Sunday, July 25, 2010

Library mouse (02)

I feel much richer as a person for having learned more about William Morris (1834-1896). I knew of him as a...More......multi-talented artist and craftsman, but never realized that his aspirations to improve and uplift our daily lives by insisting on beauty in the making and using of everyday things also had extended into poetry, narrative and political activism. (For more on Morris, go directly to

Arthur Clutton-Brock’s William Morris (New York: Parkstone Press International, 2007) is largely concerned with exploring Morris’ interests and beliefs, with particular attention to Morris’ own writings. The book is not dedicated to translating his art into needlepoint, or cross stitch, designs, though the ample and beautiful illustrations will be an inspiration for your work.

The book spends less time than I had hoped on analyzing Morris’ approach to art, in order to be able to apply it to our own work. Even if the style of his art may not please you, after learning about his goals, you may find that you like his art better, even if you already adored it before learning more about him, as I did.

The text, despite its in-depth attention to Morris’ writings, is not for scholars, who will lament the rambling text without footnotes and the too short bibliography, but it is suited for interested fans wishing to understand Morris’ works, better, and is a good source of some beautiful images full of inspiration for your needlepoints.

Better understanding his goals helps us to better translate his art into designs. Unexpectedly, but more importantly, it helps us, like Morris, to be uplifted by making beautiful things and to insist on living surrounded by beauty, even in all our everyday objects, not just because it gives aesthetic pleasure, but also because it refines our spirits.

1 comment:

Pondside said...

I love the designs of William Morris and Charles Rennie MacIntosh. One summer I was addicted to a very large book featuring their architecture, design etc - I wish I still had the book!
I have a book, somewhere in the house, of William Morris-inspired cross stitch.
Thanks for your visit to my blog!

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