Handcrafted Furniture by Gustav Stickley

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Gustav Stickley founded The Craftsman, a publication that became the recognised voice of the American Arts & Crafts movement, in 1901.

Handcrafted Furniture by Gustav Stickley


Born in Osceola, Wisconsin, in 1958. Gustav Stickley was a great architect as well as a leader and inventor in Arts and Crafts furniture design.

Gustav was influenced by two British reformers, John Ruskin and William Morris, who both preached on the benefits of designs based on honesty and simplicity, after visiting England in the late 1890s. Stickley was inspired to create a new range of handcrafted furniture based on these two fundamental ideas. In 1898, he established the Craftsman Workshops in Eastwood, New York, where he developed his Craftsman line of furniture, which was entirely handcrafted rather than machine-made and designed to be simple and useful. Gustav Stickley Furniture for sale was mostly made of native American oak and included clear structural elements like exposed tenons, chamfered boards, and tenon-and-key construction, which mirrored the indigenous American Arts Crafts philosophy. Joinery was left uncovered, upholstery was done out using natural materials and wood was polished but not painted.

In the early 1900s, the Stickley family's five brothers were responsible for popularising the previously existent Arts Crafts style. Gustav, Leopold, Charles, Albert, and John George Stickley all contributed to the Mission style movement, both individually and through collaborations. The oldest brother, Gustav Stickley, is credited with inventing the Mission style, although his other brothers were also extremely involved in making it under several trade names and partnerships.

Gustav Stickley founded The Craftsman, a publication that became the recognised voice of the American Arts Crafts movement, in 1901. William Morris, one of the men who had played such an essential role in formulating his ideals, was honoured in the first issue of The Craftsman. Naturally, the second issue was devoted to the other, John Ruskin. Gustav Stickley Chair favourite of all collectors.

Stickley promoted his architectural philosophies through his publication:


- A house should be built in harmony with its surroundings, with specific attention paid to local resources.


- An open floor concept promotes family connection by removing unneeded boundaries.


- Built-in bookcases and benches are functional and guarantee that a home is not entirely reliant on outside furnishings.


- Because artificial light should be kept to a minimum, big groups of windows are required to allow natural light in.


Stickley founded the Craftsman Home Builders Club in 1903 in order to propagate his ideas about domestic design. He collaborated on house ideas for the magazine with well-known architect Harvey Ellis, which ultimately appeared in two books: Craftsman Homes(1909) and More Craftsman Homes.


(1912). Over the course of fifteen years, 221 Stickley/Ellis plans were published.


Stickley's Craftsman Furniture spawned a slew of imitators, including three firms formed by his brothers Charles, Albert, Leopold, and John George.


In Fayetteville, New York, John George and Leopold established the Onondaga workshop, which ultimately became known as L JG Stickley. Their furniture designs were similar to Gustav's, and they were also successful in replicating Frank Lloyd Wright's ideas.

Gustav found himself in unusual rivalry with his brothers, and unfortunately for him, they were the ones who flourished. Gustav was not a skilled businessman, and he couldn't stop the downturn as the American market began to reject his simple furniture in favour of new and revival styles. In 1915, Gustav Stickley declared bankruptcy, halting the publication of The Craftsman in 1916 and selling Craftsman farms in 1917.


His brothers, on the other hand, were savvy businesspeople who grew their company by 'borrowing' Gustav's designs. At a trade show in 1905, L JG Stickley debuted their first line of 'Simple furniture fashioned along the mission principles.' It was favourably appreciated, and it served to establish a benchmark for beautiful American furniture throughout the country.