Working Together: Our First Project

If you flipped through the flimsy catalog for the first Arts & Crafts Conference held at the Grove Park Inn back in 1988, it would make you smile. There were no Small Group Discussions, no exhibits in the Great Hall, no walking tours, no book club, no demonstrations, just a handful of antiques dealers and only two contemporary craftsfirms.

But after that and each successive conference I would read your suggestions and add another layer, another feature for the following February. Had I attempted to do everything that first year which we now do at the Grove Park Inn, it would have sunk under its own weight.

Arts and Crafts is no different.

Although we probably give them more credit than they would feel comfortable accepting, neither William Morris nor Gustav Stickley single-handedly started the Arts & Crafts movement. They each had ideas for a new style of home furnishings, but they were not alone, and they relied on the growing number of Arts & Crafts enthusiasts not just to read what they wrote, but to respond.

As much as he complained about it, Gustav Stickley needed to have his brothers, along with the Roycrofters and a dozen other firms, making, selling and advertising Arts & Crafts furniture, for one person could not have reached – or satisfied – a entire national audience.

The same holds true for Arts and Crafts

My vision for what it can become – an interactive encyclopedia and link to everything, old and new, that defines the Arts & Crafts style – could never be achieved by one person. When I first approached Dan Kellem, my web designer, about this site, I used the analogy of first building a small, sturdy, efficient house, then adding on room after room after room.

I was an English teacher even before I was an Arts & Crafts collector, so I always start with The Books. I have always believed (and am ready to stand corrected) that John Crosby Freeman wrote the first modern book on the Arts & Crafts movement. Entitled “Gustav Stickley: The Forgotten Rebel” it was published in 1966. Since then there have been hundreds of additional books written on the Arts & Crafts movement, but I certainly don’t have or even know all of them.

So, I need your help. Together I would like for us to compile a list of every book ever written about the Arts & Crafts movement here at All you have to do is to pull some books off your bookshelf (go for the less obvious ones – and check our current list under REFERENCE LIBRARY) and email me the title, author, publisher and copyright date. I will sort them by category and list them here on, so that anytime you or anyone else wants to research anything relating to the Arts & Crafts movement, you will know exactly what books are out there to assist you.

For the time being we’ll omit those books written during the original Arts & Crafts era and articles that have appeared in our present-day Arts & Crafts magazines. Hopefully, the articles have already been catalogued. I’m sure their staffs will help us out with a direct link to their lists.

So, grab a book and send me an email. And watch our list of books grow in our Reference Library.

Coming up on our To-Do list: a complete directory of shopmarks, known and unknown.

Hope to see you at the GPI for our 23rd Arts & Crafts three-day (and night!) celebration!

Bruce Johnson