As custodians of William Morris’ original company, Morris & Co. uphold the aesthetic and ethos of their founder in everything that they do. For today’s collections they take inspiration from the archive and also from all aspects of Morris’ work to create new designs that sit alongside the classics, making them relevant for today whilst maintaining all of the artistry, charm and integrity of William Morris originals. We spoke to Morris & Co about how they use sketching in their work today.
Please tell us about your company:
In 2011, the company celebrated its 150th Anniversary with the introduction of the Archive collections, which is now in its fourth series. In 2016 Pure Morris was born taking the iconic Morris patterns to a new generation of fans. As part of the Style Library Contract portfolio of brands, we are able to bring iconic designs to interior designers, architects and specifiers for the creation of interior spaces with character.
Which product are your sketching?
Brook – Archive III from 2015
For Morris, tapestry was the highest form of decorative fabric. Inspired in part by the Brook Tapestry by J. H. Dearle and the friezes that sit beneath the Holy Grail Tapestries, THE BROOK was newly created in 2015 and painted out by hand taking over 2 months. Digital printing recreates all the crispness and abundance of beautiful detail, which was the special characteristic of medieval tapestries.
Pure Bachelor’s Button – Pure Morris North 2018
Bachelor’s button is the colloquial name for the Centaurea Cyanus, commonly known as cornflower. Symbolic of requited love, cornflowers were worn by young men in the button holes of their jackets; a withering bloom was seen as a bad omen of fast fading affection from a sweetheart.Taking inspiration from medieval wall murals, the Morris & Co. studio has enlarged Bachelor’s Button (dated 1892) in scale and painted it in the style of medieval frescos with dramatic effect.
Is sketching an important part of your design process? Why?
Staying true to the Morris brand ethos, drawing and painting the artwork by hand is a key part of the process, seamlessly blending reproductions of archive documents and new adaptations of William Morris designs. Following in the footsteps of William Morris, the Morris & Co. studio preserves craftsmanship and attention to detail by hand-crafting artwork.
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