Metalwork was an important part of the Arts and Crafts movement for several reasons.
Metalwork items are something that the typical family encounters in many aspects of daily life. Vases, bowls and trays are all examples of things we interact with regularly and hence their quality of construction affects us both in our sense of quality (they should be reliable) and aesthetics (they should be pleasing to the eye). Since the Arts and Crafts movement eschewed cheaply made mass produced goods, the small articles of daily life were an excellent opportunity for the designers to show the average consumer that there was a alternative choice to go with a better quality item without paying an excessive price. Furthermore these kinds of items were an excellent canvas to demonstrate the importance of a beautiful, spiritually fulfilling design on our quotidien life. Unlike furniture, these articles are more econimically accessible in that they don’t require such large outlays of cash. They therefore invited the buyer to take a risk with a small amount of money in order to prove that the investment in a higher quality item was worth the extra expense. Arts and Crafts products of all types are more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts, but paying more for a vase is not as painful for the typical consumer as paying two or three times as much for a bed or a desk.
Many of the furniture makers such as Stickley and Roycroft also produced lines of metalwork as a means of introducing new consumers into the world of Arts and Crafts through ‘entry-level ‘ products such as vases, trays, bowls etc. so that the buyer is allowed to acquire a taste for ‘better’ items before trying to convince them to buy a large piece of furniture. Some manufacturers such as Heintz and Sorensen only made metalwork and their work is every bit as important.