I frequently see the term “Arts and Crafts” applied as if it is a specific type of work. What does this term apply to?
Joanna Takes: Arts and Crafts does indeed apply to a specific type of work. Generally, what people mean when they use the term is a style with exposed construction details, like tenons, dovetails and butterfly joints. Such details form the decorative elements: additional ornamentation isn’t part of this style. It’s supposed to look “honest,” like something the hardworking tradesmen of the medieval guilds might have made. The style became popular as part of the back-to-basics Arts and Crafts movement that began in England in the 19th century, and it’s never really left. Gustav Stickley – whose work is also called Mission — worked within the Arts and Crafts style, and it’s often his work people are referring to when they use this term. You most often – in fact, almost always – see this style done in oak.