I noticed that you sometimes describe a piece of furniture as “arts and crafts.” I was just wondering what constitutes a piece being called that? – Mike Sosebee
Joanna Werch Takes: “Arts and Crafts” refers to a style of furniture characterized by exposed joinery, visually simple lines and natural materials: probably the most common wood choice for Arts and Crafts style furniture is quartersawn oak. The style had its original heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in first the United Kingdom, then the U.S., as somewhat of a backlash against the Industrial Revolution: instead of having the things in their homes (furniture, textiles, etc.) mass produced in factories, the early practitioners of the Arts and Crafts style wanted to emphasize the value of things made by hand, by individual craftsmen. (They were also kind of tired of all the extra decorative elements — the frills and furbelows, if you will — found on the Victorian style furniture of their day; hence the emphasis on simple, natural lines.) The style remains popular with today’s woodworkers, which is why you’ll see frequent references to it in woodworking publications.