Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony "" Online Exhibition
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Aesthetic Characteristics

  • Simple works devoid of excess decoration
  • Craftsmanship and use of natural materials shows through
  • Inspired by local flora and fauna
  • Integration of multiple art forms; metalwork, glass, furniture, and architecture into one living space.
  • Influenced by the craftsmanship of medieval arts guilds, Japanese prints and pottery forms, Art Nouveau, and the Pre-Raphaelites.


  • Love of craft, respect for the laborer as artist
  • Connection to nature
  • Call for political reform
  • Elevation of mind, body and spirit through art appreciation
  • Value of working with one’s hands, physical connection to artistic process
  • Democratic view of "beauty" for everyone


Arts and Crafts Movement
approx. 1890s-1920s

The Arts and Crafts movement in the United States was inspired by a movement that had originated in England in the mid 19th century in the teachings of John Ruskin (1819-1900), a writer, art critic and reformer and William Morris (1834-1896), an artist and socialist reformer. By the turn of the century, America had embraced the many philosophies and aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts movement.

The backbone of the movement’s idealistic philosophy was based on the synthesis of nature, love of craft, and simple living into the artistic process. The Arts and Crafts movement rejected the opulence and excess of the Victorian period, the use of mechanization in producing art and the assembly line approach of the Industrial Revolution. Instead, the Arts and Crafts movement embraced the handmade. Those inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement had a strong quest to connect with nature and to incorporate the natural landscape into art forms. This philosophy was both a social and artistic movement.



Dewing Woodward
Listening to the Foosteps of Autumn
Oil on cavnas
48 x 25 3/8 inches
Collection of The Bigelow Homestead