On William Morris

I’ve become interested lately in the writings of William Morris, more famous now for his graphic designs, but quite an engaging thinker and theorist. Morris was prolific as a writer, craftsman, designer, painter, and typographer. His work in the ‘decorative arts’ included book design, calligraphy, furniture, paintings, drawings, stained glass, tapestries, textiles, and wallpapers. He was a founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, and was also involved in the Socialist movement.  You can read more about him here.  His work resonated with the hippies in the 60s and 70s, and the revival of lost crafts (my mother still has earthen kitchenware from this period), and I think now it might well resonate again with our renewed interest in ethical and organic means of production, and in design. I can see Morris relishing a Saturday morning spent at the farmers’ market, and perhaps a Saturday afternoon browsing design sites like Apartment Therapy or Dwell.

This fragment seems to sum up his philosophy neatly: “Art is man’s expression of his joy in labour.”