What I found at the Grove Park Inn…

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Annual Arts and Crafts Show at the Grove Park Inn

This Sunday we set off with our friends Suzie Miles and Sheila Nucchelli for the stunning show of furniture, ceramics, Tiffany lamps, textiles, tiles, and art of the Arts and Crafts period, which was roughly around 1870-1919. This was the period of Frank Lloyd Wright, Stickley, the Roycroft Movement, and amazing art pottery (Newcomb, Dedham, Greuby, Rookwood, etc.), Byrdcliffe, William Morris and so much more.

The Grove Park Inn was built at this time and has traditionally been decorated in Arts and Crafts style, which is why the show is held there annually. The movement was a reaction against mass production and emphasized the handwork of the individual. Also, elements of nature and geometrical shapes were important in the designs of this era. Think: a weeping willow tree design on a Tiffany shade or a graceful sprig of daffodils on a Rookwood vase.

We ambled into the Inn on a dreary Sunday afternoon, believing we had about three hours to visit the show, but much to our surprise and regret, the show was scheduled to close at 4:00, just 30 minutes from our arrival. We revved our engines, and sped through the antiques at mach speed, taking in gorgeous furniture, lamps, textiles, ceramics and copper objects. I saw several Rookwood vases I would have loved to own, but alas, their prices were too high for me. We also fell in love with some charming tiles, framed in simple oak frames.

The thirty minutes flew by, and we were ejected from the ballroom, like Cinderella when the clock struck twelve. As we were leaving the area, though, we were attracted to a display near the elevator. Beautiful worn tools in unusual shapes and designs were displayed on an illuminated wall, and Ron stopped in his tracks, always fascinated by tools

The tools had been the tools of Dirk Van Erp, the premier coppersmith and lamp maker of the Arts and Crafts Era. About six months ago they were discovered by a modern-day coppersmith, Matthew Mackie. Since then, Mackie has been working on Van Erp’s gorgeous workbench, using his tools to craft copper pieces. He has been endorsed by the Van Erp Foundation and sort-of adopted by the remaining family members.

Mackie kindly talked with us about Van Erp, Dirk Koperlager van Erp was a Dutch American artisan, coppersmith and metalsmith, best known for lamps made of copper with mica shades, and also for copper vases, bowls and candlesticks. His work is worth fortunes of money, if you can find pieces on sale. 

He then allowed me to photograph him using the tools and a special enormous stump to form a bowl of copper. Amazing how he resembles Van Erp! That made my day, almost like meeting Van Erp himself.IMG_0530