I'm sorry. I thought you were_ looking_ at them, not just figuratively.
They look pretty similar, don't they? Seems to me the Shaker style is a
little more lithe in the leg. More carved tapers, spindles, etc.
Mission: a little more stout, overall, with wider, more squared
components. Of course, less embellishment in the Shaker would be
expected, but how can you get less embellished (well, within reason)
than Mission? The Mission might sport some bevelled through tenons,
dutchmen and such, I guess. Stoutman wrote:
While having a similar discussion with a guy who made a Bombay Chest out of
solid mahogany he cynically summed up Mission as follows: "You can shape
all the pieces with your planner." As Tom points out there are simple curves
and turnings associated with Shaker.
... and that, apparently, was considered one of the pluses of it's near
kin/predecessor, Arts and Crafts:
"Frank Lloyd Wright's lecture, "The Art and Craft of the Machine," delivered
at the Chicago Society of Arts and Crafts in 1901, in which, after invoking
the name of William Morris, he went on to declare: "The machine, by its
wonderful cutting, shaping, smoothing, and repetitive capacity, has made it
possible to so use it without waste that the poor as well as the rich may
enjoy today beautiful surface treatments of clean, strong forms""
The essence of A&C, "Mission" being a close cousin of sorts, was to use the
"machine" to relieve the tedium of repetitive, manual tasks which the
artisans of prior ages were slave to.
Interesting quote from Wright. Though I never thought of Wright as trying to
go mass market he clearly understood what the technology could do. I'd think
today's wonder machine, i.e., the one that brings variety to the masses,
would be the CNC machines. With CNC the masses can afford fancy looking
stuff like Chippendale, Queen Anne, etc...
However he was always looking for a way to go mass market--that was the main
point of his "Usonian Automatic" designs in the '50s, something that could
be built with little skilled labor--people have built them by starting out
with a mold and making one concrete block at a time until they had enough
to build the house.
On Sun, 23 Jul 2006 21:09:27 -0400, Andrew Williams
It's not early for Wright, it's just early for Wright's Prairie period.
He had a _long_ career, and the early stuff alone would be enough for
Have you ever visited his house, if you're in Chicago? That's a fine
example of his early period styles.
I think the best way to see the difference is to go to Google images
and do searches such as "mission style chair" and "shaker chair" and
compare what you see. The differences will become pretty apparent
I thought the Shakers did not eschew the use of machinery; they did shun
ostentation in their products. That's why you see wood knobs, lack of
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
On Mon, 24 Jul 2006 20:04:11 -0700, Mark & Juanita
Shakers certainly weren't anti-machinery, it's just that not much of it
had been invented by then. Even Babbitt's famous circular saw was still
only seen as a labour-saver for construction carpentry timber, not a
resaw for cabinetry.
The Shakers used hand tools (with great skill) and they aspired to the
sort of perfection of finish that we usually identify as "machine-made
quality" -- certainly in the early Victorian period when "machine made"
was an accolade found proudly stamped onto goods.
The Arts and Crafts movement is a late Victorian reaction, primarily to
the dehumanising effects of factory life on the workers. Ruskin and
Morris saw it less in terms of products and more in terms of those
involved. The later American A&C theorists attempted to recapture the
golden age of craft labour by the deliberate application of machines. If
you could make an honest product, then the assumption was that it would
generate honest employment and fair treatment of workers. At the same
time, the product was supposed to look as if it were hand-made and to
avoid all the gingerbread that Victorian machinery had been so good at
The English A&C movement never took this line, even in the 20th century
(pre-war anyway). Gimson and the Barnsleys were adamant over the use of
hand tools, and the way that artisan craftsmanship was the only right
way for an artisan craftsman to be employed.
It's difficult to pinpoint the main differences because these styles
evolved over time and differed between villages. There are probably
more similarities than differences between these two styles.
lighter, fewer members
religious belief influenced design
furniture pieces used for tasks and work
milk paints & hand-rubbed finishes
somewhat crude design
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