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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Asheville takes spotlight as Arts & Crafts capitalAsheville Citizen-Times, February 15th
At that first conference in 1988, there were 40 exhibitors of Art & Craft pottery, tiles and the signature Mission Oak furniture made by Stickley and other masters that provided the Grove Park Inn with its furnishings. There was only one contemporary...Read more
Different, new, tried 'n trueQuad City Times, February 1st
Stickley is a New York-based company named after the Stickley brothers, who made high-quality wood furniture in Mission Oak designs in the early 1900s. Knilans' is celebrating its 60th year of business this year. "We have a long history of being a ...Read more
Penn and Teller conjure new season of 'Wizard Wars'Fresno Bee, January 28th
It can be as big as a piece of furniture or as small as a lollipop. Smaller objects are easier for the teams because so many illusions are based on close-up magic. It's the way the prop gets used that impresses the judges. “I think that if someone...Read more
Sheriff: Death of Easton girl, 4, likely accidental; autopsy TuesdayFresno Bee, January 25th
Botti said the case is a good reminder about child-proofing a home: Inspect windows, the cords on blinds, install cabinet locks, protect electrical outlets and secure furniture to walls. It's important to keep medicines and sharp objects out of a child...Read more
Silver Dollar Hofbrau closes after more than 35 years in FresnoFresno Bee, January 21st
The Shaw Avenue property and the furniture is being sold to a new, unidentified owner, said Truman F. Campbell, 87, one of the Silver Dollar's owners. It won't reopen as the Silver Dollar, he said, adding that the buyer had told him it may be turned...Read more
Aminy Audi on leadership: How leaders can measure their success as they go ...Syracuse.com, January 18th
Aminy I. Audi is CEO and chairman of the board of L. & J.G. Stickley, the family-owned furniture manufacturer headquartered in Manlius. She grew up in Lebanon and met her late husband, Alfred, when he was visiting relatives. They married in the First ...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
Historic Yosemite names on negotiating tableFresno Bee, December 30th
The assets in Yosemite are described as both physical — things like furniture, buses and equipment — and “intangible,” such as registered place names, websites, mailing lists and guest data bases. Lisa Cesaro, spokeswoman for DNC Parks & Resorts at ...Read more