Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts 

Arts & Crafts jewellery 

Many ideals of the Art Nouveau movement were also shared by Arts and Crafts jewelers

in Britain, Northern Europe, and the I nited States. Both artistic movements had strong roots in mid-19th century Britain, and two leading British cultural figures of the day—the art critic John Ruskin and the designer and philosopher William Morris—articulated in print the dissatisfaction of many artists and craftsmen with industrialization and the shoddy goods it produced.

Arts & Crafts jewellery 

 Ruskin and Morris romanticized the medieval handicraft guilds, believing that these collectives maintained standards of workmanship and encouraged creativity among their members. They urged artists and designers to embrace their idealized pre-industrial vision and many took up the cause.

Made by hand

Just like Art Nouveau jewelers, Arts and Crafts jewelers produced finely wrought pieces, and their work featured similar undulating and entwined lines. Humbler materials like silver and enamel appealed to them more than costly rarities such as gold and emeralds. They were also drawn to the same enigmatic imagery as Art Nouveau jewelers—wistful maidens, Viking sailing ships, peacocks and their feathers.

Arts and Crafts jewelers such as C. R. Ashbee, Frank Gardner Hale, and Edward Everett Oakes differed from their Art Nouveau counterparts in that they emphatically stressed the fact that their pieces were entirely crafted by hand. For example, they deliberately left hammer marks on silver surfaces and produced grainy images in matt enamel in order to display the honesty and integrity of their work in these materials. 

Silver was the Arts and Crafts jewelers' metal of choice. They also liked using irregularly shaped pearls as well as simple cabochon-cut stones such as amethysts, moonstones, and opals which were placed in plain settings.

Arts & Crafts jewellery 

Arts and Crafts jewelers looked to Northern Europe's distant heritage for inspiration: the knotted patterns of Celtic goldsmiths and silversmiths in particular had a huge impact on their designs.

 Another major source of inspiration was jewelry from the Middle Ages, such as enamel figurative pendants. In contrast to the extreme sophistication of Art Nouvcau jewelry designs, Arts and Crafts pieces tend to be simpler, lighter, and more naive. On the whole, they lack Art Nouveau jewelry's darkly sensuous qualities.

Although Arts and Crafts jewelry was made from inexpensive materials, the skill and artistry that went into these handcrafted pieces still put them out of many people's reach. However, several leading retailers and silver manufacturers of the day quickly recognized that the fresh simplicity of Arts and Crafts designs had wider appeal..

Arts & Crafts jewellery 

Liberty & Go.

Liberty's department store in London had been famous for importing exotic Oriental goods since the 1870s. By the end of the 19th century, the store was also commissioning stylish products with artistic merit from British dcsigncis and manufacturers.

A number of leading Arts and Crafts jewelers, including Jessie M. King and Arthur and Cieorgina Gaskin, created designs for Liberty. Although these pieces were produced using industrial technology by companies such as W. H. Haseler & Co. in Birmingham, they offered desirable Art and Crafts quality and looks without the expensive price.

 Archibald Knox was probably the best known of all the jewelers and silversmiths designing for Liberty. Drawing on his roots in the Isle of Man, he produced pins, buckles, and pendants with a strong Celtic flavor. His designs often feature a distinct whiplash motif and muted-colored enamels. Liberty's jewelry in the Arts and Crafts style proved such a success that the pieces were cheaply imitated for the mass market.

Arts & Crafts jewellery 

Murrle Bennett & Go.

Another London-based business to take note of the Arts and Crafts look was Murrle Bennett & Co., owned by German jeweler Ernst Murrle. The company's jewelry was similar to Liberty's and was also available in the upmarket department store.

 Typical Murrle necklaces, pins, and pendants had gold or silver mounts and were set with blister pearls or turquoises. Like Liberty and Co., Ernst Miirrlc had designs made to his specifications by industrial manufacturers who could be relied upon for quality, such as Theodor Fahrner in Pforzheim, Germany.

The Arts and Crafts design aesthetic was also successfully combined w ith industrial manufacturing techniques by the Kalo Shop in the I'nitcd States. Clara Barack (later Barack Welles) founded the Chicago-based firm in 1900 and named it after the Greek word for beauty.

Arts & Crafts jewellery 

 She and her all-female design team (known as "Kalo girls") initially offered a variety of decorative items, but switched exclusiv ely to copper and silver goods after Clara married amateur silversmith George Welles in 1905.

Barack hired Scandinavian metalworkers, under whose influence the jewelry soon developed an Arts and Crafts flavor. Stylized, geometric shapes and naturalistic forms, such as blossoms, oak and vine leaves, and acorns, were common. Many were embellished with semi-precious stones, and share a hammered surface with the work of C. R. Ashbee.

A number of notable Chicago jewelers and silversmiths such as Julius Randhal, Grant Wood, Matthias Hanack, and Emery Todd are associated with the Kalo Shop, which closed in 1970.

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