2014 Craftsman Weekend: A Socialist Plot?

Aug 17, 2014

Prospect_BestWho would have suspected that an “undercurrent of socialism” ran through the Arts and Crafts movement?

The Arts and Crafts movement emerged during the late Victorian period in England, the most industrialized country in the world at that time. Anxieties about industrial life fueled a positive revaluation of handcraftsmanship and precapitalist forms of culture and society. Arts and Crafts designers sought to improve standards of decorative design, believed to have been debased by mechanization, and to create environments in which beautiful and fine workmanship governed. (

The American Arts and Crafts movement wouldn’t exist without the British movement and the work of William Morris (1834-1896), “who believed that industrialization alienated labor and created a dehumanizing distance between the designer and manufacturer.” Subsequently, a few Utopian communities arose as “artistic and social experiments,” such as Rose Valley in Pennsylvania and Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead’s Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony outside of Woodstock, New York.

In harmony with the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, Byrdcliffe furniture is a study in rectilinearity, simply treated materials, and minimal decoration. (




Within the movement, diversity was the norm as a result of the distinct individuals involved and regional differences (East Coast, Midwest, California). Frank Lloyd Wright may be included in the conversation about the Arts and Crafts movement because his Prairie School style architecture was “organic” and “indebted to nature.”

Like Wright,…Charles Sumner Greene (1886-1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870-1964), California architect-designers of the period, were interested in domestic architecture incorporating the interior as a total work of art.

The fashioned a distinctive style, heavily influenced by Asian design, that reached its zenith with the bungalow, the quintessential Arts and Crafts architectural form, characterized by broad overhanging eaves, articulated artwork, and an open plan. (


Miss Isa Hawes House (1911-1912)

Miss Isa Hawes House (1911-1912)


Feel like immersing into the Arts & Crafts Movement? Tickets are on sale now for the weekend of  October 17th-19th—three days of lectures, tours by foot, bus, or car, evening receptions, workshops, exhibitions, and a marketplace.

Pasadena Heritage‘s Craftsman Weekend begins Friday, October 17th, with a tour of Riverside’s historic Mission Inn, an Arroyo Seco walking tour, workshops for beginning needle art and Craftsman tile design, and ending with an evening reception at Women’s City Club of Pasadena’s historic Binn House.


MI Hotel with sky_FS copy

The Mission Inn, Riverside


Saturday, October 18th, includes walking tours around “the gracious homes above Arroyo Seco east bank…including the Robinson House, the Freeman A. Ford house built by Charles and Henry Greene, as well as several Seymore Locke homes.” A Greene and Greene inspired bus tour will look at homes by architects inspired by the famous brothers and a bus tour of Monrovia will look at some of the city’s 129 designated landmarks.


Freeman A. Ford House

Freeman A. Ford House


An “elegant” evening reception will be held Saturday night at “Myron Hunt’s own home with interior tours and a catered wine and hors d’oeuvres reception in the beautiful gardens.”

Sunday is put aside for the stars of the weekend—the Craftsman houses. Five privately-owned homes are featured and docents will provide detailed histories. To enjoy this drive-yourself tour, four to five hours are suggested and as no restrooms are available for public use and no food trucks are going to be hanging out on the corners, plan some pit stops.

An art sale and silent auction will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Pasadena Convention Center. Details of all the weekend’s events may be found on this PDF.


2014 Craftsman Weekend
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 17th-19th
Locations vary
Tickets: price varies depending on event; range, $20-$175
Weekend packages also available; details here
Order tickets online here
Or call 626.441.6333
Or drop by Pasadena Heritage, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
651 S. St. John Ave., Pasadena 91105


The Leon & Lizzie Chamberlin House (1912), Altadena

The Leon & Lizzie Chamberlin House (1912), Altadena




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