An Arts & Crafts History Alive in Texas and a Summer Trip with Craftsman Farms

by Kate Nixon


The Arts & Crafts Movement is alive in Texas — at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas. “The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts & Crafts Movement in Britain and America” — a current exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center Galleries on the grounds of the University of Texas at Austin — features more than 200 items including books, drawings, furniture, decorative arts objects, photographs, and flyers, broadsides and advertising documents that offer a new and detailed look at the history of the Arts and Crafts movement.

The exhibit also features special events this spring — this Wednesday, March 27th will feature a lecture by Wendy Kaplan, curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, entitled “What can a woman do? Women in the Arts and Crafts Movement” focused on the history of women’s leadership and participation in the movement. Next month on April 27th, Preservation Austin will hold a historic homes tour of the area’s Craftsman style homes.

Items on display from the Ransom Center’s collections will include hand-drawn designs and sketches by Ruskin and Morris, a first edition copy of Owen Jones’s Grammar of Ornament, books and marketing materials of the Kelmscott and Roycroft presses, stained glass designs by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, and plates from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wasmuth portfolio. These items will be paired with photographs, furniture, and decorative arts objects from the University’s Alexander Architectural Archives, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and private collections.

For more information on the exhibit as well as its special events, head to the exhibit’s page on the Harry Ransom Center’s website


In other news, if you’re looking for a summer getaway for some R&R along with some A&C, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms may have what you’re looking for. The Stickley Museum’s “Farms Afield” program offers the chance for participants to visit exciting destinations with an Arts & Crafts spin – and the 2019 selection will see collectors and enthusiasts in New York’s Hudson Valley. To tell you more, we’re turning things over to the executive department of the famed Gustav Stickley museum.


From the desk of Executive Director Vonda Givens…

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms’s “Farms Afield” trips have taken us to the west coast—to explore the Bay areas’s awe-inspiring Arts and Crafts history and architecture in 2018—and the mid-west—where we witnessed Michigan’s Arts and Crafts abundance in 2017. This year we will be on the east coast and closer to home with a trip, from July 9 to 12, to the legendary Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, just 80 miles north of Craftsman Farms. Focused a bit more on relaxation and time to unwind, this trip was introduced in February, but we are pleased to announce a new addition to the itinerary: a visit to the workshop of a master artisan, furniture maker Michael Puryear. Read on for more details about this Member Exclusive trip and remember to register by March 31 for a $50 discount.


The view from Mohonk Mountain House. Image courtesy of Vonda Givens.


Mohonk Mountain House, located in the beautiful Hudson Valley, is a family-owned and operated Victorian Resort that has welcomed guests to their “castle on the lake” since 1869. During our stay, we’ll enjoy the fresh air, relaxing in the company of old and new Arts and Crafts friends, and experience the ease of an all-meals-included summer retreat.


Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Image Courtesy of Vonda Givens.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner will feature plentiful and superior options for every taste and diet and take place in the Main Dining Room overlooking the Catskill Mountains. Our trip will include ample time for exploring the 280-acre National Historic Landmark, Mohonk Mountain House, but plans are also in the works for VIP-style side trips. These local trips are planned with museum members in mind and include an exclusive visit to a private Arts and Crafts home, with a remarkable collection and exquisite details inside and out.

The trip will feature a customized walking tour of the historic Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, established in 1902 outside Woodstock. Among its founders, it was Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead’s utopian vision, shaped by his time at Oxford as a student of John Ruskin, that most profoundly influenced Byrdcliffe’s development as a community and “brotherhood of artists.” Today, Byrdcliffe’s 250-acre mountainside campus, with 30 original Arts and Crafts-style buildings, continues to be home to a year round and seasonal community of artists.


Byrdcliffe pot in the collection of the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Clancy.


Michael Puryear’s Barrow chair in the collection of the Newark Museum.


We will be treated to a special studio tour with furniture maker Michael Puryear. Puryear, whose furniture is in the collections of the Newark Museum and Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture, is a contemporary furniture maker, but Arts and Crafts fans will recognize a kinship with Stickley in the directness of his designs. As with Stickley, Puryear’s furniture also references a Japanese aesthetic, as he endeavors to “imbue [his] work with shibui, the Japanese term for simple elegance.”

This retreat will begin with a reception before dinner on Tuesday, July 9 and end with lunch on Friday, July 12. It is open only to museum members. To learn more, become a member, and  register, call 973-540-0311 or visit