Talk about pilgrimage! “I wanted to examine the roots of the Movement where it began, in Britain,” says Ellis, who founded Arts & Crafts Tours in 1992. Since then, she’s planned both British and American custom Arts & Crafts tours, delving into the Movement, its antecedents and its crafts.
Ellis produced the 1981 exhibition about Gustav Stickley and was among those who established the Craftsman Farms Foundation at his New Jersey home. She’s produced conferences for Hotel Pattee in Iowa, overseeing design of its period rooms. But touring is the passion she shares with clients ready to go past standard tourist attractions. “A small-group tour is ideal for the inexperienced traveler, too,” Ellis says. “We get them out of London and into astonishing places to meet amazing people.”
Organized in concert with historic houses, art museums, and preservation organizations, personalized tours normally are attended by just 12 people. A handful of tours each year are preplanned; others are specially created for an individual or a group. Recently they’ve had an in-depth focus: British ceramics, say, or embroidery and needlework. Guides are art historians, curators, university professors, and collectors. Accommodations balance luxury and charm; besides small luxury coach, trains and public transportation are used.