Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters are familiar subjects for many American Arts & Crafts enthusiasts. The various printed items, metal pieces, furniture, tooled leather objects and other handicrafts produced at the East Aurora, New York artistic enclave have been the subject of a host of books, exhibits and studies over the years. Yet, one area that has received scant attention is the topic of graphic design and the important role it played making the Roycroft experiment a success. A new book by Lawrence Kreisman and published by Pomegranate titled Dard Hunter: The Graphic Works seeks to shine a spotlight on the life and work of the finest graphic designer to come out of the Roycrofters. More after the jump...
The Pleasant Home Foundation recently announced their free lecture series titled "Inside the Arts & Crafts Home". This year's series is sponsored by the John Toomey Gallery and will begin February 23, 2012 at the Oak Park Public Library. To see the list of lectures and find out more, follow the link.
Image via The Pleasant Home Foundation
I came across Whether Bags a few weekends ago at Chicago's Randolph Street Antique Market and thought they looked simple, Mod and well-crafted. Turns out that what's especially great about the bags is that they are constructed from sustainable materials and each one is crafted locally in Chicago, IL (with all of the materials sourced and purchased within the USA). Check out more info here and shop online here.
Image via whetherbags.myshopify.com
Heartland House Designs, creators of officially licensed cross stitch kits based on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, have released two new designs crafty PrairieMod readers should enjoy. One kit features an Ennis House Concrete Textile Block and the other is based on Wright's Organic Commandments. Check out Heartland House Designs website for more info on these and more kits.
Image via Heartland House Designs
Over the weekend, a couple of PrairieMod Squad members had a chance to see a stunning example of one of Edgar Miller's handmade homes. Portoluz, a Chicago-based non-profit dedicated to preserving the city's progressive cultural identity, hosted a lecture by craftsman Larry Zgoda which took place in the original Edgar Miller-designed Sol Kogen Studio located in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. We had a chance to explore this magical home afterwards to everyone's delight. Take a virtual photo tour of some of the things we saw after the jump...
Crafted Systems by Aurelie Tu produces some of the most unique home decor items I've seen in awhile. Handmade from interlocking pieces of felt, the beautiful textural vases, rugs, table runners and more will definitely dress up a home in PrairieMod style. Check out all of the options and wares here.
Image via crafted-systems.com
Here's something a little different for the PrairieMod etsy store. I'm trying my hand at creating some unique collectibles for lovers of progressive design. My first offering is the "PrairieMod Pooch" which is a laser-cut wood and hand painted doggie inspired by the graphic art of Margaret Iannelli. Find out the details here.
Image via PrairieMod
If you're in Chicago and looking for something to do, then check out the 6th Annual Arts & Crafts Chicago Show in River Forest, IL. The event takes place May 14-15, 2011 and admission is $7. Get all the details here.
Image via eastwoodgallery.com
Call it a comeback! Fair Oak Workshops recently announced the acquisition of the popular Helen Foster line of Arts & Crafts revival stencil designs. Check out all of the designs and order your favorites here.
Image via fairoak.com
Here's an article about woodshop students at Michigan's Lakeview High School creating "Lincoln Logs" from scratch, packaging them and selling them in the community as a fundraiser. John Lloyd Wright (Frank's son and the inventor of Lincoln Logs) would probably be pleased that his simple building toy is inspiring America's youth to earn some money for their education. Hasbro—present owner of the "Lincoln Logs" trademark—probably not so much. Read more here.
Image via incredibleart.org
Our friends at Fair Oak Workshops sent us word of a very special way to support the relief effort for the people of Japan hit by the recent devestating earthquake and tsunami. Yoshiko Yamamoto of the Arts & Crafts Press is offering a very special block print to raise funds for the relief effort. Read more after the jump...
Thanks to PrairieMod reader Larry Z. for letting us know that the T. C. Steele State Historic Site in Brown County, Indiana,is hosting an new exhibit now through March 30, 2012 titled "Arts & Crafts Moments: Simplicity in Design."
The T.C. Steele home, garden and art studio is famous for its rich history, picturesque surrounds and unique artistic and intellectual atmosphere, just west of Nashville, Indiana in the heart of artistic Brown County. Get more details here.
Image via www.indianamuseum.org/sites/tcstspec.html
This year's Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Conference will begin February 18, 2011 in Asheville, NC. It's always filled with great lectures and lots of Arts & Crafts-related vendors and dealers. Any PrairieMod readers going this year? if so, drop us a line, tell us if there was any cool Prairie School stuff there, share some photos and let us know how it was! Details here.
Image via arts-craftsconference.com
The group behind the recent effort to save the Iannelli Studios in Park Ridge, Illinois has a connection to a rich artistic heritage itself. The Kalo Foundation of Park Ridge was established in 2006 as a nonprofit organization and dedicated itself to preserving the rich artistic legacy of the city through education, advocacy, and preservation, as well as promoting the arts & crafts as an integral part of our modern lives.
The name derives itself from The Kalo Arts Crafts Community, an early 20th century Arts & Crafts colony located at 322 Grant Place in Park Ridge. Established as a “school within a workshop,” the facility trained men and women artisans, while producing hand wrought sterling silver, metalware, jewelry and craft items that were sold in the Kalo Shop.
Find out more about Kalo, its history, current programs and preservation efforts here.
Images via chicagosilver.com
There's been a lot of excitement generated this week by the effort to save the Iannelli Studios in Park Ridge, Illinois. However, not many people have heard of Alfonso Iannelli, let alone know the depth and breadth of the Iannelli Studios work. One example of the Iannelli Studios work turning-up where you'd least expect it: The Adler Planetarium in Chicago. The Iannelli Studios was responsible for creating the 12 signs of the Zodiac as bronze plaques for the 1930s building (the photos of which you see at left can be purchased here). Additionally, the 8 known planets were depicted in sculptured relief as well for the lobby, encircling a statement for the building. Make plans to visit the Adler Planetarium the next time you're in Chicago to see these beautiful artistic marvels for yourself!
A recent trip to Brookfield Zoo helped remind me of all the progressive 1930s WPA artwork associated with the zoological park. Their Discovery Center building lobby features several unique items and informational boards describing the art and artists' work of the era. Here's a link to a great poster for the zoo by Paul Kreger that is now part of the WPA Art Collection at the Illinois State Museum. See it here. Does anyone else have any cool 1930s items from the Brookfield Zoo featuring progressive artwork? Send us a scan and we'll be sure to share.
Image via museum.state.il.us
You wouldn't know there were hard economic times going on by Sotheby's most recent auction results. Their December 14, 2010 20th Century Design sale netted in excess of $19 million, including $314,500 for a rare "Calla Lily" Teco vase—a new auction record for the Prairie School pottery. Read more here.
Image via Sotheby's website
Artist David Hockney's new exhibit in Paris displays work not made with paint, canvas, paper, pencils or pastels. In fact it's not made from anything but light and was completely emailed to the gallery. Check out this NPR story of Hockney's unique digital paintings created on his iPhone and iPad.
Image copyright David Hockney
Heath Ceramics, known for their iconic modern dinnerware, is now offering the perfect glassware to go with it. Check out "Heath Glass," handblown in an 80-year-old glassmaking factory in West Virginia. Every piece is touched by no less than ten glass-workers, each of whom is committed to preserving the craft of American handblown glass. Get all the details here.
Image via Heath Ceramics
I continued to be surprised at the ever increasing intersections that occur between history, culture and politics and Frank Lloyd Wright. Case in point: I did not know that the pioneering American Minimalist sculptor, Tony Smith, studied at Taliesin for a time to be an Organic Architect. A new exhibit of Tony Smith's drawings that "encapsulate a dramatic turning point in Smith’s artistic career, as he shifted from his professional architectural work towards painting and sculpture" will go on display at Houston's The Menil Collection this month. Read more here.
Image via www.ryman.org
Heard a story on NPR this morning about the news that a French electrician recently revealed that he had 271 never-before-seen works of art by iconic painter Pablo Picasso, worth nearly $80 million,in his garage. Not surprisingly, the legitimacy of how he came to own them is being called into question. Litigation soon followed. Read more about it here.
A PrairieMod reader sent a great link to a unique origami crane ornament for your table or tree made from decorative paper. I especially like the "Saguaro Forms" version. Check more out here.
Image via etsy.com "localcolorist" shop
130 years ago, Maria Longworth Nichols fired the first pieces of pottery that would eventually become the famed Arts & Crafts era Rookwood Pottery. On this Thanksgiving Day, Rookwood president and CEO, Christopher Rose, will celebrate the rejuvenation of the company by pulling new pieces from the kiln 130 years to the day. Read more about it here.
Image via news.cincinnati.com
Here's a link to an article disucssing the new exhibit all about Arts & Crafts Era giant, Gustav Stickley, at the Newark Museum. Read it here.
Image via the Dallas Museum of Art
Here's a link to an article at globegazette.com about Newman Catholic High School art teacher Patty Ohl's classroom project where students learn about the world of Frank Lloyd Wright and then create paintings of their own homes, inspired by Wright’s techniques. Read more here.
ODO (Organic Design Operatives) recently announced the launch of their Arrowroot Collection of furniture and home decor. Inspired by nature and the American Prairie School of design, this unique collection of home furnishings goes beyond the typical historical reproductions of the classics. Each piece is an original design created by ODO using the same organic design principles pioneered by Prairie School masters like Frank Lloyd Wright, Purcell & Elmslie and George Mann Niedecken. Check out the entire collection here.
Image copyright ODO
Chicago-based designer and craftsman, Randall Kramer was nice enough to share a new piece that he just delivered to a Modern Chicago high-rise building. Randall explains:
"The Interior Design firm of Handman Associates were the genesis of this design and I made it. I really like how the hammered texture of the tapered angle iron legs appear with the black patina and the coating of the matte sealer. The custom cabinet handles were fabricated the same manner."
The piece is truly beautiful, embodying a Modern nod to both the Arts & Crafts and Art Deco era. Check out Randall's other work here.
Images copyright Randall Kramer
I recently came across the work of designers Shay Ometz and Jeff Barfoot at their Etsy.com shop called "Bee Things." The dynamic duo create bright and fun silkscreen prints of Mod birds, animals and veggies. I especially like their creative approach to dressing-up the common brown lunch bag. Check out their store here.
Image via beethings
If you are good with an X-Acto knife and glue and love architecture than check out Paper Landmarks and start building your own collection of cut-and-paste wonders. Check out all the paper buildings here.
Image via paperlandmarks.com
I recently heard from a college friend of mine, Michael Wille, who now teaches at Illinois State University in Normal, IL. I cruised over to his website to check out his recent work and was loving his abstract and engaging geometric paintings. I can imagine what a show of his abstract work would look like at the Price Tower Arts Center or some other appropriate venue. Check out more of Mike's paintings here.
Image copyright Michael Wille