News

In ordinary years, during the week before Thanksgiving, members of the staff and a team of volunteers would have gathered to decorate the entire house in preparation for the bustling weeks of activity ahead. This December, our bustling calendar of activity will take place entirely online -- especially on Saturday, December 19th -- and we promise it will be no less celebratory!

Read more about how we're preparing for this unusal holiday season over on the blog.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Sat., Dec. 5 at 1:00 PM EST:
The Restorative Power of Craft
Session 3: Making Pots and Useful Citizens: The Saturday Evening Girls
$25 | Location: Zoom Online Classroom
With Dr. Jonathan Clancy, Director of Collections and Preservation

Founded in 1908 under the patronage of Helen Osborne Storrow and guided by the visions of Edith Guerrier and Edith Brown, the Paul Revere Pottery in Boston sought to provide immigrant girls a means of making a living and acculturating them to the attitudes and history of the United States. With over 13 million immigrants accounting for more than one-sixth of the American population by 1910, the pottery was a response to the question that vexed many Americans who saw the rise in immigration–roughly 30% between 1900 and 1910–as an issue that threatened American traditions and social stability. Using craft as a means to provide the immigrant population with wage-earning opportunities while instilling in them the Colonial history of America, the Paul Revere Pottery straddled progressive-era idealism and conservative fears that have defined the American experience in the modern era.

Frances Rocchi (decorator) for Paul Revere Pottery, Bowl, 1909. Glazed earthenware, 3 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches (d). Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center.

Sat., Dec. 5 at 4:00 PM EST:
Virtual Farms Afield: Pewabic Pottery, Detroit MI
Member Exclusive! | FREE with RSVP

Inspired by our current series “The Restorative Power of Craft,” we are making a visit to historic Pewabic Pottery, which has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry Stratton (at left). We’ll explore the past, present and future of Pewabic, with Executive Director Steve McBride, who will take us inside this National Historic Landmark, including a stop at the newly opened Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation Pewabic Tile Studio. Join McBride for a discussion about the mission of this contemporary nonprofit pottery, which is dedicated to honoring the innovative vision of its founder and to enriching the human spirit through clay.

Not a member? Why not join today? Support the museum's operations and become part of our nationwide community.

The exterior of the historic Pewabic Pottery building in Detroit Michigan
Image courtesy of Pewabic Pottery, Detroit, MI.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Sat., Dec. 12 at 1:00 PM EST:
The Restorative Power of Craft
Session 4: Educating the Next Generation of Reformers: Charles Binns and the Alfred University Legacy
$25 | Location: Zoom Online Classroom
With Dr. Jonathan Clancy, Director of Collections and Preservation

If craft held the promise of reform and recovery for a weary populace, one aspect of its successful implementation that industry could not address was the training in and promotion of the skills necessary to ensure its own survival. Enter Charles F. Binns, “the father of American studio ceramics” the man whose skill and dedication as an educator and ceramist professionalized the craft and ensured it thrived. Binns’ work touched nearly every aspect of Arts and Crafts ceramics too, from Marblehead (with the education of Arthur Baggs) to Grueby (Frederick Walrath, a student, was sent to the pottery to address issues with the glazes), to Robineau, who was among his early students and devotees. This session explores the role of Binns as teacher, chemist, and influencer on the broader field and positions him as a central figure in American ceramic history.

Walrath Pottery, vase, ca. 1910. Glazed stoneware, 13 1/2 inches. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Sat., Dec. 19 at 1:00 PM EST:
A Very Craftsman Christmas
1 session only! | $25 | Location: Zoom Online Classroom
With Dr. Jonathan Clancy, Director of Collections and Preservation

In our final class of 2020, we examine the products and projects that Stickley promoted–from pottery to furniture to hand-made toys–demonstrating the breadth of The Craftsman’s reach and reminding each other that in spite of modernity’s madness we can still find moments of solace, of generosity, and of selfless concern for others.

Writing in the The Craftsman in 1904, Stickley opined about the inherent tensions between modernity and the spirit of generosity he believed was inherent to Christmas. “There is little danger,” he wrote, “that the spirit and beauty of Christmas giving will ever be overdone or outgrown, in the truest sense, but there is a danger in an increasing modern tendency to change the 'blessedness of giving' into a burdensome obligation, due to social rivalry and other causes, which really have no part in the real spirit of Christmas-tide.” In many ways, Stickley’s struggle with Christmas is a microcosm of the movement’s broader issue, how to balance the spiritual impulse and redemptive nature of craft with the commercial necessities of a business. For the next twelve years, Stickley promoted both sides of this, using the magazine’s content to promote “our better angels” while the back pages–the advertising–suggested last minute-gifts for harried givers.

Sat., Dec. 19 at 4:00 PM EST:
Virtual CRAFTS-MAS Party!
Member Exclusive! | FREE with RSVP

We're having a virtual CRAFTS-MAS Party! Museum Members are invited inside the only privately-owned home on the historic Craftsman Farms property for an exclusive holiday party.

Enjoy plenty of time to share good cheer with old and new friends and explore the story of this lovely Craftsman home, including a peek at recent renovations, with our gracious hosts, Catherine Mathis and Bob Burchell.

  • Join us in festive attire—ugly Christmas sweaters welcomed!
  • Discover who is on Santa Clancy’s Naughty and Nice List
  • Get our step-by-step recipe for a delicious Crafts-mas cocktail.

Our virtual Crafts-mas Party is a special “thank you” to Members for supporting the museum, especially through this challenging year. Wherever you are, around the corner or across the country, we hope you’ll gather with us and celebrate!

Tuesday, August 12, 2020

Covid-19 and Extension of Temporary Closure

The Museum and Grounds will be CLOSED as we recover from extensive damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias. We apologize for any inconvenience. In the coming weeks, please watch for more news about this ongoing project and COVID-19 updates.


Tuesday, August 12, 2020

Tropical Storm Isaias

On Tuesday, August 4, Tropical Storm Isaias brought significant and unanticipated destruction across New Jersey. In the early afternoon, high winds ripped through Craftsman Farms and brought down a massive tree onto the Log House Annex, which, since 2008, has served as the museum's educational program space. This space, which was to become the museum's shop, after the forthcoming opening of our new Education Center, was an open-air pavilion in the Stickley-era, and was later turned into apartments and then a multi-use museum facility.

As soon as the Annex could be safely accessed, the museum's staff, with assistance from the Parsippany-Troy Hills Township building department and the Mt. Tabor Fire Department, began to assess and mitigate the damage. While, thankfully, the Log House and the museum's collections were unharmed, the damage to the Annex was severe. Over the next week, the museum will be focused on safeguarding the historic fabric of this building, while assessing its future.

With the help of insurance, the Annex will be rebuilt, but the task ahead presents steep new challenges to the museum in a year already riddled with uncertainty. Throughout the pandemic, though the Log House's doors have been closed for tours, the museum has been focused on staying "open" virtually. The museum's online educational opportunities have offered a meaningful way to remain vital and fulfill the museum's mission, while generating much needed operational income. Since early April, we have offered nineteen online class sessions, on a wide variety of Arts and Crafts topics, produced an online exhibition about Gustav Stickley's early factory and presented five Members-only programs--with two more to come--including virtual tours and a visit to Bruce Johnson's workshop. In addition, we have produced weekly e-newsletters and increased our in-depth social media content. While it will be our goal to continue with this work and find creative ways to engage with our nationwide audience, support is needed to ensure our ability to do that.

Executive Director's Message on Tropical Storm Isaias:

The destruction of Tropical Storm Isaias, for me, brought to mind the destructive power of Hurricane Sandy and devastating tornados in my rural hometown in middle Tennessee.

As the storm's winds tore through Craftsman Farms on August 4, from my office window, I saw branches and debris blowing wildly across the property. Then, before I could fully comprehend what was happening, the abrupt silence of a total power outage descended. The next chaotic hours were a blur of confusion, distress and gratitude as help arrived on the property. It was a day I can hardly remember but also a day I will never forget.

I have worked full-time at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms for twelve years--for the past seven years as the executive director. Particularly during the past seven years, as I adapted to a new role, Craftsman Farms became a second home to me. I have spent countless hours here and with that is born a particular kind of intimacy. For me, it is a fringe benefit of this work. Authentic places like Craftsman Farms--places born out of one individual's passion--have a way of rooting in your heart. And while, yes, it is my job to protect and preserve this property, it is also my privilege. This sudden and violent destruction has been both hard to grasp and heartbreaking.

Since Gustav Stickley founded this property, and shaped it into his utopian vision, Craftsman Farms has endured. Over more than one hundred years, through the efforts of determined stewards, it has survived upheaval, fires, threats of development, hurricanes, blizzards, floods and more. The demolished Annex presents an all new threat to this property. While daunting, I know that nature's destructive storms are often accompanied by a period of rejuvenation and renewal. In the coming weeks, I will be looking for this "silver lining" to the dark clouds of Tropical Storm Isaias. I invite you to look with me. I also invite you to join me as a steward of Craftsman Farms. Join the museum's Board of Trustees, our volunteer team and staff, as we work to ensure the future of this property and its enjoyment by generations to come.

How can you join us in this effort?

Like most non-profits facing a year of uncertainty, financial support is needed. You can help in these ways:

  • Take an online a class. [learn more]
  • Become a member. Take advantage of our Trustees' New Member Match by RSVPing for one of our August Members-Only Programs. Already a Member? Buy a gift membership for a friend. [learn more]
  • Become a monthly giver. Monthly gifts help ensure steady operational income. [contact barena@stickleymuseum.org]
  • Give to the Annual Fund. Even small gifts are meaningful for small organizations. [learn more]
  • Consider sponsorship of a Members-Only program. [contact vgivens@stickleymuseum.org]

If your financial resources are limited, you can also help by:

  • Sharing our eblasts.
  • Inviting your friends to take classes.
  • Liking and sharing the museum's social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
  • Making the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms your preferred charity on AmazonSmile.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Updated COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Public Statement

Friends,

As of Thursday, March 19, the museum will be closed for tours and programs. Over the coming weeks, we will stay apprised of COVID-19 recommendations and will re-open when we are confident we can provide a safe and healthy environment for all.

In the meantime, our peaceful 30-acre property will remain open from sunrise to sunset. We invite you to visit, take a walk and take respite in Gustav Stickley's peaceful "Garden of Eden."

The museum's administrative office began operating remotely on Monday, March 16. While the office will not be staffed onsite, we will strive to maintain normal operations. Our staff will regularly retrieve phone messages and regular mail, but we encourage you to contact us by email at info@stickleymuseum.org. You also can stay connected, and enjoy our Craftsman content, by following the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms on Facebook and Instagram.

We look forward to the day we will open the doors of the Log House to the public again. Like the rest of the world, we face uncertain times and expect challenges ahead. We are exceedingly grateful for Stickley fans and a supportive worldwide Arts and Crafts community. We will need all of you to weather this storm.

With heartfelt sincerity, we extend our best wishes to all of you for good health, both physically and mentally. As we are all spending more time at home right now, in the words of Dora Greenwell hammered into one of the Log House fireplace hearths: we wish you all...

"A world of strife shut out,
A world of love shut in."

Warm regards,

Vonda Givens
Executive Director


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) 

Friends,

As news about COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to unfold, I'm writing on behalf of the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms to communicate our efforts to address this complex situation and to express our concern for the health of our visitors, volunteers and staff. We are privileged to share the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms with visitors from far and near, and we will strive to provide a safe and healthy environment for all.

The museum and its administrative offices are currently maintaining regular operations. Previously scheduled programs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Postponement and cancellation alerts will be circulated as needed.

To assist with nationwide efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we ask staff, volunteers and visitors who are sick to stay home. We will ensure that hand washing supplies are available and will regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

The museum will stay apprised of evolving recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Alliance of Museums and local government and public health agencies related to the prevention and spread of COVID-19 and will share any necessary updates.

As always, we hope that this peaceful property will be a source of pleasure and respite for visitors, and we look forward to seeing you at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms.

Thank you,

Vonda Givens
Executive Director


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms Welcomes Director of Collections and Preservation

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is delighted to welcome Jonathan Clancy as its new Director of Collections and Preservation. In this newly created position, Clancy will guide the development, conservation and care of the museum’s administrative, library and permanent collections. He will oversee exhibition activities, including curation of the museum’s 2020 exhibition highlighting new research on Gustav Stickley’s early factory, and manage preservation projects across the Museum’s campus.

A 30-acre National Historic Landmark and historic house museum in Parsippany, New Jersey, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms was the early 20th century country estate of Gustav Stickley. A designer, publisher and leader of the American Arts and Crafts movement, Stickley established a home-furnishings empire around the movement’s aesthetic and is still known today for the Craftsman style which he popularized. Stickley developed Craftsman Farms to be an embodiment of the movement’s ideals. Rescued from private development in 1989, the property is owned by the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills and operated by the nonprofit Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019.

In recent months, Clancy has served as a collections consultant to the museum, and in that capacity, steered the development of the new Stickley Museum Library, which will open in 2020 and encompass the museum’s collection of rare and reference books, magazine and catalogs. Clancy played an instrumental role in establishing the museum’s Scholars Symposium, now in its 10th year, and co-curated an exhibition of original furnishings to mark the 100th anniversary of Gustav Stickley’s sale of Craftsman Farms in 2017.

“Jonathan Clancy has been a longtime friend to the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms,” said Executive Director Vonda Givens. “Through his guidance and expertise, the museum has originated groundbreaking programs and important exhibitions and will soon open a new research library. Dynamic leadership is vital in guiding the museum in its 31st year—a new era. We are thrilled to have him join us as the Director of Collections and Preservation.”

Jonathan Clancy is an author, educator, and curator who 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.

His publications include Beauty in Common Things: American Art and Crafts Pottery from the Two Red Roses Foundation (with Martin Eidelberg), Arts and Crafts Metalwork from the Collection of the Two Red Roses Foundation, as well as contributions to Frans Wildenhain 1950-75: Creative and Commercial American Ceramics at Mid-Century, and Jason Jacques Gallery 30 for 30: Thirty Years on the Hunt. His articles have appeared in numerous journals including The Journal of Modern Craft, The Journal of Design History, and American Art among others.


October 2012

Gift of a Morris Chair

Thanks to the generosity of one Colorado family, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms (SMCF) has been entrusted with the care of one of their family’s seats, a 1902 Gustav Stickley #2341 reclining chair in nearly perfect original condition. 1911 images of the Log House interior at Craftsman Farms show only one reclining chair form in them, and that form is the #2341.

In 1901 a successful and forward thinking attorney/businessman named John L. J. Jerome decided to build his family a summer home southwest of Denver on Christmas Hill near the town of Buffalo Creek, Colorado. According to Jerome’s great grandson James G. R. Hart, “He would not build it in the traditional English Tudor or garish French provincial style. It must be in appearance more reminiscent of the homes in the Adirondacks that he and Lucy (Jerome’s wife) loved: comfortable, casual, open, cedar-shingle clad, with enclosed porches and windows to take advantage of the stunning views. It must combine, he thought, the refinement of the East and the wide-open feel of the West. To his delight, Lucy warmed to the idea. It would be her sanctuary, surrounded by a natural moat.”

La Hacienda — as the home would be known — was sighted and designed by the noted Colorado architect Frederick Junius Sterner (1862-1931) in a manner that could have come right out of Gustav Stickley’s magazine The Craftsman. During a 1902 trip to Auburn, N. Y., Jerome purchased 35 pieces of early Gustav Stickley furniture for his home from G.W. Richardson & Son, early retailers of Stickley’s furniture. Shipped in crates by train to Colorado, the furniture (along with wall coverings by William Morris) informed La Hacienda’s interior scheme.

Over the last century, generations of the Jerome-Hart family have lovingly cared for the home and its furnishings. Through a turn of events, the family became interested in donating their chair to the SMCF. A consortium of friends of the Museum consisting of John Toomey, Robert Kaplan, Beth Cathers, Marilee Boyd Mayer, and David Rudd worked with the Hart family to bring their gift to Craftsman Farms, where it was officially presented to the museum this past October at its annual fundraising gala.

James G. R. Hart stated in his essay accompanying the chair that, “It gives the Jerome-Hart family great pleasure to pass on to the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms this Gustav Stickley Morris Chair. It occupied a keystone and beloved place in La Hacienda, witness to all that went on there. Our hope is that many people will see and appreciate it for its quality, artistry, and provenance.”

— Mark Weaver
Collection Committee Chair

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