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Farmhouse, the infancy of Craftsman Revival

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

The popularity of "farmhouse" design can be seen as a reaction to the mass-produced, cheaply made furniture that has dominated the market for decades. Like the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s, the farmhouse trend represents a desire for more authentic, well-made objects that reflect a sense of craftsmanship and individual style.

While the farmhouse trend was likely born out of a desire for handmade furniture, the lack of education and training in traditional craftsmanship techniques has resulted in many farmhouse-style pieces being made with cheap materials and techniques that lack the durability and sustainability of truly handcrafted furniture. Instead of being created by skilled craftsmen, these pieces are often made by well-intentioned amateurs who are limited by their own level of training and experience.

It is not my intention to belittle the efforts of these amateur craftsmen, but rather to encourage the education that will lead to the development of skilled craftsmen and better informed consumers. The revival of traditional craftsmanship and the principles of the Craftsman Revival requires a commitment to learning and improvement, not just a desire for handmade goods. By supporting and promoting the work of skilled craftsmen, we can help to drive a shift towards higher quality and more sustainable design.

The Craftsman Revival is a movement that I am encouraging, inspired by the principles and philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement and the work of Gustav Stickley, and others that I will be happy to draw from and share. Like Stickley, I believe that well-made objects should be available to everyone, not just the wealthy. For it is us in the woods, us hauling logs, it is us that bore the desire to divorce the refuse that is force fed to us at a price point that we can't imagine affording, and us who haul it to the landfill. And it is US who either seek a maker to build something worth having, something that will serve a purpose, something that will be beautiful, and something that will last, or at long toiling, learn to do it ourselves. I am simply one of the latter, but I am one, as are you, but we are many, we very few.

I stepped into a furniture store recently in one of the more affluent areas of town. The front of store piece, the one they want you to see as soon as you walk in, was a "slab" table. It was clearly a piece of MDF with a walnut colored veneer, and a fake live edge. The legs were bolted to the bottom. It wobbled when I touched it. The price was $2,799.99 There wasn't a single piece of furniture in this store that I would say is well made. But that's because I'm educated in what well made means. It was heart breaking to me. People just don't know any better, and more importantly, they don't have any other options.

In the articles to come, I will aim to share my knowledge and understanding of craftsmanship, and to educate both makers and consumers about the principles and values of the Craftsman Revival movement. My goal is not to sell my furniture, but to raise the standards of what is considered valuable and worth investing in, both for makers and consumers. I want to help create a world where everyone has access to beautifully crafted, sustainable, and well-made objects that enhance and complement their lives. I believe that by returning to the values of authenticity, sustainability, and quality, we can live in harmony with our environment and reinvest in the skills and traditions that have been lost in the pursuit of corporate production and profit.

I you are like minded, or simply interested, I ask that you share this invitation, like the post, or better yet, subscribe. I do not desire to simply cast my thoughts into the void in hopes of some distant resonance, nor do I desire to pay to be exposed to audiences. The Craftsman Revival is not for greed, and it's not for profit. I can only provide a spark, it is you who must encourage the flame.

Thank you and I hope to see you back for more.

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