This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
The distinctive field chosen by our magazine is indicated by the title. As a periodical of practical art it will be unique in this country, although publications on similar lines have attained great prosperity in the United States. That there is room for such an enterprise here, where perhaps half a million persons are more or less practically interested in art, hardly admits of discussion. Even the magazines whose province it is to deal with art chiefly from the literary or critical standpoint tacitly recognise the fact by giving technical articles from time to time and promoting prize competitions specially calculated to interest the practical art student and art worker. This serves, however, only to whet the appetite for more solid fare - for such fuller technical instruction as it is to be our province to supply through the medium of this magazine.
But Arts and Crafts is intended not only for those who are studying with the purpose of following art as a profession or a trade: it is equally for those tens of thousands of cultivated men and women who, mostly self-taught, are quietly pursuing in their own homes and for their own pleasure then-various artistic occupations. We are, of course, well aware of the tendency to belittle or wholly ignore the efforts of the amateur in art. It is a tendency we deplore. It is not only unjust, but unwise. It is unjust because much of the work of the amateur nowadays is entitled to serious consideration; and unwise because, whether for good or otherwise, the work of the amateur, under the powerful aegis of society and fashion, and dominating a thousand county bazaars and exhibitions, is bound more and more to influence the artistic taste of the nation. It is a force to be reckoned with and directed; certainly it is neither to be sneered at nor ignored. After all, in Art we all are students, whether labelled "amateur" or "professional," and it is not to be forgotten that the professional may have something to learn from the amateur in return for the instruction the other is able to impart - often, perhaps, rather as the result of fuller technical experience than of superior talent or taste.
"Recipes" will be what some of our critics will call the suggestions for treatment of designs for painting that form part of our plan of instruction. But what of that, if the suggestions are used only as suggestions - which is all that is intended for them. The studies from Nature, too, given as models, are meant to be used only as suggestions - never as "copies." On this point we cannot insist too strongly.
We desire especially to be useful to that large number of clever students whose "designs," submitted for commercial purposes, are summarily rejected because of the ignorance they indicate of the fundamental technical requirements for designing for the art trades. And these contributions are equalled in ineptness and surpassed in numbers by the reams of impracticable drawings intended for reproduction, submitted to publishers. We think we may promise that no regular reader of the magazine will fail from such a cause.
Naturally, we have tried in this, our first number, to meet so far as possible the expectations of the student and art worker in each and every department to be covered by the magazine, and no less naturally, owing to restriction as to space, we have had to let much that was intended for the present issue stand over. When we say that among the articles, drawings, and designs thus omitted are those associated with the names of Mr. Walter Crane, Professor Legros, and Mr. George H. Boughton, R.A., who kindly allow us to draw freely from their portfolios, the reader will know how to sympathize with an editor in his embarrassment of riches.
We have only to add that the idea of Arts and Crafts has been hailed with a degree of encouragement from influential quarters that augurs well indeed for its success, while, on the commercial side, the prospects of the enterprise are significantly indicated by such an array of business announcements, both in point of character and number, as is rarely found in the initial issue of any periodical.
And so we submit the first number of Arts and Crafts. It does not yet quite reach our own high ideal, but it will be found, we trust, no unpromising indication of the full measure of success to which we may soon hope to attain.