Master craftsman, furniture designer, architect, and publisher
Gustav Stickley was born March 9, 1858 in Osceola, Wisconsin and died April 21, 1942 in Syracuse, New York.
First trained as a stone mason, Stickley preferred to work in wood and dreamed of building fine tables and chairs. He learned furniture making at his uncle's chair factory in Lanesboro, Pennsylvania. Traveling to Europe in 1896, he met notable Arts and Crafts designers. The following year he returned to the United States and founded the United Crafts of Eastwood, New York. In 1904, he founded the Craftsman Workshops. The furniture he designed and made was mostly of native American oak. It was of a sturdy-plain design in contrast to the highly decorated late Victorian pieces. Joinery was exposed and upholstery was carried out in canvas and leather (natural materials). It became known as Mission Style. Stickley's designs were exhibited at the prestigious Grand Rapids and Pan American furniture expositions.
The Craftsman 1901
In 1901 Stickley founded the periodical known as The Craftsman that began by expounding the philosophy of the English Arts & Crafts movement. As it matured, the publication is credited with being the leading voice of that movement in the United States. In 1903, Stickley established the Craftsman Home Builders Club to spread his ideas on domestic architecture. Working with architect Harvey Ellis, he designed house plans for the magazine that later appeared in two books: Craftsman Homes(1909) and More Craftsman Homes. (1912) These books illustrated the homes' exteriors, as well as their interiors, and were accompanied with a floor plan. Financial problems forced Stickley to stop publication of The Craftsman in 1916. Though he lived another twenty six years, Stickley's popularity had waned by the end of the Great War.
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