[originally posted January 2022]
In 2000, Stickley launched a new program with an experimental goal: to create a unique, limited-edition Mission piece that was available to customers for just one year. An item that was especially popular might find its way into the permanent line in a slightly altered form, but the original, to make it truly collectible, would be discontinued after 12 months. The program was embraced by both devoted Stickley collectors and newcomers looking for their first Stickley piece (an “entry-level” Stickley, so to speak). Attesting to the program’s success, this month we introduce our 23rd Collector Edition!
There was little history of limited editions or collector pieces at L. & J.G. Stickley to draw from. The first and only example we know of from Leopold’s era was the 3021 table advertised in 1956 as “An Exclusive Collector Item Design Privately Produced with the Leopold Stickley Signature.” The timing coincides with the year Leopold was named “Revered Dean of Cabinetmakers” (an honor bestowed by editors from House Beautiful, Fortune, Town and Country, The New Yorker, National Geographic, The American Home, Better Homes & Gardens, Holiday, House & Garden, and Living for Young Homemakers), so it’s possible that production was limited and that the table was offered to Stickley dealers as a special item commemorating his lifetime achievement.
In 1988, an original Columbus Avenue Sideboard produced by Gustav Stickley made a name for itself when Barbra Streisand bought it at auction for a record price of $363,000. The Audis introduced a reissue of the piece in 1990 with a limited production of just 100—the first limited edition of the Audi era. This was followed by a 50-piece limited production of the Grove Park Inn Clock, commissioned by the inn in 1995 based on an original work designed by the Roycroft shops. A slightly smaller adaptation of that design, the Asheville Clock, was added to the Mission collection in 2005 and is still available.
A yearly treat
The year 2000 saw the first of Stickley’s annual Collector Edition offerings, the Millennium Chest, which kicked off the program we know today. For the first time, production was limited by time rather than by number of pieces, and a specially designed medallion was affixed as a collector’s mark. Each year that followed, a new piece was created, always in the Mission style and often inspired by original Gustav or Leopold designs.
Versatility was a priority, and modern features were occasionally added to broaden a piece’s usefulness. Sentiment could also play a role, as when the 2011 Wedding Mirror, with poetry by Gibran Khalil Gibran engraved on the reverse, was designed to honor the marriage of Edward Audi and Laila Kobrossy Audi.
Another appealing feature of the Collector Edition program is the opportunity to own a piece from the very first factory cutting. Customers who order in the first month receive a numbered plaque affixed to the interior that commemorates this distinction.
For 2022, Stickley is proud to unveil the Meadowflower Cabinet, a brand-new design in the style of Mission but imagined from a modern perspective by Director of Design Marissa Brown with inlay by Associate Designer Joe Dunaske. Given the challenging pandemic year we’ve all struggled through, they sought to create an inlay that would send an empathetic message to Stickley’s customers. Joe found inspiration in the Victorian practice of floriography—popular at the birth of the English Arts and Crafts movement—in which species of flowers were assigned meaning and used to convey unspoken sentiments to the recipient.
Joe settled on cornflower and mint, a combination that “can tell a friend they are thought of and loved during a difficult time.” He turned this into a 10-inch-high inlay design in the spirit of Harvey Ellis, even drawing 11 points on each flower so that a pair on the cabinet would total 22, symbolizing this new year.
The Meadowflower Cabinet is at once a tribute to the longevity of Mission design and construction and a versatile piece equally at home in a traditional setting or a modern room. The top is elevated to create a breezy open shelf, in addition to the adjustable shelf inside, and a classic Mission-style knob lives alongside the new inlay design. The cabinet works as a bedside table, kitchen organizer, lamp table, coffee station, bookcase, entry console, and more. Think of any room, from the mudroom to the home office, and you can imagine a place in it for Meadowflower. We consider it a beautiful, deserving addition to the Collector Edition story.
Mrs. Aminy Audi, CEO and Chair of the Board
Amanda Clifford, Director, The Stickley Museum
Joe Dunaske, Associate Designer