Making Craftsman Furniture Designs
The unique style of craftsman furniture designs are discussed here by Stickley and the plans and drawings are introduced with general background instructions and advice.
¶ In the brief sketch we have already given of furniture making in this country we made the statement that one of the chief elements of interest in Craftsman furniture is the fact that its construction is so simple and direct and so clearly revealed that any one possessing even a rudimentary knowledge of tools and of drawing and some natural skill of hand could easily make for himself many pieces of furniture in this style. Believing this thoroughly, and also realizing fully the interest that cabinetwork holds for most people and the means it affords of developing the constructive and creative faculties, we have given in "The Craftsman" a number of designs solely for the benefit of home workers. For a year or two we published, in connection with these designs, full working drawings and also mill bills for the necessary lumber; but we were forced to abandon that on account of lack of space and to give only the drawings showing the finished pieces, for which the working drawings and mill bills were easily obtainable upon application.
¶ We picture here a number of these designs, most of which are for pieces that are fairly easy to make and that have a definite use as household furnishings. While the designs of course show the exact models of the pieces they represent, we intend them to have also a suggestive value and to stimulate thought and experiment along the lines of designing and making plain substantial furniture. It has been proven beyond question that the most powerful stimulus to well defined constructive thought is found in the direction of the mind to some form of creative work. Therefore if a man or a boy has any aptitude along these lines, it is a foregone conclusion that he will not have made many pieces after given models before he begins to think for himself and to make or modify designs to meet his own demands and to afford an opportunity for working out his own problems. Furthermore, as his experience grows, he will naturally discover new ways of doing things that may be better for him to follow than any of the stereotyped rules. We approve thoroughly of the freedom of spirit that leads to such experimenting, for, although we originated the Craftsman furniture, it is just such interest and work on the part of other people that will ultimately develop it into a national style.
¶ One warning, however, we would like to give to all amateur workers: that is, that ones own whims must no more be followed than the whims of other people. We will find plenty of interest and occupation in making things that are actually needed and plenty of exercise for all our creative power in designing them to fulfil as adequately as possible the purpose for which they are intended. So long as this is done there is no danger of the work degenerating into a fad; instead, it is likely not only to give much pleasure and profit to individuals, but to grow until the whole nation once more reaps the benefit that comes from the intelligent exercise of the creative powers in some interesting form of handicraft.
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