As Bob Dylan also said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
And the silent Covid winds have been changing our times.
For the past 33 years we have been gathering each February at the historic 1913 Grove Park Inn, an Arts and Crafts resort hotel anchored atop Sunset Mountain overlooking Asheville, North Carolina, where we have celebrated the original Arts and Crafts movement and its recent revival.
What began as a modest Arts and Crafts educational weekend with six seminars, 30 antiques dealers, and 300 attendees has grown steadily over the course of three decades, prompting The New York Times to send down a reporter who characterized it as “the most important weekend of the year for Arts and Crafts collectors.”
While the crowd restrictions necessary for us to have any chance of avoiding the deadly virus until a vaccine has been distributed will prohibit us from meeting at the Grove Park Inn in February, we are not about to concede defeat. Rather than hiring a team of lawyers to fight the virus, we turned to a web designer, gave him our plans for a virtual Arts and Crafts conference, and began filling each day in February with virtual seminars, small group discussions, tours, demonstrations, and informative videos.
Will it be the same as sitting in a Morris chair in front of the twin fireplaces in the cavernous Great Hall? Or shaking hands with dear friends we only get to see once a year at the GPI? Or browsing through the booths of the finest artists, artisans, and antiques dealers culled from across the country?
Of course not.
But it will not signal defeat at the hands of a deadly virus for the revival of interest in the tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement we have all worked to foster, support, and spread. From the safety and sanctuary of our homes, we can continue to learn even more about the founders of the Arts and Crafts movement, to appreciate the men and women who dared break away from fussy Victorian furnishings to create a totally new style of decorative arts, and to enjoy even more the art pottery, textiles, metalware, art work and furniture we do not merely collect, but actually live with every day.
And as we do, we will all look forward to the next February when we can again return to the Grove Park Inn and our cherished Arts and Crafts friends and family, and are again reminded that for us Arts and Crafts is not just a style, it is our lifestyle.
Until next week,
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” – Rachael Zoe