Making beautiful things accessible: The Cuala Press Project Angela Griffith, assistant professor in History of Art, looks at an extraordinary Irish printing press and how Trinity Virtual Library and the Schooner Foundation, are opening it up to the public T he making of beautiful things and the celebration of the craftsperson were the creative driving forces behind the Arts and Crafts movement which originated in Britain in the late 19th century as a reaction to the industrial revolution and its mechanisation of art and decoration. The movement, which spread to Europe and north America, stood for traditional craftsmanship and deployed designs inspired by a range of sources from an imagined romantic chivalric past to the flamboyance of art nouveau and modernist subjectivity, while advocating economic and social reform to bring about more egalitarian societies. In Ireland, the Arts and Crafts movement found expression in a number of seminal initiatives including internationally renowned stained-glass companies such as the Harry Clarke Studios and An Túr Gloine, the cooperative where Wilhelmina Geddes and others created masterful, innovative designs. The female-run initiatives of the Dun Emer Industries and later The Cuala Industries dominated their respective fields in weaving and needlecraft, and it was there that Elizabeth Corbet Yeats revived and sustained the practice of hand- printing and book design in Ireland.
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