With out igniting a huge debate that is better suited for a complete blog series that would explore the history of the many styles of furniture we see here on lumberjacks, I will attempt to answer in the shortest and simplest way I can, your question.
3.” what is “Arts & Craft” as opposed to…. any other style mentioned on here (Yes, I admit it, I have no decorating style info in my brain”
This really began in the 1860’s in England. It came from the ideas of philosopher John Ruskin and a designer and poet named William Morris. These men were considered to be very influential thinkers during the medieval times. They believed that society would benefit from a economic return in which workers were valued, for there great skills as craftsman. They believed that high quality natural materials combined with meticulous detail, high standards and uncompromising values were to be held in high esteem. Pride of workmanship and a sense of accomplishment, along with the use of ones hands and good design, were of great social value that came with well made goods.
This movement called the Arts and Crafts movement mostly rejected the coming of age of the machine, to perform the tasks that hand tools did previously.
The notable exception to this was an Englishman named Christopher Dresser. He believed that machines were good when they were used to relieve the drudgery and painful slow steps involved in only the use of hand tools. However, he believed that machines could and should be used when the rest of the work was done with love with the use of ones hands.
It was only the rich that could afford the completely hand made pieces. The middle class were mostly excluded because of this until the machine combined with the hand work made it possible to afford the various pieces of furniture. In essence it became the start of the marriage of modern tools and hand work we see today in fine furniture building.
The name mission furniture was coined by a New York furniture manufacture and retailer named Joseph McHugh. He named this rustic style furniture that had straight simple lines and used slats and distinctive other design tendencies that became known later as mission furniture. The blending of both this mission style and what was already known as Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, became more refined later with the likes of Gus Stickley, Hubbard, Frank Lloyd Write and many others.
Stained glass was very profound influence and was widely used amongst the crafts people to win favor of the rich and royalty that lead to life time commissions. This enabled them to practice there crafts threw out there life.
I have gone way beyond what I am sure you wanted for a answer. Please forgive me because when I was doing my apprenticeship under a master stain glass craftsman, knowing the history of the period was not only required, it was essential so you could do authentic repairs for that period, but to incorporate it into your modern day designs with out compromising the history.
My instructor was and is a stickler for the history.
If I thought anyone was interested for a minute in the history and Martin wouldn’t kick me out of lumberjacks I would do a blog series on the history of all the furniture and include several pieces of stain glass that I have did and others that incorporate woodworking.
Thank you for asking the question.