The Boston Society of Arts and Crafts

Organizations of the Arts & Crafts Movement

The Boston Society of Arts and Crafts is steadily and successfully pursuing its work. The breadth and soundness of its principles will best be understood through a quotation from its constitution:

"This Society was incorporated for the purpose of promoting artistic work in all branches if handicraft. It hopes to bring Designers and Workmen into mutually helpful relations, and to encourage workmen to execute designs of their own. It endeavors to stimulate in workmen an appreciation of the dignity and the value of good design; to counteract the popular impatience of Law and Form, and the desire for over ornamentation and specious originality. It will insist upon the necessity of sobriety and restraint, of ordered arrangement, of due regard for the relation between the form of its object and its use, and of harmony and fitness in the decorations put upon it."

The membership of the Society is divided into three classes: Craftsmen, Masters and Associates. The grade of Craftsmen is held to include designers, as well as those practicing some branch of applied decorative art. The title and privilege of Master lie within the grant of the Council alone, and are conferred only upon a person previously admitted to membership as a Craftsman, who shall have clearly established by contributions to the Society's exhibitions, or otherwise, a standard of excellence approved by the Council. Finally, persons interested in the aims of the Society, but not habitually employed as designers or craftsmen, may join the Society as Associates.

The rooms of the organization, at number 14, Somerset Street, Boston, are open to the public daily from nine until five o'clock, for the exhibition and sale of such work, designed of executed by members, as has been approved by a jury elected by a council.

A number of productions now showed call for especial notice. Among these are specimens of ceramics from the Grueby Faience Company, from Dedham, Newburyport, and the student-craftsmen of Tulane University. The Merrimac (Newburyport) pottery is characterized by a firm, hard glaze which adapts it to useful purposes, while it lacks the fine color and beautiful opaque surface of the Grueby and the Dedham products. The articles sent from Tulane are simple in form and admirable in color. They are also interesting as illustrating an industrial experiment, which begun upon a small scale, is rapidly acquiring importance. They are the work of graduate women students from the art department of the University.

Another fine exhibit is made by William R. Mercer (Doylestown, PA.) of tiles in soft and pleasing tones, similar to those from the same workshops which have been largely used by Mrs. John L. Gardner in her palace in the Fens.

In bookbinding, there are many beautiful examples from the Merrymount Press, some of which are so costly as to place them beyond the reach of the many, while others, equally remarkable for their workmanship, and good taste, are simple and inexpensive. In the latter class may be mentioned the two thin volumes of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Aes Triplex," which are noticeable by their fine paper, clear type, well adjusted margins and refined covers. These are the work of Mr. Opdyke whose sense of simplicity, proportion and fitness leads him to results as happy as those which are obtained in more expensive books by means of rich elaboration.

As a whole the permanent exhibition of the Society of Arts and Crafts justifies its resolution to offer only such products as are "the results of healthy and ennobling labor."

Source: The Boston Society of Arts & Crafts. The Craftsman, 1902.


Inspiring Reform: Boston's Arts and Crafts Movement
Architecture and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard's H. Langford Warren
Arts & Crafts Ideals: Wisdom from the Arts & Crafts Movement in America

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