Archive for the ‘Counseling’ Category

Charles+Rennie+Mackintosh=More than apple…

May 2, 2013

Charles Rennie Mackintosh came into the turn of the century art world with ideas of simplified lines…both straight and curved. It was almost as if he was saying to the Victorians, “Enough already!” In addition there was a lot going on culturally and politically in Scotland. Women were told to stay home and take care of husbands and children. Women could not own property, nor vote. Some women became activists for the cause of women’s rights, and some like Kate [Catherine] Cranston worked to evoke change in a different sort of way.

Kate had an idea. Since it was considered shameful for a woman to be in public unless on the arm of a man, she set about to provide places for women to gather for conversation and tea. She created The Willow Tearoom. Tired of the Victorian excesses, she commissioned talented designer Mackintosh to design the spaces including wall panels, chairs, tables…even the menus. Eventually there would be four tearooms in Glasgow all designed by Mackintosh and his artisans. Out of this style came the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau and The Glasgow School. The world seemed ready for these simplified designs. Germans had Bauhaus. New York had its Chrysler Building.

The original façade of The Willow Tearoom is on the historical record in Glasgow and furniture designed by Mackintosh is currently on permanent display in art museums in several countries. Kate’s vision for women met Mackintosh’s vision for a sophisticated gathering place. Not many can say they have impacted history by giving public space for the artisan to design. Few are able to describe their vision and see it through to completion. Open the tearoom and they will come. And they did.

Though Kate was not known to put paper to pencil, nor brush to canvas she was graced with the eye of the artist. Both she and Mackintosh were able to recognize and interpret the culture…that’s what artists do. Lots of people can tell you what they are against and there are few that can tell you what they are for. She had hopes for women. She witnessed the collision of Victorian culture and turn of the century values. Kate knew what she was for and knew what she was against…her life reflected both. She was for goodness and beauty. .. a life well-lived and I am also glad to call her my Grand Aunt Kate.

What are you living for?

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