An online course presented by The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms.
With Instructor, Dr. Jonathan Clancy, Director of Collections and Preservation.


Close Looking: Design is an exploration of great design and the process of looking by thinking through those moments in human history when different leaps–whether aesthetic or technological or historical–helped define our built environment. Great design, it turns out, is not confined to a moment or a location. It is found in the subtle arrangement of forms that causes what James Joyce described in his Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as an aesthetic arrest, a moment in which “the mind… is raised above desire and loathing.” The second cluster of topics in this series aims to explore those moments.

Divided into either forms (like case furniture or tables) or materials (like textiles) these sessions provide a deeper look into the aesthetics of objects, which in turn sheds light on the history of design. In each hour-long session we will look closely at ten objects and think through them to see and understand the pieces in a new way. The goal of the series is twofold: first, to understand the process of choices designers make and the impact these have on the audience, and secondly, to witness the broader sweep of history and the manner in which it continues to shape design.

In truth, there is no absolute canon that we will look towards to guide us along this path; instead, the objects are selected for either their aesthetic qualities or their novel approach to problem solving. You may find some choices familiar (or even obvious) while others will be a revelation. The goal is to get you to look more closely and think more carefully about function and aesthetics, while expanding your knowledge of design history from the distant past to the present day.

Dr. Jonathan Clancy is the Director of Collections and Preservation at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. An author, educator, and curator Clancy received his doctorate in art history in 2008 from the Graduate Center. Formerly Director of the MA in American Fine and Decorative Arts program at Sotheby’s, he left in 2017 to form an advisory group. As an independent consultant, he has worked with private clients and institutions on collection management, exhibition planning, label writing and research, and valuation.

Registration is required. Once registered and paid, you will receive an email prior to each session with a link to join.

Do you have a scheduling conflict for the live session? You can still enjoy the program. Register and we’ll send you the recording! All paid attendees will be emailed a private link to the session recording when it is available.

Missed us? You can also register retroactively. If you register for a session that has passed, you’ll receive access to the recording when it is ready.

Haven’t tried a session yet? Each session is planned as a “stand-alone” lecture, so you can take them all or attend the topics that interest you most.


Sessions 1 – 3:
Close Looking: Chairs and Seating

1Sat., Jan. 22, 2022Chairs and Seating (Part One)
2Sat., Jan. 29, 2022Chairs and Seating (Part Two)
3Sat., Feb. 5, 2022Great Seating of the Arts and Crafts Movement

Sessions 4 – 6:
Close Looking: Pottery, the Gift of the Earth

4Sat., Feb. 12, 2022Pottery, the Gift of the Earth (Part One)
5Sat., Feb. 26, 2022Pottery, the Gift of the Earth (Part Two)
6Sat., Mar. 5, 2022Masterworks of American Art Pottery

Sessions 7 – 9:
Close Looking: Glass, Clearly and Otherwise

7Sat., Mar. 19, 2022Glass, Clearly and Otherwise (Part One)
8Sat., Mar. 26, 2022Glass, Clearly and Otherwise (Part One)
9Sat., Apr. 2, 2022American Glass from Caspar Wistar to Toots Zynsky

Sessions 10 – 12:
Close Looking: Metal Masterpieces

10Sat., Apr. 9, 2022Metal Masterpieces (Part One)
11Sat., Apr. 23, 2022Metal Masterpieces (Part Two)
12Sat., Apr. 30, 2022Heavy Metal from the Arts and Crafts Movement

Sessions 13 – 15:
Close Looking: Important Rooms and Spaces

13Sat., May 7, 2022Important Rooms and Spaces (Part One)
14Sat., May 14, 2022Important Rooms and Spaces (Part Two)
15Sat., May 21, 2022Great Rooms of the Arts and Crafts Movement

Sessions 16 – 18:
Close Looking: Case Furniture

16Sat., Sept. 10, 2022, 1:00 PM EDTCase Furniture (Part One)
17Sat., Sept. 17, 2022, 1:00 PM EDTCase Furniture (Part Two)
18Sat., Sept. 24, 2022, 1:00 PM EDTCase Furniture Part Three: Design in American Life

Sessions 19 – 21:
Close Looking: Textiles and the Fiber Arts

19Sat., Oct. 1, 2022, 1:00 PM EDTTextiles and the Fiber Arts (Part One)
20Sat., Oct. 15, 2022, 1:00 PM EDTTextiles and the Fiber Arts (Part Two)
21Sat., Oct. 22, 2022, 1:00 PM EDTTextiles, Fiber Arts, and the Arts and Crafts in America

Sessions 22 – 24:
Close Looking: Tables and Stands

22Sat., Oct. 29, 2022 1:00 PM EDTTables and Stands (Part One)
23Sat., Nov. 12, 2022, 1:00 PM ESTTables and Stands (Part Two)
24Sat., Nov. 19, 2022, 1:00 PM ESTTables and Stands Part Three: American Design

Craftsman Farms, the former home of noted designer Gustav Stickley, is owned by the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills and is operated by The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Inc., (“SMCF”) (formerly known as The Craftsman Farms Foundation, Inc.). SMCF is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of New Jersey. Restoration of the National Historic Landmark, Craftsman Farms, is made possible, in part, by a Save America’s Treasures Grant administered by the National Parks Service, Department of the Interior, and by support from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust, The New Jersey Historic Trust, and individual donors. SMCF received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State and a grant from the New Jersey Arts & Culture Recovery Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Educational programs are funded, in part, by grants from the Arts & Crafts Research Fund.