Class Title


7 Sessions   |   Saturdays, April 4, 11, 18, 25, and May 2, 9 and 16, 2020   |   $25/session
An online course
 presented by The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. 
with Instructor Dr. Jonathan Clancy, Director of Collections and Preservation


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Join instructor Dr. Jonathan Clancy as he examines the rise of the Arts and Crafts movement in England and the United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before delving into material-specific sessions that will familiarize participants with major figures in furniture, metalwork, and ceramics.


This course is for design and decorative arts enthusiasts, collectors, and anyone with an interest in Arts and Crafts style and ideals. Newcomers, casual fans and long-time aficionados are all welcome!


Course Philosophy

On the back of his 1902 catalog Things Wrought by the United Crafts at Eastwood New York, Gustave Stickley proclaimed his allegiance to the ideals of William Morris by printing the following quote: "Simplicity is the one thing needful in furnishing, of that I am certain." Like Stickley himself, many at the turn of the twentieth thought the idea of simplicity–a philosophy integral to the Arts and Crafts movement–could provide a means by which to keep the bustling and frantic pace of the modern world at bay, and to preserve core values of humanity in a rapidly industrializing society.



Dr. Jonathan Clancy is the Director of Collections and Preservation at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. An author, educator, and curator Clancy received his doctorate in art history in 2008 from the Graduate Center. Formerly Director of the MA in American Fine and Decorative Arts program at Sotheby's, he left in 2017 to form an advisory group. As an independent consultant, he has worked with private clients and institutions on collection management, exhibition planning, label writing and research, and valuation. 

Meet the Instructor [ Watch the Video ]



1. Introduction

The "Simple Life" Explained: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Context

In hindsight, the simple life was a somewhat complicated proposition that required a mixture of lifestyle choices, philosophies, and furnishings to fully embrace. This lecture tracks the rise of the Arts and Crafts movement in England in the mid-nineteenth century to its subsequent embrace as an American movement. Although indebted to the English precedent that helped shaped the aesthetic direction of the Arts and Crafts, we will also explore how Americans were uniquely primed for its reception, through social experiments like the utopian community Brook Farm, to the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, and Walt Whitman amongst others. Using this lens, participants will learn to explore how these objects and their reception were shaped by these ideals, to think about the ways in which furniture, ceramics, and even architecture embody the cultural context of their time and deserve a careful and thorough reading. NewFurniture Catalogue_1900 



2. Pottery

"In Defence of Fire": The Pottery of the Arts and Crafts Movement

This lecture explores the rise of Art Pottery in the United States, from its beginnings even before the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876 to its full articulation as a product of the Arts and Crafts movement that embraced the notions of quietude and simplicity. Made by individual makers, large firms, and small workshops, the pottery of the Arts and Crafts movement displayed a diverse approach to the ideals of simplicity, handicraft, and individualism that reflected the broader tensions within the movement and larger society. The wares they made remind us that–much like today–there is no single solution to life's problems, but that the joy in overcoming the issues we face in modern life are expressed in myriad ways. New Grueby Vase Web Resolution JPEG



3. Metalwork

"By Hammer and Hand": Arts and Crafts Metalwork

Hammered into the living room fireplace hood at Gustav Stickley's Log House at Craftsman Farms, the motto: "By Hammer and Hand Do All Things Stand" is a reminder of the importance of handicraft in the Arts and Crafts movement. That phrase–a rough approximation of the Blacksmith's Guild in London's motto–drew attention to the importance of metalwork in the home, the laborers who made these objects, and the main aesthetic (the hammered treatment of the surface) that many in this movement engaged. Surveying the metalwork of Stickley, the Roycrofters, Dirk Van Erp, and others, participants will begin to understand the regional variations within the movement and different approaches to the medium that practitioners applied. Metalwork

4. Furniture

"Something to Foster Rugged Independence": Furniture of the Arts and Crafts Movement

Writing in The Craftsman in October 1902, Samuel Howe described "the severe furniture" made by the United Crafts as "something to foster rugged independence and masterful resolution, and to exhibit a resourcefulness greatly needed in these times." This class examines the different ways that furniture makers and the forms they produced met the ideals of the movement and catered to the needs of modern consumers. In examining the works of Gustav Stickley, The Roycrofters, Byrdcliffe, Charles Rohlfs, and others, we better see a diversity of aesthetic approaches to the movement as well as different economic concerns of the makers. SMCF Chair Exhibit0465 JPEG sRGB




5. Lighting

"A Feeling of Simplicity and Unstudied Freedom": Lighting the Arts and Crafts Home

"There is no question," The Craftsman informed readers, "that of all the methods of lighting a house, electricity affords the greatest scope for decorative treatment, both in the arrangement of the lights themselves and in their effect upon the entire scheme of decoration." This class provides an overview of the major makers of Arts and Crafts lighting–from Stickley, to Roycroft, to Van Erp and others–who succeeded in what providing homes with what Stickley called "a feeling of simplicity and unstudied freedom." 10-12-11 Living Room Print WEB RFS7650




6. Gustav Stickley Furniture

"Bold, Clear, and Distinguished": A Closer Look at the Furniture of Gustav Stickley

Describing the furniture of Stickley’s United Crafts in The Craftsman in October 1902, Samuel Howe described it as “bold, clear, and distinguished,” finding in it “a breezy independence, a sturdy human decency.” This class provides a closer look at Stickley’s furniture, focusing on his work between 1898 to his bankruptcy in 1917. More than simply a survey of Stickley’s work, this class also features new research that forces us to reconsider the names and dates presently associated with many of these objects.





7. Textiles and Accessories 

"The New Feeling for Form and Color": Textiles and Accessories in the Craftsman Home

Throughout the magazine’s history, Stickley used The Craftsman to demonstrate how textiles, floor coverings, and baskets could be used to bring a sense of warmth and cohesiveness to the interiors his firm designed and promoted. If the grammar of his Arts and Crafts furniture tended towards the rectilinear and plain, it was the accessories of the home that helped to enliven the space and broaden that language to bring include the natural world, Native American designs, and bright color in that environment. It was, as The Craftsman noted, “the new feeling for form and color” that tied together and completed the home.






Did you miss the live program?


You can still enjoy "Living the Simple Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement at Home" by purchasing recordings of the past live sessions. 


Each live session was recorded. And the recordings are made available to all paid participants. Even if you missed the live session, access to the recordings can be yours with a donation of $25 per session. Please include the email address where we should send the link to the recording. 


Select Individual Session Recordings, $25:

1. Introduction:
Recorded 4/4/20
2. Pottery:
Recorded 4/11/20
3. Metalwork:
Recorded 4/18/20
4. Furniture:
Recorded 4/25/20
5. Lighting:
Recorded 5/2/20
6. Gustav Stickley Furniture:
Recorded 5/9/20
7. Textiles & Accessories:
Recorded 5/16/20




Get the whole series:

Living the Simple Life - Complete Series Recordings (7)







Course fees support the operations of the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, a National Historic Landmark in Parsippany, New Jersey. For more than thirty years, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms has been dedicated to sharing the life and legacy of Gustav Stickley and to preserving Craftsman Farms, his beloved "Garden of Eden." 



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07 August 2020



Covid-19 and Extension of Temporary Closure

June 16, 2020

The museum and its grounds will remain temporarily closed as work continues on the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms' new Education Center. In the coming weeks, please watch for more news about this ongoing project and COVID-19 updates.


Read More



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