Arts and Crafts Furniture

In the local antiques store, furniture catalogs, big-name designer stores, or at value outlets, a trend can be seen in the recent popularity of Arts and Crafts furniture. The furniture is available in many forms from inexpensive copy to quality reproductions, or true period pieces. The originals are very well built and stand the test of time, with an appearance that is beautiful but subtle. America inherited the original style from the British in the late 1800s and it was modified to incorporate the materials found in America and the American style.

While many were making parts to be assembled by machine, a few artisans continued to work in the traditional ways. Sometimes called either Mission or Craftsman style, Arts and Crafts furniture was the result. When the style came to America, however, a few ingenious designers found ways to incorporate the design into machine-made pieces. The resulting product was of good quality, beautiful, and most importantly, less expensive.

The typical design of a piece of Arts and Crafts furniture is relatively simple. The most popular wood for production was white oak, a very strong wood with a unique and beautiful grain pattern. This wood was assembled with exposed tenons, indicative of the furniture’s utilitarian nature and style. Some joints were reinforced with simple wood brackets, and parallel slats were used as backrests in many pieces. Stained glass would sometimes be used in doors and the hardware would be functional, but basic in design.

Antique buyers often keep an eye out for original Arts and Crafts furniture pieces, because in today’s auctions they often command a respectful price. Even some of the older reproductions, when sold at auction, can net a decent amount of money. It is a sign that the era of Arts and Crafts furniture is not over, and will be a favorite style of many Americans for years to come.

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