Arts & Crafts Inspirations


Navajo Wool Rug in Graphic Red, White and Black (LEO Design)


Wherever an Arts & Crafts movement was to be found, one would also find references to that region's early history, literature and ancient cultural themes and symbols. The movement's anti-industrial DNA sought to incorporate remembraces of "pure and better times" in its contemporary design.  In the American Arts & Crafts Movement, one of the recurring and popular themes was the cultural aesthetics of Native Americans.  Indians were the original immigrants to the Americas—and they were the only ancient peoples on the Northern continent.  Thus, if the American Arts & Crafts Movement was to incorporate ancient North American aesthetics, it makes sense that inspiration would come from the arts and artifacts of these ancient people.  In England, Medieval knights and heraldry brought "Olde Time Authenticity" to English Art & Crafts.  In Scotland and Ireland, Celtic decoration was revived as aesthetic embellishment.  In Germany and Northern Europe, characters from fairy tale folklore sometimes populated the German Jugendstil or "National Romantic Styles" of Scandinavia.

In the United States, Native American themes were sometimes incorporated directly into the design work of non-Indian artisans (be it pottery, metalwork, or textiles).  Alternatively, authentic Native American craftworks (baskets, ceramics, textiles) were sometimes used within Arts & Crafts interiors—as decorative embellishment for the room.

The woolen Navajo carpet from the Twenties, shown above, boasts a wonderful symphony of red, black and white graphics.  Such a handsome rug would look wonderful in an Arts & Crafts interior—or in a Southwestern, Spanish Mission, Modernist or Eclectically-Assembled room.  Click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248