Roycroft Motto: The Joy of Self Expression

Roycroft Motto - Self ExpressionRoycroft Motto:  Nothing is of any value excepting that which you create for yourself, and no joy is joy save as it is the joy of self-expression.
1909 Roycroft Motto Catalogue; Digitally enhanced scan

My trip to Victoria was absolutely wonderful.  A highlight was meeting with the owners of the Waterglass Studios and fellow blogger, Hostess of the Humble Bungalow, to talk about our love of all things Arts and Crafts.  I’ll be sharing a tour of Suzanne and Patrick’s home and shop as well as the home of their good friends who I would venture to say have one of the best collections of Arts and Crafts movement pieces in BC.

You know those times when you meet someone and you feel like you’ve known them all your life?  That’s why visiting with master craftsman Wil van der Pijl and his wife was such a great pleasure.  It was also a wonderful opportunity to see his stunning wood motto plaques as well as all of the other home furnishings and items he has handcrafted.

Our friends treated us royally over the three days to fabulous food including crepes with whipped cream and fruit for breakfast, a lovely steak barbeque and our favorite type of eating on Saturday, antipasti and wine.  They also introduced us to Chocolate Shop Red Wine for dessert–and yes, I thought they were crazy and just couldn’t believe that a wine could taste like chocolate.  There is no other way to describe it except heavenly….rich, dark chocolate tones and cherry bursting onto your tongue and palate.  Our friends purchased it in the US and brought it home but we are trying to find out if it is available for purchase somewhere here in the Lower Mainland.  They also treated us to an hour of kite flying.  They found out that flying a kite was one of my bucket list items when they visited last time and decided to surprise me.  Once my kite was up in the air I couldn’t stop laughing and it really did make me feel like a kid again.

Then we headed off to the Royal BC Museum for a special evening, The Museum Amplification project.  This immersive, performative installation featured 10 groups/artists who performed while we were able to wander freely through the exhibits.  It was a challenge as my hip was very sore and we didn’t get around to seeing everything but spoken word poet Jeremy Loveday on the Discovery Ship was my favorite with one of his last poems of the evening entitled, I Think of the Children.  It touched me quite deeply and has remained with me since.

I smiled when he referred to “snot nosed wonders” as he swiped his hand under his nose in the child-like gesture, I thought of my brother when he referred to “worm cutters” and my daughter with the words, “kindergarten chemists stirring up everything in their lunch kits”.  In one line he talked about how each morning children awake,  “further from God and closer to the forgetful strength of adult-hood” and I couldn’t help but think of how children lose their innocence, especially in this day and age full of violence-visions of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon flickered quickly through my mind.  The last few lines of his poems spoke directly to my heart,  “child, hold on to your wonderment” and “let the dandelions of your heart grow wild.”   It is those final words that have stuck and caused me to deepen my commitment to pursuing my dream of painting fine art.  I enjoyed all of Jeremy’s poems and even though this was my first experience with performance poetry something tells me it won’t be the last.

Since the weekend was a “retreat” I spent a goodly part painting.  There is nothing that quiets my soul and forces me to take care and be present more than putting a brush to canvas.  Before heading to Victoria I took at big step and joined the New West Artists group and that means I can participate in an upcoming showing called Art Squared 2013 to be held at the Network Hub in New Westminster’s River Market from June 7 – 9. I have completed two canvases and plan on finishing a few more.  On June 6, New West Artists group is also hosting Visual Verse 2013 where artists and poets are matched up–after being introduced to Jeremy’s poetry, it is definitely an event I need to attend.

The Roycroft motto above just seemed so appropriate and resonated with me today because of the joy of self-expression that characterized my entire weekend in Victoria.

Motto Monday: Roycroft Philistine Daily Living Advice

Roycroft Motto Cultivate SmallRoycroft Motto from The Philistine (back cover) dated January 1900, Vol. 10 No. 2
I scanned this from one of the chapbooks in my personal collection.  It has been altered digitally by removing several pencil marks and age spots.
Cultivate poise ~ Talk less and listen more ~ Reserve your best thoughts for the Elect few ~ Be gentle, and keep your voice low.

This is one of my favorite mottos because of the quaint daily living quotes but also because of the lovely leaf border and the Roycroft box at the bottom.  I’m wondering who the W references–W. W. Denslow, one of the Roycroft illustrators perhaps?

Motto Monday: Every day is the best day of the year

Emerson Best day Motto Card Susan L. Greig Graphic DesignWrite it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.  Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is a scanned vintage postcard that I have adjusted digitally.


Art is the Uplifting of the Beautiful

Art1 copyArt is the uplifting of the beautiful so all can see and enjoy.
This quote comes from Vol. 14 No. 5 Issue of The Philistine, produced by Elbert Hubbard.  The card is an antique postcard that has been scanned and that I have adjusted digitally.

This past week an individual who does not know me essentially challenged me about my process and inspiration related to my style of painting.  It was a bit of a disconcerting thing to have happen but it has been worthwhile because it really forced me to face how I view my own ability to create art.  For many years I’ve never given myself credit, thinking of myself as “just” a children’s furniture painter or a faux furniture finisher and have discounted and questioned my talent for fine art.  Being challenged about my process has helped me to understand where I have come from, how I’ve grown as an artist and it has proved to be a very powerful affirmation that painting is something I really need to pursue.

Motto Monday: The Most Certain Way to Succeed

Our Greatest Weakness Edison_SLG Motto

The motto I created this week has real meaning because last week I accomplished a personal goal that I’ve been working on for about 15 years.  And it was easy.  I believe it was in Andrew Weil’s book, Eight Weeks to Optimum Health where I read that each time you try to  [eat better, exercise regularly, quit smoking, insert your own personal challenge here] and fail, you build up a reserve of experience, knowledge and fortitude.  Then one day something inside clicks, you find you have the built-up inner strength, and if you try just one more time it all seems effortless.

Motto Monday: A kind thought, word and deed

roycroft motto kind thought arts and crafts bungalow

Try these:  A kind thought, a kind word, a kind deed – Elbert Hubbard
Roycroft Motto
Just good sensible advice for every day living.  You can’t get any simpler than this.

Motto Monday: Arts & Crafts Beauty by Craftsman Wil van der Pijl

The Lyfe so short, The Craft so Long to Lerne – Geoffrey Chaucer

While snooping around Craigslist over the past few weeks I stumbled across these beautiful wooden mottos and arts and crafts frames.  Craftsman Wil van der Pijl, who lives in Victoria, BC, is responsible for the creation of these stunning  hand-crafted pieces. He very kindly wrote something about himself and his work.  His company name is Woods of Wisdom.
Wil van der Pijl Arts and Crafts Motto

Wil van der Pijl

I’m 53 years old, born in the Netherlands and a proud husband of my beautiful wife Mary, daughter Denise and her husband Quinn, my Son Marc and Daughter Kimberley. And of course I am a very proud grandfather (Opa) of my two beautiful grandsons Ethan and Mason.

I thoroughly enjoy my part time job as a childcare worker in which I have the opportunity to work with adolescents who have mental disabilities. My hobbies include Photography, Reading, gardening, Rocks and minerals, nature in general and mainly reading and researching of the Arts and Crafts or Craftsman era.
1 Wil van der Pijl Arts and Crafts Motto

My Craftsman philosophy
Nothing out of place or without function; comes back in the near austerity of my own designs. Very few, if any, decorative enhancements are needed when the materials used are of outstanding beauty. There is a joy of working with solid wood, to see the grain come to life under ones hands, a grain that, surely, can not be created by man’s hand alone.

Arts and Crafts interiors are warm and inviting with colours that make a person feel welcome inside that home. The warmth of the colours in the lighting, linens and woods give the person – be it owner or guest – the right feel, being: I belong here.

“Als Ik Kan” is in the Logo of Gustav Stickley’s furniture it is Dutch for “As I can” or “As Wil van der Pijl Arts and Crafts Tile Framegood as I can”. Through my Dutch heritage I feel that I was naturally drawn to the Arts and Crafts era.  Finding inspiration in the designs of Gustav Stickley, William Morris, Dirk van Erp, Greene and Greene, Charles Limbert, Dard Hunter, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Harvey Ellis etc, I was able to incorporate my own design elements and sometimes combine theirs.

Designing and building my own Craftsman furniture has been a hobby of mine for approximately fifteen years and in that time I produced most of the furniture in our own home. Since we live in a new Arts & Crafts revival home it seems to fit just right.  So far the Inspirational or contemplative plaques are a try-out for more diverse products such as clocks, bookstands and, if my items find a market I would like to move on to larger pieces of furniture.

It would be wrong of me not to give credit my dear friends Laurie and Gerald who, so generously, let me work in their beautiful workshop.  So far I have posted my ads for these plaques on websites such as and All beginnings are small.

Wil van der Pijl
Wil van der Pijl Arts and Crafts Motto2Wil van der Pijl Welcome Arts and Crafts Mott



Wil van der Pijl Arts and Crafts Frame DetailA new and upcoming design
GK Chesterton copy1