The Roycroft was a communal business and crafts colony founded in East Aurora, NY, in 1895 by Elbert Hubbard. It was one of several utopian societies that formed during the Arts & Crafts Movement (1880-1920) in response to the shoddy, mass-produced goods and overall soullessness of the Industrial Age. The Roycroft artisans became well known for their furniture, pottery, metal-work, and hand-printed, tooled leather books which exemplified the principles of quality, beauty, and the worthwhile life. The original Roycroft mark (the single 'R' shown above on the left) was trademarked by Elbert Hubbard in 1906. The Roycroft closed in 1938.
Inspired by the Roycroft and the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Roycroft Renaissance was born in the 1970s and a new community of independent artisans was established. To become a Roycroft Renaissance artisan, an artist must submit original artwork to a jury of Roycroft Master Artisans. Only artisans whose work exemplifies the following criteria are awarded the use of the RR mark:
- High quality hand-craftsmanship
- Excellence in design
- Continuing artistic growth
- Originality of expression
- Professional recognition
An artisan must be juried in annually to demonstrate continued excellence and growth. After five years, if the work is shown to be exceptional, the jury may elevate the artist to Master Artisan status.
In 1976, Rixford Jennings changed the design to incorporate two back-to-back R's signifying the Roycroft Renaissance for the Roycrofters-At-Large Association (shown above). When you see the RR mark on a piece of work, be assured it was made to the highest standards with the ideals of using “Head, Heart, and Hand.”
Roycroft Artisans at Modern Bungalow
At Modern Bungalow, we feature the artwork of the following Roycroft Artisans:
- Master Roycroft Artisan CJ Hurley centers his artwork on social, spiritual, and gender issues. The iconography of Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, western and eastern goddess mythology, religious studies, and eastern philosophy has inspired his work.
CJ and his wife Barbara Pierce work together and also create beautiful hand-painted interiors, and own a design and consultation business.
Julie Leidel has been a Roycroft Renaissance Artisan since 2016. She is currently the only Roycrofter that lives in Colorado. She has been nationally recognized for her paintings that evoke the feeling of yesteryear. Julie is inspired by all the textures of the original Arts & Crafts Movement (1880-1920) like metal, wood, glass, ceramics, mica, and letterpress. Check out our interview with Julie Leidel here.Julie Leidel is also inspired by the beautiful Colorado landscape, and the national parks posters from the 1930-40s. A selection of her Colorado paintings and Arts & Crafts paintings can be purchased here.
- Keith Rust was accepted as a Roycroft Renaissance Artisan in 2018. His artwork is inspired by woodcuts from the Arts and Crafts era that depicted the beauty of nature. Rust has created notable works such as Luminous Misty Falls and the Serene Half Dome that is a part of the Yosemite Park Series. Check out our interview with Keith here.
- Master Roycroft Artisan Laura Wilder was accepted in 1995 and elevated to Master Artisan status soon after. She makes wood block prints and paintings inspired by the beauty in nature, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the sweet, simple things in life. Laura hosts workshops and is nationally and internationally known for her expert printmaking skills. You can shop Laura's artwork here.
In 1976 a group of East Aurora residents with a common interest in the Roycroft Campus and the philosophy of Elbert Hubbard set in motion a plan to preserve those ideals which had made the Campus a center of the Arts and Crafts Movement. After several meetings and energetic discussion the Roycrofters-at-Large Association (RALA), was formed.
Today the non-profit organization is still actively working to keep alive the history and philosophy of Roycroft through special events centered on and around the Roycroft Campus, Through the efforts of Kitty Turgeon and the RALA organization the Campus became a National Historic Landmark.
The Roycroft Campus
Today, The Roycroft Campus in East Aurora, honors both the Roycroft Artisans, and the Arts & Craftsman Guild. This historic seven-building campus will inspire visitors to experience the creativity, and ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement.There's a wonderful museum about Elbert Hubbard, working artisan studio space where you can visit artists at work, the newly renovated Power House with a video tour, the chapel, and The Copper Shop, which has a beautiful art collection so you can take part of the movement home with you. No visit to the campus would be complete with out a visit and stay at The Roycroft Inn which is directly across the street.