pieces. Thi'- is in ihe tradition of the Arts and Crafts movement, which was as robust in ceramics, glass, fiber and metal-work as in furnitur

Handmade decorative copper, brass and iron hardware are hallmarks of die Aits and C raits stvlc, and I make use of them frequently. But so are leaded glass, ceramic tiles, leather and inlaid metal or wood. All tl ■ inatt n lis strengthi n the link iht original Arts and Crafts furniture, but they're also a pleasure to use for their own sake. And I enjoy the contact thev bring with people working in other crafts.

The Influence of Architecture

I pay nearly as much attention to the architecture of the Arts and Crafts era as the furniture. Art*, and Crafts designers were particularly deliberate about linking the two. but the same correspondence is found m ilniost ill eras.

My large writing desk was directly inspired b) buildings. I had seen a side view of Irank Llovd Wright's Robu House, ind

INSPIRED BY ARCHITECTURE. The mood and detailing of buildings offer fruitful ideas for furniture. H. H. Richardson's Crane Library (above) inspired Rodel with its powerful presence. Rodel tried to give his desk (below) a similar rootedness with a series of arched forms at the bottom.

I often enrich the vertical surfaces of a piece with offsets, shadow lines md piercing to break up broad expanses and to generate a sense of depth. Where vertical and horizontal members meet. I almost always use a shoulder or setback. Breaking up a surface this way creates texture, something more for the eve to explore. To achieve another level of texture, I often incorporate materials from-othir crafts in

arts and crafts reborn ■ 21

I loved the strong horizontal lines of the roof and the terrace and the way the narrow. vertical windows and intervening millions formed another strong horizontal band. It struck me as a perfect blend of line and proportion. I was inspired, too, by Wright's Ward Willets house. On the facade of that building I saw a motif of square forms over rectangular ones Hanked by broad, vertical piers, which I adopted for my desk. With Wright, although I may derive some detailing from his furniture. I find more ideas in his architecture.

The writing desk is also indebted to the beautiful Romanesque buildings of American architect h. h. Richardson. Although Richardson died in 1886 just as the Arts and Crafts movement was dawning. I find that his massive masonry buildings are quite compatible with the style. The connection isn't in the motifs and details, but in the shared underlying virtues: weight, strength, repose and a nod toward medieval guild craftsmanship.

I've also adopted architectural ideas in a more explicit manner Sometimes I'll design detailing for a piece of furniture that gives it the feeling of a miniature building. On one glass-front bookcase see the bottom photo this page I saw something architectural in the way the posts, back and sides extended above the top. So I added some lines and squares of inlay, giving the piece a castle-1 ike look that solidified the connection.

Finding the Exotic in Arts and Crafts

My small table photo above right employs exposed joinery, solid rectilinear forms, and plain native wood. All are basic elements of Arts and Crafts design. But without straying very far. the table also shows how the idiom can be used to express and interpret other ideas.

After making a plainer version. I modified the design to evoke a mood of Moorish architecture. It took just a couple of strokes. First I made a curved cut into rhi' underside of each cross-stretcher. When these members were assembled, the curves intersected at 9(> and created pointed, Moorish arcing. I scooped out the bottom of each leg so a very small arch was visible on each face. All these ttny arches around a main central arch were meant to echo the symmetry and clustered arches of a Moorish mosque.

To further suggest this mood. I cut stopped coves elongated arches into the bottom edgi ->1 the table top. And I added a line inlay around the top. Together, the inlay and the arches create a miniature architectural cornice that I hoped would balance the details in the base and give a slightly exotic flavor to a simple design.

Tranquil Furniture

One of the fundamental principles of the Arts and Crafts movement is that architecture should not intrude upon the landscape, but be part of it. i've tried to apply the same axiom to furniture, working to design pieces that don't stand out, but become part of the interior landscape. I would prefer that someone entering a room I'd furnished not notice anv individual pieces, but instead feel a sense of welcome and tranquility.

FORTIFIED BOOKCASE. Inlaid lines and squares create a scene of miniature battlements surmounting this bookcase.

arts and crafts reborn ■ 21

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