The Arts and Crafts Movement: Tiles

Arts and Crafts

The International Design Movement, later to be known as Arts and Crafts, began in Europe, and especially in Britain, in approximately 1860. The exact genesis of such things is never crystal clear but what is clear is that the textile designer and writer William Morris was extremely influential in fanning the Arts and Crafts flame. Morris had in turn read the works of art critic and essayist John Ruskin. These pioneers are pictured below left to right.

Most design historians will agree that the general theme which rallied the proponents of the Arts and Crafts school was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and in particular to the cookie cutter sameness that it implied. There was a tremendous energy generated by the search for a romantic ideal as exemplified by the lone craftsman plying his trade in a simple, pure, authentic fashion.

The Americanization of the Arts and Crafts approach had a profound impact on architecture and design that we still feel today. It is reasonable to say that it spawned directly or indirectly such familiar styles and themes as Craftsman, Mission, Bungalow and even by extension The Prairie School of Frank Lloyd Wright. In practice, the well designed middle class home, as desired by a homeowner, could and should be delivered by the design team.

Since we want to narrow the topic down to Arts and Crafts tiles let’s focus on the Pasadena, California of the early 20th Century. There, the legendary Ernest Batchelder, had a tile shop that provided artisan pieces to the likes of Greene and Green Architects for projects such as the iconic Gamble House, shown above.  This shop was incorporated into the Batchelder residence and the two tile images below are from this home.

At Country Floors, we have drawn inspiration from the famed Charles Voysey. As an architect, furniture, and textile designer this Englishman exerted tremendous influence on the Arts and Crafts space. Our Crossings Collection pays homage to his wallpaper artistry as evidenced by “The Saladin”, a famous Voysey work, depicted below.

There are Country Floors locations all over America. Stop in and ask them to show you the Voysey style patterns shown below. The spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement  is alive and well!

Arts and Crafts