Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Morris on my mind

I confess. I have a never ending fascination with William Morris (1834-1896), particularly Morris & Co wall paper and textile design. He led an extraordinary life as an architect, writer, poet, publisher, artist, designer, and founder of the British Arts and Crafts movement. Through out his life, Morris sought to unify art and craftsmanship and railed against what he perceived as a loss of this ideal in the industrial revolution. Morris believed that the creative labour that went into producing beautiful things had the power to improve the lives of individuals. At a very deep level this appeals to me as a designer and maker of quite utilitarian things.

My work yesterday is a direct extension of my love of Morris & Co and Arts and Crafts design. I was absolutely obsessed with the acanthus leaf and all its design possibilities. The acanthus leaf is seen in many examples of Morris design as a background, border scrolls around text, wallpaper. The use of the acanthus leaf as a design motif date way back to Greek and Roman architecture. I just happen to really like the Morris versions. I found myself repeatedly isolating fragments of these designs in sketches and some of my scribbles are making their way into clay models for buttons and pendants.

I’m pretty excited. I’ve been scribbling these leaves for years and just didn’t know what to do with them. And that Morris philosophy of designer and creator justified an otherwise pretty slow day. Maybe even improved my life a little….certainly justified staying swaddled up on the sofa on a bitter cold icy day.

If you’d like a bit more info on Morris, the William Morris Society is a great start.

Happy day to you all, LeAnn


Lorelei said...

oh cool. we have some wall paper that looks kind of like this in our collection. I wonder if it's William Morris!

SummersStudio said...

You should check that wall paper out! If it is Morris, the colours will be stunning, in a way that just won't show up in the little picture here.