Shaker style originated in the 18th century. Named after the Shakers, a Christian community of settlers, which originated in Liverpool and emigrated in America during the 18th Century.
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Who were the Shakers?
The community known as the Shakers was founded in Liverpool in the 1700s by Ann Lee, a woman who went on a mission to discover a religion more spiritual than that of the Church of England. They sailed to America in 1774 to avoid religious persecution for being non-conformists. The Shakers designed large buildings for groups of people. Minimalism was the main feature of their architecture that would greatly influence the Shaker style.
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Shaker Style Architecture
The Shakers were famous for their architecture and handcrafts. Shakers served God and, in so doing they did everything with care creating a distinctive style of architecture. It gave importance to simplicity, utility, and fine craftsmanship. They focused on simple lines and durable materials. Wood molding was used to shape windows and doors, but it did not change the concern with the overall feel of simplicity. The Shakers typically used warm colors.
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Shaker furniture and handcrafts dealt with the concepts of order, utility, and durability. The discarding of any unnecessary ornament came out with distinctive simple furniture, colored in red or ochre. Furniture was made of cherry or maple that was sometimes stained. Collections of Shaker furniture are maintained today in the United States and the United Kingdom. The key elements of Shaker design inspired many designers of modern furniture.
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Shaker Style: Important Artists
Tabitha Babbit (1784-1858): Not much is known about Tabitha Babbitt today. She lived in the Harvard Shaker community in Massachusetts. She became an American Shaker toolmaker and, probably, projected the circular saw.
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Isaac Newton Youngs (1793 – 1865): he was a Shaker. He designed furniture, transcribed hymnals by hand, improved his village’s waterworks, worked on the Church Family dwelling, turned more than a thousand clothespins on a lathe, and laid a new floor in the dairy.
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