Making Connections: On Line and In Person

Several years ago, it must have been around 1995, a friend recommended that I create a website for the annual Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Conference.

My reply: “Arts & Crafts collectors won’t use websites.”


Two recent experiences continue to illustrate just how important the internet has become for Arts & Crafts collectors.

A few weeks ago Robert Hause ( emailed me photographs of an unsigned Arts & Crafts dropfront desk he had purchased. While his instincts told him it might be an extremely early, experimental Gustav Stickley desk, he had no way of confirming it, so he wrote hoping I might be able to help.

While I agreed with Robert’s instincts, I knew we needed the input of my friend Bill Porter, a longtime Gustav Stickley collector with an encyclopedic memory for design and construction details. Intrigued by Robert’s discovery, Bill began sending photographs and observations to Robert, several of which we have published here at our Show & Tell feature.

While I’ll let you read the details at Show & Tell (scroll down at Show & Tell until you reach Robert’s first letter), the point is this: without the internet this exchange might never have taken place – and if it had, it would only have involved and benefited two collectors.

Regular readers will recall that a few weeks ago we published a story about Yoshiko Yamamoto, a popular block print artist living in the state of Washington with her husband Bruce Smith, publishers of The Arts & Crafts Press. Together they had created and printed a limited edition of a block print of Matsushima Bay, showing what it looked like before it had been ravaged by the tsunami in Japan.

They announced – online – that all proceeds from the sale of the 500 prints would benefit victims of the tsunami.

Because of the power of the internet, Yoshiko and Bruce sold all 500 prints within two days. So many people wanted to both own the print and to help the victims of the tsunami that the couple decided to print another edition. As of this week they have sold more than 1200 of the 1500 prints and have raised more than $40,000 in aid relief.

Without the internet, without websites, there is no way this could have happened.

Yet, I always realize that I first met Bill Porter not online, but at the inaugural Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Conference in 1988 and continue to see him and his wife Pat each year at this event, where we also get to see, meet and talk to Robert Hause and Yoshiko and others who share our excitement over each new discovery — and our passion for all things Arts & Crafts.

Online and in person.

What a remarkable and wonderful combination.

Until next Monday,

Make it a great Arts & Crafts week!

– Bruce

For more information on Yoshiko’s print, click

Next Week – The mysterious traveling coaster.