Friday, May 8, 2009

Inspiration - Arts and Crafts Movement

I'm waiting for the Steampunk Arts and Crafts movement. Although, if we are using Steampunk as a social movement (as opposed to an imaginary future/past) then it already is an arts and crafts movement for our generation, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Arts and Crafts movement was an art movement in the late 1800's which was inspired by the renewed interest in history and folk tradition of the Victorian era, and was arguably a reaction against the industrial revolution.

As the industrial revolution was making mass production possible, and cheaper machine made goods became available, there was a backlash against what many people saw as the lack of craftsmanship an quality in machine made items. The Arts and Crafts movement had a heavy emphasis on the hand crafted, and everything from woven clothe, to furniture to wallpaper was created.

Hand made tile, and printed and bound books, and hand crafted jewelry - all of which were now being mass produced in factories, were all crafted as works of art with emphasis being placed on the crafting process.

Architecture during the period was often inspired by much older styles, and there are a number of gothic looking churches that were built during the Arts and Crafts period. After all, gothic cathedrals were all crafted by hand.

The movement was one of the inspirations for artists of the Art Nouveau period. As well as other later art movements.

In the sense that Steampunk is an imaginary future, in which steam power rules and industry and invention are the height of society, I think its about time for a steampunk Arts and Crafts Movement.

On the other hand, in a way, Steampunk is an Arts and Crafts movement of its very own. In an age where consumerism is a way of life, and 'planned obsolescence' is an industry standard, Steampunk is a movement all about what can be constructed by the individual. Its about what you can create and invent and build yourself rather then purchase, use, and discard. Its an Industrial Arts and Crafts Movement.

(I think I may have just done that thing they tell you to do in high school when constructing a paper, and begun with a summary and ended with a conclusion...I feel as though I should end with something else, just to avoid it. But...I can't think of anything. Alas, I hope at least its something to think about.)


Tom Banwell said...

That's a great thought, and I'm all for it. I am focusing on leather. I'd love to see woodworkers, ceramicists, metalworkers, etc. pushing the steampunk envelope.

FetishGhost said...

I'm 4 months into revisiting an old Alphonse Mucha jag... His designs heavily influenced the directions my work took 15 years ago and now it may be time to play again!

. c h o k l i t . said...

Oh, love, love Arts & Crafts. I, too, am inspired by Mucha and Morris et al.

Actually, last time I was in a bookstore and read the intro to one of those lofty Arts and Crafts coffee table books I can't afford, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, sounds just like the steampunk movement!" You know, as you've described - reaction to mass-production, emphasis on hand-crafting, etc.

I think we're already doing it, darling!