Live, Love, Work: The Roycroft Legacy

| December 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

Live. Love. Work.  More than a slogan, this was an invitation to a way of life. The term was coined by Elbert Hubbard (1853-1915), a soap salesman turned philosopher of the Arts & Crafts movement.

Hubbard also put forth such positive reinforcement as “Aim High and Consider Yourself Capable of Great Things”  and “The Love You Liberate In Your Work Is The Only Love You Keep.”

In 1890s, when the rich broke the bounds of their ennui with adventure travel, the working class

The Roycroft Logo

de-urbanized in intended communities. Elbert Hubbard’s Roycroft Community in East Aurora was among them.  Their goal: a better life through artistic pursuit.  Men and women who had never experienced a creative thought in their lives suddenly found it possible to nurture their inner artisan.

Through a stepped training program, the members of the Roycroft community  produced oak furniture, hammered copper war, wrought iron items, leather crafts and a line of bound books.

“Roycroft”was an old-world term that meant the quality of something was good enough for the king. It’s also a nod to the Roycroft brothers, who were Fifteenth or Sixteenth Century book makers in Europe.

Roycroft furniture is characterized by  Mission-style furniture of quarter sawn oak, with a few issues made of maple and mahogany.  The furniture’s  straight lines tend to be devoid of decoration, except for occasional bulbous feet or brass tack trim. The beauty is in the materials and craftsmanship.

Roycroft copper items – lamps, bowls, trays, candlesticks, bookends, desk items and smoking accessories, for the most par – are hammered, producing an organic texture that makes a simple items stunning.

The Roycroft Campus makes a great destination, although it is unlikely you will want to make the trip during Americana Week in NY.  East Aurora, NY is upstate and the best time for a visit is the spring. In the meantime, you’ll find more by visiting The Roycroft Campus.



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Category:, Furniture, Historic, Museum, Uncategorized

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