"After the Baroque faded slowly away, eighteenth-century architecture consisted primarily of revivals of previous periods. This time was to be the calm before the storm, for the approaching Industrial Revolution was to change everything about the world as it was then, including architecture. Previously, building materials had been restricted to a few manmade materials along with those available in nature: timber, stone, timber, lime mortar, and concrete. Metals were not available in sufficient quantity or consistent quality to be used as anything more than ornamentation. Structure was limited by the capabilities of natural materials. The Industrial Revolution changed this situation dramatically".1
The arts and craft movement appeared during the late Victorian age in England in the late 19th century, as well as in America. It was a result against the industrial revolution and mass production to elevate the craftsmanship and man labor. The movement fluctuated from one country to the other. In England the art focused on the gothic style, colorful and realistic patterns. On the other hand, in America the arts and craft depended on the materials. The designs were prominence in texture, color and form. Since industrial revolution had a great impact on hand crafted art, the invention of the machine created a new social class the middle class. William Morris, the father of the arts and craft movement, was born in walthamstow; Essex in England, on March 24, 1836.He was a book designer, painter, writer, and a producer of textile, wallpaper, and stained glass. Morris was a leading member of the arts and craft movement. He believed that the art had no value because of the way people were living during the industrial revolution. Morris also believed that all the arts should be inspired from nature, and all artists should go back to the times before the invention of machine. The movement struggled to keep the pride of work of the people. The members of the arts and craft movement created a group called the crafts guild to support the working environment and produce high quality design. They went through many changes in names such as the guild of handicraft, the century guild, the art works guild, and the guild of Saint George. In 1882, William Morris formed the first guilds the century guild. The century guild inspired William Morris in founding the kelmscott press by publishing a journal called "Hobby Horse" to encourage the printing craft as a form of art.
John Ruskin, another member of the arts and craft movement, was born in England on February 8, 1819. He was an English art critic, social thinker, poet, and an artist. Ruskin he had a passion for art, literature and travel. He was best known for his studies of architecture and its social and historical implications .John strongly believed in individualism and uniqueness of hand crafted art of the workmen. He also believed if given the chance the workmen would produce valuable and beautiful work of art." We are always in these days endeavoring to separate the two; we want one man to be always thinking, and another to be always working, as we call one gentleman, and the other an operative; whereas the workman ought often to be thinking, and the thinker often be working, and both should be gentlemen, in the best sense." 2
People in the past depended on the pride of their work they produced. Arts and any product were produced by hand. They worked very hard for their daily income. Hand crafted art was unique in its design, detail and color. The craftsman put his effort in producing theses beautiful one of a kind piece. T of a new social class had an impact on the crafts a well. There were two kinds of social class the rich and the poor. The poor had no money to purchase such valuable arts, because they were very expansive. So the arts were one of a kind and not everybody had one alike. Industrial revolution introduced the middle class, because of mass production the one piece became two and every type of social class could afford the piece of art. William Morris in one of his writings talks about " the carelessness and "ugliness" wrought by modern industrial society and its " progress", the confusion of luxury with art, the slavery of the worker to the mechanical toil, and the scarring of physical environment with a pervasive disregard for the beauty of nature and simple living"3.
So the question is has industrial revelation cause the loss of uniqueness of art form?
Before the invention of machine workmen were limited to certain ways and materials. They did not want to change the traditional way of designing, because it meant losing the pride of working hard to produce. Machine changed everything, but people still were against anything that didnââ‚¬â„¢t involve their hard work. They were attached to their ways of building and the traditional way with traditional materials. They thought that the rise of industry put man labor to death, because the machine was taking over. People were looking for products that define their character. Mass production caused to produce duplicates in the products and people were very tired in having the same furniture and art. They wanted something of their own that symbolize their own way decorating their house room or office to define their personality in art.
Although Mass production caused the loss of uniqueness of art? Or has it?
In my opinion I donââ‚¬â„¢t really think that mass production cased the loss of uniqueness of art form. Machine is a machine that man controls and produces with help of man. Yes, itââ‚¬â„¢s a break away from traditional ways and materials. Le Corbusier talks about the tools are the result of "successive improvement" and" the effort of all generation is embodied in them "going back to the past and present. He states that "the tool is the direct and immediate expression of progress". He explains in his book that society needs to develop the old to improve to stand strong such as religions and houses deteriorate when civilizations change.4 According to le Corbusier he accepted the machine but respected the work of hand courtship. He believed that societies needed to develop and except the machine, because it's only an enhancement in the creative mind of humans and that they had a hand in controlling the machine. So people of the past had to develop with current era. The creativity was not lost because of a device. Simplest details, colours and details give each and every piece art its own meaning. Each product in the machine is never produced identically the same. There is simple difference that separates them from each other. People have their own creativity in adding their own ways of details and taste that give each design its own identity. Many products today are produced in an environmentally friendly process with different kind of materials with the hand of hand craftsmanship. Also they are very affordable in price. The idea of uniqueness comes deep within a person and their own idea to express their self and their own sense of style.
1- The introduction on the second page. Retrieved on April 10, 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://science.jrank.org/pages/1073/Building-Design-Architecture-Industrial-Revolution-new-materials.html
2-John Ruskin quote. Retrieved on April 15, 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://anc.gray-cells.com/p_jr.html
3- Mallgrave. Francis. Harry, Architectural theory v.II edition an anthology from 1871-2005. Date of publication August 2008 by Wiley-Blackwell. Page 8. Form William Morris, from" the prospects of architecture in civilization (1881), in hopes in fears for art. Boston: Roberts Bros., 1882, pp. 212-14.
4- Le Corbusier, towards an architecture, Paris. France Published 1923. Page 13-14