The other day I was e-mailing back and forth with a Japanese guitarist who was kind enough to share some of his arrangements with my son. He mentioned how interesting it was that the internet has made it possible to make friends with people from different parts of the world and different walks of life-all that’s needed is a common interest. It reminded me of how fortunate I feel to be part of a growing community. I thought I would share some of the work and websites of people I’ve met online who share an interest in Arts & Crafts furniture. Some of these I’ve met in person and the rest I look forward to meeting. A few of these will be familiar to our readers, because they’ve written articles for Popular Woodworking.
This dining room set, based on the Greene & Greene originals in the Gamble house was made by Darrell Peart. Darrell Peart wrote an article for our November 2007 issue about an unusual table he found while researching his book Greene & Greene: Design Elements for the Workshop. In addition to his writing and full-time furnituremaking, Darrell started a Yahoo! discussion group about Greene and Greene furniture. This group is an amazing resource, with an extremely knowledgeable membership. Darrel has just moved to a new shop, and you can take a 360-degree tour of it here.
I met David Mathias when he purchased a set of plans from my website and had some questions about building a bow arm Morris chair. I asked him to send some pictures when he was finished, and I was impressed with his work. David has had two articles published in Popular Woodworking, a Greene & Greene inspired chest in the April 2008 issue and Greene and Greene drawer construction in the February 2007 issue. David maintains a blog and we’re in the planning stages of some future articles on Greene and Greene furniture that will appear later this year.
One of my favorite Arts & Crafts designers is Harvey Ellis and my book on Ellis Inlay designs resulted in my acquaintance with Ron Cossner. That’s Ron’s work in the picture above, and a visit to his website is well worth your time. Look over the furniture and don’t forget the furniture polish. Ron works a stone’s throw away from Gustav Stickley’s original factory, and he is one of the unsung heroes in the revival of interest in Stickley’s work. He rescued a lot of important material and made sure it landed in safe hands.
This is a reproduction of one of the Harvey Ellis inlays, made by Mitchell Andrus. Mitch is another accomplished furniture maker, and he was asked to reproduce the piano case at Craftsman Farms in New Jersey. These intricate inlays were originally introduced in 1903, and original versions are a rare and precious commodity as these versions of Craftsman furniture never made it beyond the prototype and sample stage. The addition of the inlays to Craftsman furniture really adds to the beauty and elegance of the work.
Mitch has used these in his own work, and has recently made many of the original patterns available online. These inlays are laser cut and preassembled and he also has matching stain stencils available for them. In the original Stickley pieces, the inlay work was done by an outside marquetry company and delivered to the Craftsman workshops in this same form. The inlay and background veneer are applied as a single piece of veneer, saving an incredible amount of time.
Guys like Darrell, David, Ron and Mitch are at the leading edge of Arts and Crafts reproduction work. My hat is off to them for successfully doing the work they do. Visit their sites and be inspired. I’ll try to share more posts like this, and of course Popular Woodworking will continue to be the leader in presenting articles on building authentic Arts & Crafts furniture.