Sunday, April 25, 2010

President Obama, Bring Back the Roycrofters!

The Obama's spent the weekend in Asheville at the historic Grove Park Inn. The inn exemplifies the Arts & Crafts movement of 100 years ago. Asheville is my favorite town in the South; perhaps, our country. The Grove Park Inn is a comfortable and historic place. The GPI has the largest collection of Roycroft furniture in the world.
You may wonder: what is Roycroft? Who were the Roycrofters? The Roycrofters were an artisan movement founded in East Aurora, New York started by Elbert Hubbard in 1895. With the establishment of the the Roycroft Press and the Roycroft Community, Hubbard fulfilled one of the dreams of Arts and Crafts Philosophers: a self-contained and self-supporting community of people living and working together.

Hubbard pioneered the idea of offering a premium or gift for purchasing his products when he was in the soap business. He applied this philosophy to his own business, Roycroft, which began as a publishing and bookbinding concern. With the purchase of his Little Journeys series of books and magazines, Hubbard offered his now famous 'Little Journeys' bookstands in oak or mahogany as an incentive.

From 1895 through 1938, the Roycrofters produced finely bound books, hammered copper items and fine arts and crafts (mission) style furniture and textiles. Elbert Hubbard died with the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 leaving his son Bert at the helm. Sadly, Bert did not have his father's flair for promotion and business management and Roycroft closed and was sold to a publisher from Indiana.
With the purchase of a set of these Hubbard book's, this shelf was included with the sale. Also shown in photo is a Roycroft rocker with footstool. The hammered copper pieces include a lamp with vellum shade from the Grove Park Inn, a 4.5" shoulder vase in Roycroft's Aurora Brown finish and a rare 7" American Beauty Vase.

During the height of Roycroft's production, Edwin Grove commissioned the Roycrofters to produce the furniture and classic copper lighting for his Grove Park Inn in Asheville which opened in 1913 to much fanfare. Today, we have the Roycrofters at Large Association that carry on the beautiful pottery, textiles, copperworks and furntiture of the Arts and Crafts era. Click on the link to find out more about this. Be warned: once you look into the Roycroft movement, you will be addicted. Their creed is:
"A belief in working with the head, hand and heart and mixing enough play with the work so that every task is pleasurable and makes for health and happiness" - John Ruskin.

Today, Arts and Crafts pieces are quite valuable; perhaps, you have some or recognize it from your relative's home. Names to look for in furniture are Limbert, Roycroft, the Stickley Brothers, Harden and many more. Pottery and art glass pieces include: Newcombe College, Roseville, Rookwood, Loetz, and many others. Metalworks include Dirk Van Erp, Roycroft, Limbert, the Stickley's, Benedict Studio, Avon Coppersmiths, Jarvie, and many others. All are very valuable and beautiful. They represent one of the best periods of Americans craftsmanship and ingenuity.
In the words of William Morris:
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

Stickley furniture has brought back a reproduction of the famous Asheville Clock. It is available wherever Stickley is sold which tends to be the priciest furniture and design stores.
Stickley Photo from Stickley's ad
Often it is fun to find these items of pottery, glass, and furniture at antique shops, estate sales and auctions. Please feel free to share what you have with us and its history.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) raised just $50 last quarter

from one donor, Ronald Donald, who gave $25 bucks to him twice in Q1. Campaigns are required to file for donations $200 or above, but I suppose if you don't have any of those, you might as well report something, as opposed to nothing.

Most Senators are raising millions right now, and Ensign would too, if he weren't caught up on in the C-Street ethics scandal and a lobbying scandal involving his mistress and her husband. Sen. Ensign shared a house with Rep. Wamp, who is running for Governor of Tennessee. Ensign sent Rep. Wamp $5000 donation to his campaign after his affair was known by Wamp.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Huge Upset at Keeneland. Owner of Stately Victor is Democratic Senatorial Candidate in Kentucky.

This can only mean good luck. Watch this exciting race in the run up to The Kentucky Derby. Just three weeks away, this dark horse is now assured of a spot in the Run for the Roses. Stately Victor was ridden by Alan Garcia. Trained by Mike Maker. Owned by Kentucky Attorney General and Senatorial Candidate (D), Jack Conway.

This is one great race. A $2.00 bet paid out $82.20. Whoot! Hurray to Jack Conway. Check out his site, here. Remember he will be up against the Teaparty King and Big Malcontent Rand Paul. Should be an exciting race in the fall too. Go Stately Victor! Go Jack Conway!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

VA Gov. proclaims April as celebrate slavery month

Guess this ends his chances for the Presidency. Today, Governor Bob McDonnel proclaimed April as Confederate History Month. At his site, he issued the following proclamation for Virginia:

Confederate History Month
WHEREAS, April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and

WHEREAS, Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and

WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present; and

WHEREAS, Confederate historical sites such as the White House of the Confederacy are open for people to visit in Richmond today, and

WHEREAS, all Virginians can appreciate the fact that when ultimately overwhelmed by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army, the surviving, imprisoned and injured Confederate soldiers gave their word and allegiance to the United States of America, and returned to their homes and families to rebuild their communities in peace, following the instruction of General Robert E. Lee of Virginia, who wrote that, “...all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace."; and

WHEREAS, this defining chapter in Virginia’s history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2010 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Whose independence would that be Governor? Surely, not the slaves. They didn't share in the independence at Appomottax. And while Virginia is learning about the Confederacy, don't forget to read up on Fort Pillow and Andersonville. Please make sure Virginians read the definition of what treason is, too. Of course, not all Virginians share your desire to celebrate Confederate History Month, especially those who view this as a way for you to insult Black History Month and our President.

Somehow, I don't see him going any farther than George Allen did and that was Governor of Virginia. This proclamation will be his macaca moment.