Craftsman Weekend Focus: The Craftspeople of the Craftsman Movement

Published : Friday, November 1, 2019 | 4:10 AM

In the big picture, architecture is the art and science of making sure that our cities and buildings fit with the way we want to live our lives. Bjarke Ingels

Craftsman Weekend is nigh and Pasadena  Heritage, shepherd to many walkers, bicyclers, drivers, and riders come from far and wide, also schedules a compelling lecture series recalling the craftspeople who were emblematic movement’s flesh and bone.

The event, Pasadena Heritage would like you to know, is the “the largest most comprehensive celebration of the Craftsman Movement in the Western United States.”

The renowned bus and walking tours, an Exposition Show and Sale, exclusive receptions, and a silent auction will all be clustered around the lecture series.

 


For a full schedule of Craftsman Weekend, which runs from November 1, 2 and 3, click here


 

Dr. Robert Winter was not an architect or plastic artist in the Craftsman mold, but he wrote extensively enough on the movement to place it firmly in the history of architecture.

This year, Pasadena Heritage will launch the inaugural of the Dr. Robert Winter Lecture Series, Nov. 2 (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.), which will be given by historian Ann Scheid.

Also year Blinn House, The Gamble House and The Pasadena Museum of History will be co-hosting the inaugural Dr. Robert Winter Lecture Series, (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.), commemorating the late architectural writer who was still with us during the last Craftsman Weekend.

His “An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles” (1965), co-written with David Gebhard, is a mainstay in architectural libraries, and though he never designed a craftsman home, he practiced his own craft in one built by movement tilemaker Ernest Batchelder.

“Bungalow Bob” passed in January leaving behind a lifetime of writing in titles such as “The California Bungalow,” “American Bungalow Style,” and “Batchelder Tilemaker,” with a uniquely local flavor and his recent passing in January means this event has a “can’t miss” cast to it.

Arthur and Alfred Heineman will be the subject of a talk by John G. Ripley, who co-authored “Pasadena’s Bungalow Heaven” with Julianna Delgado. The title of his talk will be “A Fresh Look at the Heinemans,” on Saturday, Nov. 2 (9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m).

“The talk will incorporate recent research giving a broader and deeper view of their architectural practice than has previously been available, including newly-discovered works,” according to Pasadena Heritage.

The siblings were architects who, with no formal training, left an indelible imprint on Pasadena’s landscape and the direction of architecture in California.

What we know for now is that Arthur Heineman formed a construction partnership with his builder brother Herbert. Eventually, he teamed up with his other brother, Alfred who eventually became the primary designer for the team.

While not related to Pasadena, it is worthy of note that Arthur Heineman is credited with inventing and designing the world’s first motel, the Milestone Motel in San Luis Obispo, which opened on Dec. 12, 1925.

Unable to register “Motel” as a trademark, he dropped plans to extend the concept for business purposes.

For our purposes, what is important is that the duo co-designed a number of Craftsman-style houses in Pasadena.

Among them are: the Parson House on East California (1909-19); the L-shaped housing built in Bowen Court at 539 East Villa Street (1910-12); the American Craftsman at 674 Elliot Drive; the Craftsman at 1186 West 27th Street; and a “Cotswold” style house at 1233, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The masterpieces were confections of two guys who were unregistered architects. They continued to build until about 1939.

During the nineteens, owning a custom-designed house was a sign of upward social mobility and the Heinemans were available to design “ultimate bungalows” in the Craftsman style for these nouveaux riches of Southern California society, some of them “south of the freeway” in Pasadena.

The Arts and Crafts movement was more than a cultured current of the construction industry as will be made evident in Susan Futterman’s Nov. 2 (2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.) lecture on Pasadena artist Frances Gearhart (1869-1959), “Behold the Day.”

Gearhart, said Pasadena Heritage, “was embedded in the time, place and ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement.”

She will discuss Gearhart’s color block prints of the California landscape as the personification of the handcrafted aesthetic.
Futterman wrote an essay in the catalog for the Pasadena Museum of California’s exhibition, “Behold the Day: The Color Block Prints of Frances Gearhart Paperback” (2009).

According to Annex Galleries, which sells Gearhart’s work, she was born in Illinois in 1869, but raised in the Queen City. A teacher of English in the Los Angeles public school system, her artistic specialties included woodblock printing and watercolors.
She studied art in the east with Charles Woodbury and Henry Poor. Her first watercolor exhibition consisted of California landscapes. Years later she began her journey as a self-taught block print artist, influenced primarily by woodcutters Pedro de Lemos and Frank Morley Fletcher, according to Annex.

She joined the Print Makers Society of California in 1919 and became one of the organization’s driving forces. Her Pasadena studio was opened as an exhibition space for the society. The color woodcut was featured and artists from Europe and Britain both exhibited and became society members.

She and her sister May were given a two-person exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but her work was appreciated beyond the region in which it was crafted. The Prairie Print Makers and American Federation of Art put an exhibition of her block prints on tour in 1930.

In the metropolis of art, New York City, she enjoyed a 1933 exhibition of prints at Grand Central Galleries, and show at the Brooklyn Museum and American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Gearhart died in Pasadena, California on April 4, 1958.

Other lectures include: “From Craftsman to Midcentury – Influences of Pasadena Architecture,” 11:00 am to noon, Dave Nufer, Pasadena Heritage researcher and docent, 11 a.m. to noon; “The Craftsman Era – A Time of Change for the American Kitchen,” Marguerite Duncan Abrams, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 

 

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