· After reading Chapter 4, reflect on the Arts & Crafts movement of the 19th & 20th centuries. William Morris, the leader of this movement, wrote and lectured extensively about his concerns for the future of art and aesthetics. In reference to the affect of technology and factories on material culture in England and America, Morris said that the world grew “uglier” day by day. Discuss the following:
· Do you think Morris’ fears have come true? Explain in clear detail.
· Consider the appearance of most of your everyday items: furniture, dishes, clothing. How much of it was mass produced (by a factory)? How much was made by an individual craftsman/woman?
I most certainly agree with Morris' assertion. While mass production has allowed people in the middle and lower class (me) to raise their (my) standard of living it has also mass produced and normalized a certain aesthetic that is void of uniqueness.
Throughout my childhood my mother collected antiques. At first her favorite style was Early American but this shifted as she and my dad began to collect older and older pieces of furniture and collectibles, finally becoming collectors of primitives. These are handcrafted pieces of furniture. The bed I slept on through my teen years was a hand-made rope bed...instead of a box spring the mattress was held by rope stung across pegs on the sides of the bed frame.
This is one of the reason's I've always liked to make my own clothing. I like thinking that I'm the only one in the world wearing my particular sweater, hat, scarf or pair of socks. I may follow a pattern that others have made but something about my knitting will make is unique to me...either the yarn I chose or the way I decide to finish the sleeves. Rarely do I knit a piece exactly as the pattern is written. I have designed one or two pieces which makes them truly unique - hopefully I'll do more in the future.
In terms of my own home, I would say that 90% of what's in it is mass produced. I would like that number to be far less but the (justified) cost of handcrafted items makes that prohibitive for me right now.
I told someone this past week that if I were independently wealthy I would be an AWESOME arts patron!