Thursday, May 21, 2009
"To the best of my ability." This is the long-standing translation of the Flemish statement, "Als ik kan," adopted by Gustav Stickley as the motto for his wonderful and practical furnishings company, STICKLEY, circa 1901. To this day in up-state New York lies a true craftsman shop/production facility unmatched in today's furniture world. Gustav is long gone now, but a little town called Manlius, New York hosts artisans who still construct furniture to the standards by which all others should be measured. Birthed in 1905, two immigrant brothers, Gustav and Leopold Stickley, formed L. & J.G. Stickley. The rest, as they say, is history. The honest craftsmanship and practical design of solid wood joinery changed the world of furniture even to this day. Gustav has been termed, "the Father of the Arts & Crafts movement in America." Given the resurgence of Arts & Crafts style architecture in our country and around the world, it is not by surprise that this company continues to lead the industry. This picture shows the Morris Chair, inspired by William Morris, and the Settle as displayed in STICKLEY's High Point Showroom from this past Market. Both of these pieces are icons of the "Mission Movement." What you cannot see is how meticulously they are built. I invite you to zoom in on this picture and discover the inherent beauty of true quality workmanship.
I have had the glorious privilege of touring their factory and company museum due to the kindness of the Braden family, owners of Braden's Fine Furniture & Interiors. I am a "sawdust in the veins" kind of guy and I was absolutely blown away. The pride and joy I absorbed from every skilled artisan at work while there was awe-inspiring. No glitz or glam here, just honest and natural beauty. The deeper you look at a piece of their furniture, the more you fall in love with it. Using only solid Quartersawn White Oak, Wild Black Cherry, and Mahogany choice lumber, STICKLEY allows the creative spirit of humanity and the true essence of nature to dance together in perfect step. Every piece serves a purpose and every component to construct it has value. It is integrity. Any of their pieces will long outlive us here and now. It is instant heritage.
Connecting to our roots as individuals causes us all to reflect and dream at the same time. This is but a small example of this process being fleshed out into a practical and usable object of art and design. Born of the earth and still connected to it, as we all should be, is how I can best describe this truly unique line of furniture. For more information please visit http://www.stickley.com/ and enjoy the wonders of woodworking and fine construction.