This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
AS a suitable manual of elementary design which might be studied concurrently with Mr. A. Ernest E. Clarke's "Handbook of Plant Form" (B. T. Batsford), recently noticed in these pages, we had intended to give particular attention this month to the excellent text-book by Mr. C. F. Dawson, head-master of Accrington Municipal School of Art. The fulfilment of this purpose, however, must be deferred until more space at our disposal will enable us to do justice to the volume. In the meantime we take pleasure in calling attention to a smaller and more elementary manual on the subject, by Mr. John Carroll, entitled " Pattern Drawing and Design," and of reproducing a couple of its pages as specimens of "the application of geometrical drawing to the construction of ornament and the planning of patterns." When we say that the examples we show are from the more advanced ones of the book, it will be judged that this little manual may safely be given to a student having only a slight knowledge of plane geometrical drawing. In fact, anyone who can use a foot-rule and set-square may begin to construct such ornamental patterns as constitute the first quarter of the contents, and, with the additional aid of compasses and a set-square of 6o°, will find little beyond his powers even in the most advanced of the lessons that follow. The first two examples on each page are given for the beginner, and the last for the more proficient pupil. [London: Burns & Oates, Limited, Orchard Street. Price, 1s. 6d.]
In reviewing "A Handbook of Plant Form," by Mr. Ernest E. Clarke, through a slip of the pen we described him as " Headmaster of Derby Technical College." We should have said, "assistant art master." Mr. Thomas C. Simmonds, A.R.C.A., we are informed, is the headmaster, and has been for twenty years.
Interlaced Celtic Ornament.
Design for a Tile in the Moorish Style.
From John Carroll's "Pattern Drawing and DesiGn." (Courtesy of Messrs. Burns & Oates, Ltd.). See page 211.
Charts of Artistic Anatomy.
Under the somewhat inadequate title, "Artistic Poses," a striking series of twelve coloured plates of the male and the female nude figure in repose and in action, drawn fully half the size of life, has been prepared by Dr. Robert J. Colenso, M.A., former lecturer to the South-West London Polytechnic Institute and to the Camberwell School of Arts and" Crafts. The introductory studies are shaded drawings, relieved against a dark green background, so that at a demonstration they would easily be visible in an ordinary-sized lecture room. These are followed by views of the model with the skin removed. The muscles, as we all know, are formed by peculiar tissue called "muscular tissue"; its property of contracting under the influence of nervous action when controlled by the will is well expressed in the poses of the model in action as depicted in these plates. We note that the muscles of the face are not included; but it is easy to understand that the mechanism in the movements of the physiognomy is too special for Dr. Colenso to have found it convenient to indicate it with that of the muscles of the trunk and the limbs. - London: Messrs. Bailliere, Tindall & Cox, 8, Henrietta-street, (Covent-garden. Price 25s. net.
A Useful Little Machine.
A Treadle fretsaw machine, called "The A I Machine," which meets with all the requirements of the fretworker and marquetry cutter, is now manufactured by Hobbies, Ltd., of Dereham, and sold at the moderate price of 21s. All the parts are interchangeable, so that in case of accident to any of them a duplicate of the damaged part can be obtained and the repair executed without difficulty. The framework is of japanned iron, and its special construction does away with the unpleasant vibration characteristic of many cheap treadle machines. The table is adjustable and can be tilted to any angle for inlaying. The arms work on machined knife edges, giving an exceptionally free and smooth motion. They are kept from bending by means of trusses, and have connecting links which prevent the arm flying off the knife edges. By an ingenious arrangement of the machinery the main bearing .and knife edges are parallel, thus ensuring remarkably accurate working of the saw. The machine is also fitted with patent lever clamps which securely grip the finest saw- blades, and are so arranged that the lever cannot fly back and loose the tension of the saw.
Sound Furniture for Amateur Decoration.
It is a genuine pleasure to call attention to the excellence of the furniture made by Venelle Bros., of Gosport. Although designed especially for the purposes of the wood-carver, pyrographer, or marquetry stainer, it is so good in material and design, and so sound in construction, that even for ordinary domestic purposes it may be honestly commended. There are tables, log-boxes, book-racks, stools, seats, cupboards, frames, pedestals, screens, clock-cases, chairs, settees, and a variety of other objects, special designs for carving being also supplied for each article. An oblong table, with shaped top, which the present writer recently bought for his own use, may be taken as a fair example; it is soundly constructed of well-seasoned timber, while the dovetailing and the fitting of the joints leave nothing to be desired, and yet the price, in oak, is only 7s. 11d., or in basswood, 5s. 11d. No nails are used, but each piece is screwed or ingeniously fitted so that anyone, however inexperienced, can put the table together. This furniture is so superior to the ordinary fixed whitewood goods sold by the fancy dealers, that it is surprising that it can be sold so cheaply. It is interesting to learn that the head of the firm, under whose personal supervision all the work is carried out from start to finish, is an experienced carver and art teacher. We may add that a great deal of architectural work is done by the concern, and that a speciality is made of carrying out customers' own designs.
The Schoolmaster's Year Book and Directory for 1905 is a bulky, well-written volume of nearly six hundred pages packed with information, concisely edited and logically arranged. It responds to every test of accuracy that we have applied to it on general matters of Secondary Education in England and Wales. (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd., 25, High-street, Bloomsbury.)
Handicraft versus Machine Work.
The advantages and limitations of handicraft and machine work was the theme of an admirable address delivered recently before the Haslemere Microscopic and Natural History Society by Mr. Luther Hooper. As manager of the prosperous Haslemere Silk Weaving Works, and with his long experience in technical work and design, the lecturer spoke with authority. In defining the terms "handicraft" and "machine work," he said handicraft was not mere skill of hand acquired by constantly practising one particular movement or set of movements. In fact, the same uniform and uninteresting qualities which they deprecated in machine work might be, and often were, produced by the hand, which by constant mechanical practice and repetition had been degraded to the level of a machine. Work deserving to be dignified by the name of handicraft must be produced by the more or less skilful hand under the constant direction of the thinking power of the worker. Handicraft implied that the hands and tools of the worker were under the direct and deliberate control of his brain, and the excellence or otherwise of his work would depend exactly on the artistic power and judgment he possessed and brought to bear upon it.
With much ability, Mr. Hooper reviewed his subject from two points of view - namely, that of the quality of work produced and the effects, respectively, of handicraft and machine work on the worker. The latter, he pointed out, was the more important consideration inasmuch as what a man was to become was more vital than what little thing he made. He believed in the use of machines and labour-saving appliances, providing the work done by their means could not be better done by hand. If large numbers of things were required exactly alike and a machine could be constructed to make them, why in the world should it not be used? It would save, perhaps, many men, women and children from monotonous, uninteresting, and in many cases unhealthy labour if used under proper conditions and restrictions. We must, however, see to it that the machine-made articles were as good for their purpose as the hand-made ones, and that the material was as good and strong and unadulterated as it appeared to be: that no finishing or heating or dressing was resorted to in order to enable the maker to sell his product cheaply or to make dishonest profits. That was the test to apply to all machine work, and that was the very point on which it was in most cases unsatisfactory. Up to a certain point and in certain subordinate positions the machine was a good, useful and economical servant, hut it was surprising at what a low point its limit was reached. It could make nails and screws and pins and needles, it could saw and plane wood and iron, cut mortises and bore, punch and drill holes. It could wind and spin thread and weave cloth for commonest use. It could print cheap books and newspapers, calicoes and wall-papers, it could even make pigs into sausages, and a host of other things that did not require any judgment or art in them, but it could not make a horseshoe or a yard of velvet worth the name. Its perfection was a dead level of uniformity, unpleasing and dull, and its limitations of ornamental or other art were ghastly, vulgar, and pretentious failures. In short it could not give the impress of thought and mind to its work which render the simplest specimen of true handicraft more or less interesting and satisfactory.
One undoubted advantage which handicraft conferred on the consumer was that it afforded him a reasonable chance of getting what he wanted and believed to be suitable for his special purpose, because in the treaty for it he came nearer to, if not, as was best, in actual contact with, the maker of the piece of work. He could order and confer, advise and decide, and in the end get something that had not only given pleasure, interest, and profit to the worker in making, but insight be a perpetual joy to the purchaser, because exactly fitted for the purpose for which he required it. Not only were works of handicraft likely to be specially fit for the purchaser's use, but he was sure to get better value for his money if he spent it in that direct way. Again, handicraft was of much advantage in that it gave an individual or personal quality to any work produced, and it was that expression of the artist's self which made it interesting. In order to give that quality to his work the craftsman must be well and conscientiously trained. It was sometimes with truth objected to work shown at Arts and Crafts Exhibitions, that though picturesque, it lacked good workmanship. That should not be. The technical should quite keep pace with the artistic training, and the artist-craftsman must see to it that no fault could be found with his work on that score.