A group of artist-craftsmen and women who have influenced me like no other is the Wiener Werkstätte. Established in 1903, the Wiener Werkstätte (engl.: Vienna Workshop) was a production community of visual artists. The workshop brought together architects, artists and designers whose first commitment was to design art which would be accessible to everyone.
One great trip that I took in 2006 was to Vienna where I went into the Majolica House (designed by Otto Wagner in 1899), which was being re-furbished and I got onto one of the balconies with the amazing tile work.
While I won’t go into their history now, I will mention that the Wiener Werkstätte was influenced by the work of the Viennese Secessionists, who were in turn influenced by the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I did find a decent, very introductory video to the Wiener Werkstatte here.
From 1903 to 1933, the Wiener Werkstätte produced furniture, glassware, textiles, leather goods, enamel, jewellery, postcards and ceramics. It was also decided only to approve objects of outstanding individuality and beauty, and great value was put on exclusive and exquisite craftsmanship. Each piece left the workshops with the hallmark of the Wiener Werkstätte as well as the artist-craftsman producing the work.
Wiener Werkstätte logo
Josef Maria Olbrich,
I designed my hallmark about three years ago based on the stark, graphic designs of the Wiener Werkstätte artists.
I greatly admire the functional and beautiful, exquisitely crafted work of these artist-craftspeople. I love their motto:
“Better to work 10 days on one item than to manufacture 10 items in one day.”
Today I ordered a thermofax screen with my hallmark so that I can ‘sign’ my work before it leaves my studio. For a couple of years now, I have intended to start making some smaller sized work that will be accessible to more people than my larger and commissioned pieces. I am designing and working on some small pieces that people might like to have in their homes, to live with and use everyday, and my intention is to make things that people will find both beautiful and useful.
Image source: wikipedia