So, this happened today….
I sat in the Dalai Lama’s chair – the one in the photograph (above). The actual one. It is located at the Stickley Museum, 300 Orchard Street, Fayettevile, New York 13066. It’s on the second floor of the Fayetteville Free Library.
The building was the first home of the Stickley factory. The area is now mostly residential but back in the early twentieth century, it was a hub of industry due to its proximity to the Ledyard Canal.
I had no idea of this incredible history nor an idea of the amazing artifacts and furniture I would encounter today. I am a huge fan of Stickley. I have nine pieces in my personal collection.
The brothers Stickley went their separate ways. J.G.’s wife sold his company to the Audis. Mr. Audi was one of the top salesmen for the brand and was considered family. There is a photograph showing them all at a dinner party together in the late ’50s right before J.G.’s passing.
I just love this, because it ensures a continuation of a great legacy. The Stickley name is synonymous with the Craftsman style. The Audis resurrected this style in the late ’80s, creating a Mission renaissance. The current company’s factory is down the road in adjacent Manlius, New York. There they create a diverse collection of contemporary and modern Colonial style goods, as well as continuing to make traditional Mission-style furniture (now made slightly larger to accommodate twenty-first century customers with bigger houses and more clothes to fill dressers).
Included in this museum are original items owned by Gustav Stickley including those formerly and famously owned by Barbara Streisand, some of which were photographed for the cover of one of her record albums.
I gasped when I first entered the space. I had been photographing the room on the first floor, which is filled with Stickley furniture and used as a gaming center, in addition to quiet reading. Four women were there playing Mahjong and there was a sign for a sewing club. I thought that was the museum until I saw the sign to take the elevator up to the second floor. And…wow.
There I was greeted by Amanda L. Clifford. She’s the director of the museum. She is a Syracuse University graduate with a degree in Art History and a devoted employee of the Stickley organization. Ms. Clifford has a wealth of information at her fingertips regarding the craftsmanship of the furniture and how it has evolved through the century. Her knowledge of each of the Stickley brothers’ individual and group/partnered trajectories and of Harvey Ellis, the architect who was employed briefly by Gustav, was just so informative.
*The Harvey Ellis furniture is identified by iconic floral inlays. He died before he saw any of his beautiful designs put into production! So tragic.
The museum is open Tuesday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm or by appointment. There is also a Stickley factory tour you can take (1 Stickley Drive, Manlius, New York 13104). Visit their website at www.stickleymuseum.com or call (315) 682-5500. <3