Craft, Decorative Arts, Interior Design, textiles
What Would William Morris Think? On the Digitization of his Wallpaper.
Posted by artbooks
February 6, 2015
Ivy Sanders Schneider –
During his life, the writer, designer, and social activist William Morris struggled with a basic conflict between his livelihood and his liberal beliefs. A staunch socialist, Morris believed art should be made with care and craftsmanship, and that work should be an essential, joyful part of life, instead of an obligation. However, because Morris insisted that all of the designs from his company, Morris & Co., be created with the utmost attentiveness, the company’s output – textiles, furniture, stained glass, illustrations, wallpapers – were of an exceptionally high quality and highly sought after, which was reflected in their prices. As a result, his business relied on the patronage of the upper classes, meaning that even as he personally opposed the stratification of society, his works served as a status symbol for the wealthy.
Morris never fully resolved this basic tension, but as a progressive thinker and futurist, he likely would have been excited about Historic New England’s new project to digitize 6,000 samples of wallpaper from the past 300 years, including over 30 of his own designs. The collection includes unused and immaculate samples, scraps salvaged from the walls of old New England homes, scenic panels, scrapbooks and even papers used to line trunks or fireboards.
Along with historical commentary, Historic New England provides incredibly high quality scans and photographs of each of the artifacts. If you zoom in closely you can see the places where the colors are slightly offset, where some were applied too heavily and began to bead, and even where inks were tested on the paper’s crinkled edges. With older or damaged wallpapers, you can see the tiniest tears and even the stippled texture of the paper itself.
Incredibly beautiful, informative, and available for free to anyone with internet, Historic New England is democratizing the access to these incredible works of art and design, an undertaking Morris surely would have supported.
For more about Morris’s life and works, look to Anarchy and Beauty, the new book by Fiona MacCarthy, who explores Morris’ artistic and social endeavors and the friction between the two.
Ivy Sanders Schneider, a sophomore English major in Yale College, is an art & architecture intern at Yale University Press.
好宅周報 織品壁紙大師William Morris 紅毛城展風華
花鳥 動物 瓜果 150年的時髦
William Morris（1834~1896）是19世紀最有影響力的設計師，尤以織品花紋及壁紙圖樣見長，作品以田園、花鳥、動物、瓜果等元素，演繹大自然景色，深受世人喜愛，優雅、美好的恬靜氣質，更得到許多日本貴婦的青睞。逾150年的歷史，是什麼樣的作品，充滿著令人著迷的自然魅力呢？這一切可能要從William Morris本人談起。
William Morris，除了是設計師，也有詩人、作家、譯者、出版商、古蹟保護運動者的身分，更是英國社會主義運動發起人。Elementi元素實業╱雅緻軟裝配置師呂美貞表示：「William Morris生在富裕家庭，小時候過著愉快的田園生活，後來創作的許多圖案，都是以那個時期為靈感來源。」William Morris早期作品為彩繪玻璃，後來轉移至壁紙、織品、家具、壁磚等商品。
1851年，William Morris 17歲時去參觀英國倫敦世界博覽會，對當時工業化的醜陋產品感到震驚、厭惡，忍不住放聲大哭。他厭惡如同複製的量產標準，使工業與藝術背道而馳。後來與朋友投身「美術工藝運動」，提倡從自然中汲取素材，為日常生活用品注入藝術性，並創造大眾理解和接受的設計風格，也逐漸引起普羅大眾對藝術的認識。
【William Morris 品牌小檔案】
William Morris歷史悠久，品牌以MORRIS＆CO為標誌，上方THE ORIGINAL字樣強調正統性，下方特別強調是創立於1861年的品牌。
Live with nothing but beautiful, useful objects
The day before his Jan. 20 inauguration, U.S. President Barack Obama helped paint the walls in an emergency shelter for homeless teenagers.
It is simple to give a room an immediate makeover with a new coat of paint. But it's another thing altogether to expect the United States, a superpower, to change overnight.
I think the young people who will live in that facility, going to sleep and waking up in those blue-walled rooms painted by none other than their president, will face each day with renewed hope.
The more time you spend at home, the more you will be influenced by what's in it. Changing the color of the walls can affect your moods, while gazing up at an old familiar ceiling may help you regain your equilibrium. And sometimes, you can be cheered by a familiar piece of furniture or dishes on the table.
An exhibition co-sponsored by The Asahi Shimbun titled "Life and Art: Arts & Crafts from Morris to Mingei" opened Jan. 24 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno. The show, which runs to April 5, features works by William Morris (1834-1896), the British interior decorator credited with starting the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Also featured are works by Muneyoshi Yanagi (1889-1961), founder of the Japanese Mingei (folk craft) movement.
When Europe's industrial civilization entered its expansionary period in the late 19th century, Morris turned his back on its materialistic concepts and instead sought value in nature and handmade objects. His classic "Strawberry Thief" textile design was apparently inspired by thrushes he saw stealing berries in his garden. His decorative tiles and wallpapers are also "alive" with animals and plants rendered with exquisite craftsmanship.
In his belief that art should exist to bring happiness to the masses, Morris also became involved in the socialist movement. But ironically, because he shunned mechanization, his works were too pricey for the masses to afford. Most products ended up decorating the stately mansions of capitalist entrepreneurs. It was a few more decades before the "democratization of art" took root.
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful," Morris insisted. His defiant sense of value continues to challenge our eye for beauty today. It is not easy to pick just one special item out of an ocean of mass-produced goods that are useful and look nice.
Perhaps I could start with a special drinking glass of my own.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 25(IHT/Asahi: February 2,2009)