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Gustav Stickley…Father of the American Arts and Crafts Movement

Gustav Stickley


“Make life better and truer by its perfect simplicity.”
Gustav Stickley (March 9, 1858-April 21, 1942) Manufacturer of furniture, leader for the American Arts and Crafts Movement

Who was Gustav Stickley?


Gustav Stickley, Father of the American Arts and Crafts movement

Who was Gustav Stickley and where was he from? What were his influences that led him into the Arts and Crafts movement? How did his business become so successful? What caused his business to file for bankruptcy? This video and article will shed some light on Gustav Stickley, Father of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.

Gustav Stickley (1858)-1942) started his furniture company in upstate New York in 1898. His company was known as the Gustav Stickley Company – Craftsman Workshops. Business took off and the company became very successful as retail stores in New York, Boston, and Washington DC sold his furniture. Stickley was heavily influenced by the British Arts and Crafts movement, however he advocated the creation of a distinctive style for America that embodied craftsman furnishings, architecture, handicrafts, and the principles of a harmonious lifestyle. Gustav wanted to “make life better and truer by its perfect simplicity.” This can be seen in the designs of his furnishings.

Arts and Crafts magazine, The Craftsman by Gustav Stickley

Interior view of a Stickley Craftsman home.

Morris chair by Gustav Stickley

Gustav Stickley & The Craftsman Magazine 


Stickley started The Craftsman magazine that was published from (1903-1918) and it was in this monthly journal that plans for “Craftsman” houses were sold. However, interior illustrations of these homes provided a view inside the residence as well as a place for where the furnishings of Stickley furniture for the house could be displayed. This was a brilliant form of offering the “Craftsman” lifestyle and it was a great way to advertise the Stickley arts and crafts products available for sale.

Much of what Stickley did was driven by commercial impulses. However, his offerings taught and inspired many artisans, designers, and architects. His message and philosophy continues impact those who aspire to a simpler way of life.

Find Arts and Crafts Plans and Books

Videos and Articles of Legendary Woodworkers:
Sam Maloof…Woodworking interview…1982

Remembering James Krenov
James Krenov…Legendary Woodworker 1920-2009

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


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