“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris
I’ve been inspired by William Morris’ life and work recently, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been learning/collecting visually with you. I hope you enjoy this collection, too!
Famous for his intricate floral patterns, William Morris (1834-1896) was also a poet, author, political activist, and a prolific designer. The beginning of Industrialization and mass production made him feel like the world was heading towards ugliness, which is the worst, because he just wanted beauty to be everywhere – indoors and outside. So he fought back with art! And custom craftsmanship! He was inspired by an idealized vision of medieval life and an appreciation for the natural world.
Check out these pattern sketches. Honestly they are so beautiful it kind of blows my mind.
These designs would have been made into wallpapers, or tapestries for folks who thought the patterns were too wild to fill up a whole room.
He also designed stained glass windows, often a figure set against his signature patterns. These are in Darmstadt, Germany.
Oh, he also wrote and illustrated a fantasy novel. Busy dude!
Inspired by Morris, I wanted to make a patterned background made of fresh greenery for a custom fine art maternity portrait. I ended up using a set of sticks that I found at a craft store, and attaching them to a backdrop stand with gaffer tape. All of the leaf sections are attached to the sticks with gaffer tape as well, a fairly simple process that ended up taking about 6 hours when all was said and done. You can check out a short making-of video here:
And here’s the final image… thanks for reading!
All images that are not my own were found via Wikimedia Commons.