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The Arts and Crafts Movement emerged in mid-19th century as a rebellion against the Industrial Revolution. Its adherents looked for reform in design and decoration, with a focus on the creation of beautiful, handmade objects. The Arts and Crafts Movement continues to thrive on both sides of the Atlantic. Throughout the UK and North America, national and regional gatherings are regularly held. Centers celebrating, displaying, and selling Arts and Crafts handiworks on both sides of the Atlantic receive thousands of visitors yearly.

Despite this success, there is very little awareness among Arts and Crafts people of the vital roles played by two of the movement’s nineteenth century founders in shaping their creative lives. The first is the great Victorian art and social critic, John Ruskin. It was Ruskin’s vision celebrating the importance, in one’s work, of uniting “Head, Hand, and Heart,” that inspired his contemporary, William Morris, to dedicate his working life to doing just that. Reading the works of Ruskin and Morris in the United States, another founder of the movement, Elbert Hubbard, was inspired after visiting England. He would come back to America and establish The Roycroft in East Aurora, New York, outside of Buffalo.

And so, we are excited to announce the collaboration between The Roycroft Campus, The Ruskin Society of North America, and The Guild of St. George (founded by Ruskin in the 1870s in the UK), in creating an international virtual Conference to tell the story of Ruskin and Hubbard in the establishment of the world-wide Arts and Crafts Movement. We invite you to join us each Saturday in October of 2020 to hear these stories. 

The Creation of the Arts and Crafts Movement

October 3, 2020 - 11:00am - 12:30pm est

From Rouen to Roycroft: John Ruskin and the Birth of the Arts & Crafts Movement

That the Arts and Crafts Movement began in the mid-19th century is well-known. That William Morris was integral to its beginning in the United Kingdom is similarly well-known. What is not as well-known is that the inspiration for Morris’ exemplary efforts was the most famous art and architecture critic in the UK, John Ruskin. In a series of remarkable best selling books–among them The Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice–and standing room only lectures, Ruskin made, for the first time, the impassioned case for treating all workers as creative beings, for providing them all with the chance to use their “heads, hands, and hearts” (his phrase) in their work. First Morris, and later, in North America, Elbert Hubbard, spurred on by Ruskin’s arguments, set to work making his liberating prescription come alive. This lecture is designed to introduce Ruskin to an Arts and Crafts audience, to make clear what his vision and essential contributions were to the A&C movement, and show how his insights remain critical to the future of the movement and to our troubled modern society.

Ruskin portrait by John Everett Millais 1854
John Ruskin portrait by John Everett Millais 1854

Dr. James Spates

Dr. James Spates

Dr. James Spates

Jim Spates is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. He is the Co-Founder (with Sara Atwood), in 2020, of The Ruskin Society of North America, webmaster of the blog site,, a Companion of Ruskin’s Guild of St. George, a Member of the Roycroft Campus Community, and a Member of The Ruskin Art Club in Los Angeles. With another Guild Companion, he has led—and plans to lead more!–various Ruskin tours in the UK and Europe.
For the last three decades, he has lectured regularly in both the UK and US, on various aspects of Ruskin’s life and work. He is the author of many published articles on Ruskin and of the book, The Imperfect Round: Helen Gill Viljoen’s ‘Life of Ruskin.’ Currently, he is writing Availing toward Life: The Radical Social Thought of John Ruskin, a book dedicated to making Ruskin’s masterpiece of social and economic criticism, Unto this Last, accessible to a new generation of readers.

October 10, 2020 - 11:00am - 12:30pm est

A Scottish Perspective on John Ruskin’s influence on the Arts & Crafts Movement

Why Scottish? Because Ruskin’s intellectual and cultural development was strongly influenced by his Scottish parents, his visits to Scotland and a number of key events in his life took place in Scotland. Moreover, Scotland is rich in architecture, art and craft of the Arts & Crafts Movement.
Ruskin’s influence was strong on three key organisations founded at much the same time, the Guild of St George (which he founded himself in 1871), the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (founded by William Morris 1877 but with Ruskin’s specific encouragement and support) and the Art Workers’ Guild (1884, whose members felt directly inspired by both Ruskin and Morris). All three organisations flourish exceedingly today and provide us with rich evidence that Ruskin’s ideas and principles have had an enduring presence. The lecture will contend that Ruskin influenced the Arts & Crafts Movement both directly and indirectly. The direct influence was transmitted by architects, designers and craftspeople born in the 1830s and 1840s, who read his writings and often had contact with him; pre-eminently Philip Webb, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and others of that time; and through architects, designers and craftspeople born in the 1850s and 1860s, pre-eminently Robert Rowand Anderson, Robert Weir Schultz and Ernest Gimson (who was both architect and also practitioner of designing and making some of the very best Arts & Crafts furniture). Ruskin’s influence has also been profound on ideas and best practice in the preservation and tender treatment of historic buildings of all kinds and on our past and current thinking about heritage. Finally, one or two current projects will be touched on that illustrate Ruskin’s passionate commitment to social reform and the practical exercise of compassion: in the end, ‘making lives better’ was what he preached and practised, together with his plea that we should deeply see the world around us. Truly and deeply seeing can be seen as one of the leading characteristics of the Arts & Crafts Movement.

Stained Glass, St. Martin, Brampton
Stained Glass in St. Martin, Brampton, England

Dr. Peter Burman, MBE FSA

Peter Burman

Peter Burman

Peter Burman studied art and architectural history at King’s College, Cambridge. His professional career has alternated between working for major heritage bodies (Council for the Care of Churches/Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, 1968-1990; National Trust for Scotland, Director of Conservation, 2002-2007) and University posts (Director, Centre for Conservation Studies, University of York, 1990-2002; Professor of Cultural Heritage Management, World Heritage Studies, BTU Cottbus, Germany, 2007-2012). He chaired the Fabric Advisory Committee of St Paul’s Cathedral, London for 20 years, and was Arts Adviser to Lincoln Cathedral (a cathedral particularly loved by Ruskin) for 10 years. He continues to be an adviser and consultant on heritage matters, including conservation and interpretation. His voluntary work has been rich and diverse over 40 years of engagement and his MBE was awarded for ‘services to historic buildings’. He is a member of the Art Workers’ Guild (1884) since 1973; a former trustee of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (1877); and a current Director of Ruskin’s Guild of St George (1871) with portfolios on International Relations and Craftspeople & Craftsmanship. He lives in an exceptionally beautiful heritage village, Falkland, about an hour’s drive north of Edinburgh in a house built c.1600 for the Hereditary Falconer to the Scottish Crown which was altered by one of his all-time favourite Arts & Crafts architects, Robert Weir Schultz, in 1893 for the 3rd Marquess of Bute, who owned the Falkland Estate at that time and was a Maecenas of the Arts & Crafts Movement.

The Creation of Arts and Crafts at Roycroft

October 17, 2020 - 11:00am - 11:45am est

Head, Hand, and Heart: Finding Ruskin through Roycroft

Heart, Heart and Hands: From Roycroft to Ruskin is about Kateri’s journey as an artist and teacher, beginning with a job as the overnight clerk at the Roycroft Inn, to a Google search that led her to John Ruskin’s Elements of Drawing, to becoming an artist-in-residence on the Roycroft Campus, which also led to her work being purchased by the Ruskin Collection at Museum Sheffield, UK. All along the way she began to understand the truth and necessity of Ruskin’s teachings that spurred her career as a professional artist and teacher, and it is those very teaching that form the foundation of her work as a teacher of watercolour and drawing.

Ruskin Quote
Ruskin painting and quote

Kateri Ewing

Kateri Ewing

Kateri Ewing

Kateri Ewing is the author of Look Closer, Draw Better and Watercolor Is for Everyone (Quarto Publishing Group), and is an artist-in-residence and teacher at the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora, New York. Her artwork has won numerous awards in both local and national exhibitions, and can be found in collections worldwide, including the Ruskin Collection at Museum Sheffield in the UK. She uses her Patreon virtual classroom to interact with her students around the globe, daily. She lives in Western New York. You can visit her on the web at

October 17, 2020 - 12:00pm - 12:45pm est

Ruskin, The Roycroft, and The Photograph

Roycrofter-at-Large photographer Peter Potter will introduce John Ruskin: the photographer. Ruskin was an early adopter of the photographic process and his thoughts about the medium changed through time. Some of Ruskin’s recently discovered lost daguerreotypes of Venice will be shared.

In America, the Roycroft was at the crossroads as photography evolved from a documentary craft to an expressive art. The Albright Art Gallery, in Buffalo, New York, hosted the first exhibit of fine art photography in the world in 1910 and an enigmatic polymath named Carl Sadakichi Hartmann was the nexus for this connection. His influence and his role on the Roycroft Campus will be explored, along with the work of local photographers in the Buffalo Photo Pictorial Movement.

Carl Sadakich Hartmann
Carl Sadakichi Hartmann, 1898 by Zaida Ben-Yusuf

Peter Potter

Peter Potter

Peter Potter

Peter Potter is a Roycrofter-at-Large Master Artisan in photography. For over 50 years, he has used his camera and refined post exposure processing techniques to present his vision of local and regional scenes. Peter grew up in East Aurora and in High School was a member of a club that explored the Roycroft called the Garcians. He started working at the Roycroft Inn in 1976 as a dishwasher and is currently a docent on the Roycroft Campus. When talking about his work, Mr. Potter comments: “My influences include Charles Burchfield, Charles Rohrbach, and R. Crumb. Burchfield inspires me with his spare palette, Rohrbach in his mastery of multiple styles, and R. Crumb with his intimate perspective and heavy texture. I try to represent how an item is held in my mind’s eye. To this end I use various devices to express those most distinctive characteristics that the subject left me with. I compose the image to highlight those features, and follow with post processing techniques. I approach each photograph with a different process, and usually use several programs to arrive at the final image. I consider a photograph a success if the viewer shares my vision.” For more information on the Roycrofters-at-Large Association please visit their website here.

October 24, 2020 - 11:00am - 11:45am est

Hubbard’s Roycroft: Ruskin’s Inspiration Then and Now

Elbert Hubbard was a charismatic entrepreneur who found inspiration in John Ruskin—the artist, social reformer, conscience of his times, and William Morris—designer and craftsman. Their Arts & Crafts Movement, the seeds of which were planted in the United States by Hubbard and others, manifested itself at Roycroft in East Aurora at the end of the 19th century. Even beyond Arts & Crafts, though, there was a magic that arose in 1895 on South Grove Street and continues to suffuse both the Roycroft Campus and Inn and the very idea of Roycroft. Join writer and lifelong East Auroran Rick Ohler, who grew up in the shadow of the Roycroft Inn and who continues his relationship with Roycroft daily at his Print Shop studio, for a ramble around the Campus. He will present stories, photos and history that will help you see that the magic of Roycroft is alive and well in the 21st century.

Twilight at the Printshop - credit Peter Potter

Rick Ohler

Rick Ohler

Rick Ohler

Rick Ohler is a lifelong East Auroran who grew up with the Roycroft Campus just beyond his backyard. He discovered the magic of Roycroft at an early age and continues to experience it during almost daily visits to the Campus. For many years, he and his sweetheart, co-presenter and artist Kateri Ewing, have shared a studio in the Roycroft Print Shop, where he offers classes in memoir and family history writing. In addition to teaching, Ohler writes for the weekly East Aurora Advertiser, producing feature stories and authoring a bi-weekly column, “View from Right Field,” which has won five New York Press Association awards. He has written extensively on Elbert Hubbard and Roycroft. His biography, “Elbert Hubbard: From Larkin to the Lusitania,” written in 2005 for the centennial celebration of the Roycroft Inn, is available at

October 24, 2020 - 12:00pm - 12:45pm est

The Art and Craft of Hubbard’s Roycroft

Elbert Hubbard found his inspiration through the writings of John Ruskin and the art produced by William Morris and friends. Hubbard’s dream was to create his own special “utopia” in America where craftspeople would continue in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement. This overview of Elbert Hubbard’s Roycroft Shops will explore the work that was being created between the years 1895-1943. This span, of almost fifty years, will be broken down into four Periods, which will be placed in historical context by way of production and the quality of craft being created. The focus will be on the Roycroft publications, but some examples of other media including copper, stained glass and furniture will be discussed.

Alta (Hubbard) Fatty illuminating a page
Alta (Hubbard) Fatty illuminating a page

Alan Nowicki

Alan Nowicki

Alan Nowicki

Mr. Nowicki came to the Roycroft Campus in April of 2010 by way of PBS, after working on the documentary, Elbert Hubbard: An American Original. He is responsible for all classes and programming on the Campus, including tours, instructors and workshops, the Roycroft art shows, the Roycroft Film Society and Book Club, and special events throughout the year. He also maintains the Campus website and gives talks on Roycroft History throughout the region. He has 15 years of experience working in educational programming, professional development and community outreach. Mr. Nowicki has also been a teacher for more than 20 years, having taught in every grade level from Pre-K through college, specializing in art and history. He currently teaches an Art History course at a local college.

Books of the Arts and Crafts

October 31, 2020 - 11:00am - 11:45am est

Ruskin Between the Covers: Some First Editions

While all, or most of us, have read copiously the writings of John Ruskin, some may not have actually encountered the objects in which Ruskin’s ideas actually appeared, that is, the first editions of Ruskin’s books. In this lecture I propose to show and discuss some of these books. Included will be Salsette and Elephanta (1839), Ruskin’s Newdigate Prize Poem; first editions of all 5 volumes of Modern Painters (1843-1860) with an autograph letter; an interesting association copy of Unto This Last (1862); and an almost complete set of the individual pamphlet issues of Fors Clavigera.

Stones of Venice
"Stones of Venice" 1st edition

Robert Knight

Robert Knight

Robert Knight

After graduating from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, and the University of Toronto, specializing in English Language and Literature, Bob taught high school for 25 years. Inspired by Ruskin’s ideas encountered in a Victorian literature course, Bob began to collect first editions of Ruskin’s books. Bob has a large collection of Ruskin first editions, Ruskiniana, autograph letters, and three-dimensional objects. He continues to collect! (Unfortunately, according to his wife!!!!) He lives in Niagara-on the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.

October 31, 2020 - 12:00pm - 12:45pm est

Continuing the Tradition – Roycroft Books Today

For most of his life, Dr. Weber has been studying and collecting Roycroft books and printing material, including some of the original Roycroft presses. When the Campus re-acquired The Print Shop in 2015, Dr. Weber helped to establish the press room once again. This presentation will discuss the process of creating a functioning, turn-of-the 20th century, printing shop, and a demonstration of some of the books that are being created using similar techniques as the original Roycrofters.

Dr. Joe Weber

Joe Weber

Dr. Joe Weber

Dr. Weber has been a member of the Roycroft Campus and the Roycrofters-At-Large Association for the past decade. His special interests have been the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the field of printing, especially Roycroft books. He has been engaged in writing Roycroft-related publications, developing the techniques of Roycroft printing and construction, and working on the re-opening of the Roycroft Print Shop. Besides these efforts, he has also spoken on typography and book illumining.


Registration is $50 (U.S. currency) per person and covers all five weeks (eight presentations). Individual presentations are not available for purchase.

To register please click here

When your registration is processed, you will receive a confirmation. If you do not, please contact us to confirm your registration by phone 716-655-0261 or email You will receive a final email confirmation with login information several days before the start of the conference.

Participation and Viewing

Due to the current health crisis around the world this Conference will be done virtually through Zoom. If you have not participated in a Zoom meeting before, you may need to download a free app for your computer or phone to participate.

Course participants are responsible for providing their own means for attending. Technology assistance will not be available during presentations.
New to the Zoom video conferencing platform? Perform a Zoom test ahead of each session. [ Test Link ]
If you are unable to join the meeting, visit the Zoom Support Center for useful information. [ Support Link ]
Newcomers to Zoom, you will need to download an app. The Zoom website has many instructional videos to teach you how to use it! [ “How To” Link ]

Technical Considerations

Participants will need a relatively modern device (PC, MAC, TABLET, PHONE) and strong/reliable internet access.

While Wi-fi can work if your home/office has excellent connectivity, a wired internet connection to your device is highly recommended.

You can test the speed of your internet connection by visiting An upload speed of 10mbps or greater is advised.

If internet access is being shared in your home/office and others are downloading or streaming video at the same time, you may experience connectivity issues.

Close other applications running on your computer before joining the Zoom session.

Some Saturdays will have two speakers. There may be a short 10-15 break in between presentations. Attendees are welcome to keep the connection open during this down time and step away from their computers.

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