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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Here and There at Comic-ConChampion Newspapers, July 18th
I was surprised to see furniture for sale in the Comic-Con exhibit hall. It's called Geek Chic and they sell U.S. made tables, chairs and cabinets that you might find in any nicely decorated home. I had to ask how this beautiful Mission Oak style...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
Thanks for helping Aid Association raise $90000The Daily News of Newburyport, June 11th
Mad Martha's Café, Metzy's Taqueria, Michael's Harborside, Mission Oak Grill, No.8 Kitchen & Spirits, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt Newburyport, Panera Bread, Plum Island Beachcoma, Plum Island Coffee Roasters, and Seaglass Restaurant and Lounge...Read more
55th annual Exeter Lions Club All-Star Game is SaturdayVisalia Times-Delta, June 4th
Mission Oak: Justin Albright P, Immanuel Salazar C. Monache : Jose Prieto C/P/IF. Porterville: Peyton True P, Angel Flores IF, Andrew Whitten P. Tulare Union: Adam Bustos P/IF/OF. Tulare Western: Kobe Portillo P/IF, Jordan Padilla, P/OF. Woodlake...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
'A great' job during PI sewer crisisThe Daily News of Newburyport, May 25th
For her instrumental help to those residents and city officials, Valcich will be an honoree Wednesday morning at Mayor Donna Holaday's Boy Scouts of America Breakfast at the Mission Oak Grill. “When the sewerage problems started, we set up on office on ...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
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