Arts And Crafts Edward Johnston ... enjoy!

You know when you go looking for something and you find something else? Well, I found this and have retyped it faithfully to to share with you. It is one of five articles I plucked from The Times when doing a little Edward Johnston research a few years back at the University of Canberra ... and oh how relevant it is today ... all but eighty years later ... read on:

The Times, November 19, 1934; pg. 8; Issue 46915; col C

Arts And Crafts Edward Johnston.
Category: Letters to the Editor
Full Text: Copyright 1934, The Times



Sir, -- May I take this opportunity of thanking Sir Reginald Blomfield for his letter which appeared in your issue of the 10th instant, recalling to Mr. John Milne (and other readers of The Times) the work of the Arts and Crafts Exhibitions Society? I fear, however, that the wording of Sir Reginald’s letter may convey the impression that the society no longer exists. Actually it has existed without a break from its foundation in 1888 and continues to hold exhibitions every few years. The society expects to have an exhibition in the near future.

May I refer also to a passage in Mr. John Milne’s letter in to-day’s issue of The Times? Writing of the forthcoming exhibition of British Art and Industry Mr. Milne says:--

“The forthcoming exhibition is mainly concerned with the application of design to modern processes of machinery, which, however we may regret it, has superseded the craftsman.”

Without the craftsman there can be no design in that sense of the word which connotes aesthetic value. In this connection the engineer may be regarded as the craftsman, and the aesthetic value of his work is likely to be in proportion to its fitness for purpose. Unless the design arises out of the actual construction of a thing it is reduced to the level of extraneous ornamentation. Design, in fact, is inherent rather than applied, and the “application of design” to mechanical processes suggests an attempt to get the best of both worlds by trying to secure the appearance of craftsmanship without it’s substance.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
President, Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, Ditchling, Sussex.


Mo Crow said…
well said nearly 100 years later... will we ever learn?
Gemma Black said…
Well Mo,

Humans as a whole I feel will push an idea or a way of being so far until collectively we realise our folly and rise up and start to make changes for the better.

Possibly at the same time something else is going out the window but that too - in time - will be moderated for the better. I know this sounds a bit weird but I believe in humans. It may take a couple of generations but it will happen.

Well that's my theory anyway.

Thank you for your post.


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