What was the reason for the Arts and Crafts Movement?
The Arts and Crafts Movement began with the use of machines producing low-quality goods during the industrial revolution. While it may not have been the sole reason for the Movement’s conception, mass production was one of the reasons for its creation in the 1860’s. The debate on if the movement is still relevant could simply be answered that it is not. However there are other factors that suggest otherwise.
The Arts and Crafts Movement at its core was an attempt to revive medieval craftsmanship in both design and architecture, which spread from England to America. The need for the Movement was caused by the “machine [which] had stamped out taste in industrial products”. The opportunity for machine use was a significant reason as to why the quality of goods dropped. The blame, however, cannot be laid on these machines but the people who controlled what the finished products looked like. One of the biggest aims of the Movement was to reclaim and reintroduce a quality of work that had begun to be lost and forgotten because of the industrial revolution. With the creation of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co. became one of the early examples of how to integrate designers into the production process.
Socially, these concerns and motivations caused a struggle industrially to produce quality work but also provided an opportunity for women to “feel less marginalized by their own lack of real power over their lives”. Despite this somewhat begrudging inclusion of women into the design process of products, it provided them with an opportunity to become skilled with a type of labour available to them at the time, which is a minor improvement regarding employment. There was also an idea that employers abused the rights to their employee’s labour, which at the time was true. Children were employed at increasingly young ages, and employees had to work twelve hours a day in incredibly poor conditions.