Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman Image

Later, he would find inspiration from William Morris in terms of design and philosophy toward ecology and worker’s rights and open a manufacturing business of his own. His style of furniture was unlike his competitors as his material was primarily wood, while others went more “industrial” in design.

To boost sales, Stickley would hire Irene Sargent to bring “romance” to his catalog descriptions. Her style of writing was so captivating that Stickley would create Craftsman magazine. Irene wrote the entire magazine and he gave her credit. Next came Harvey Ellis, whose incredible full-color illustrations would allow readers to see how Stickley’s furniture would look in your home.

“…effectively make a case of Stickley’s importance in American history, particularly in the arts…”

While I found the life and work of Gustav Stickley fascinating, Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman as a documentary that leans heavily on the educational side. I’m not sure if Stratford’s film will find a broad audience, but I know anyone interested in the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1900s will find Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman a riveting watch.

Stratford makes ample use of Stickley’s photo archive (which is small), surviving magazine pages, and actual pieces of Stickley’s that made it to antique dealers and museums. He enlists an informative and enthusiastic crew of historians to tell his story as there is no film footage of Stickley himself. They effectively make a case of Stickley’s importance in American history, particularly in the arts during the turn of the century.

Herb Stratford’s Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman is a compelling documentary about the life and work of furniture designer Gustav Stickley. I guarantee you’ll learn something new about a time in American history that most people know very little, and that makes watching this documentary worth it.

Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman (2020)

Directed and Written: Herb Stratford

Starring: Gustav Stickley, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman Image

"…find inspiration from William Morris in terms of design and philosophy toward ecology and worker’s rights…"

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  1. […] of the designer and furnishings maker thought of the daddy of the American Arts and Crafts motion. Movie Risk calls it a “riveting watch” for anybody keen on early 20th-century design. Unrated. Obtainable […]

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