athletes on NFL rosters . Jeremy Butler, who last played for COS during the 2011 season before having a standout career at the University of Tennessee-Martin , is in his second year on the roster for the Baltimore ...Read more
Sarah Cyrus Home features an eclectic mix of top-quality furnitureAtlanta Magazine, July 1st
If a custom sofa just isn't what the homeowner expected, it's the designer who gets stuck with the bill—and the sofa. That's just one way design pros end up with excess inventory, much of it top-quality goods. To help take it off their hands, Sarah...Read more
48th annual Tulare-Kings All-Star Football Game set for SaturdayVisalia Times-Delta, June 24th
9 Casey Bernardo (Tulare Western). 10 Kobe Portillo (Tulare Western). 11 Brock Dias (Mission Oak). 12 Nico Portillo (Corcoran). 13 Trent Plemons ( Kingsburg ). 15 Ricky Ibarra (Corcoran). 16 Christan Love (Tulare Union). 17 Karson Overmyer (Lemoore)...Read more
Creating a brighter, more inviting living roomWashington Post, June 3rd
Furniture: Soft modern end table ($67), Bang Bang sleeper sofa in cotton with memory foam mattress ($1,000), Albury end table in mission oak ($119), Collins end table ($71) and Metro collection ottoman and chair in crimson red ($330), all from ...Read more
Unique local company featured on TVPorterville Recorder, May 12th
He collects it from the foothills or from the many walnut groves in the Valley, and then ships the large chunks of wood to companies that use the sought-after wood in a variety of ways — furniture, gun stock blanks, knife blanks, decorative art and...Read more
Oak Valley to dedicate sports field complexVisalia Times-Delta, April 7th
Oak Valley is a feeder school for Tulare Western, but grads also attend Mission Oak and Union high schools in Tulare and schools in Visalia and Hanford. On average, the school graduates between 50 and 60 students. This year's graduating class is 55 ...Read more
To repair or not to repair rare furnitureArizona Daily Star, March 14th
The Toomey Gallery specializes in A&C furniture (Mission is a style under that umbrella), and also holds regular auctions. In a December 2014 sale, an unsigned Gustav Stickley bungalow library table brought $6,000. In September of the same year another...Read more
A Passion for Design: Keeping up with Interior Design Color TrendsPenBayPilot.com, January 15th
Las Cruces represents today's interpretation of authentic craftsman furniture with mortise and tenon joinery and vintage mission oak, hearkening back to the days of Gustav Stickley. Las Cruces is comprised of ash solids with mission oak veneers in a...Read more