Following Britain’s Industrial Revolution, a design movement emerged as a way to create products that not only had integrity but were made in a less dehumanizing way. The movement was coined “the Arts and Crafts movement” and it had a huge impact on how Victorian society viewed production. The movement reformed the design and manufacture of everything from buildings to jewelry.
A key leader of the movement was William Morris, a renowned designer. He is quoted as saying, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
William Morris strived to create beautifully constructed everyday objects in a harmonious manner that kept the craftsman connected to the consumer. He pushed back on factory work, in hopes to return to small-scale workshops. Morris wanted to rid the working class of repetitive tasks so that they might engage directly with the creative process from beginning to end.
The Arts and Crafts movement thrived in rural communities and created employment for local people, such as amateurs and students. And it also created an environment in which, for the first time, women as well as men could begin to take an active role in developing new forms of design, both as makers and consumers.
Below are a few examples of objects produced during the Arts & Crafts Movement.
Although the movement did not withstand the test of time, the sentiment of handcrafted and delicately made objects continues to today.
“V&A · Arts and Crafts: an Introduction.” Victoria and Albert Museum, https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/arts-and-crafts-an-introduction.