My colleague Ailsa and I were lucky enough to be invited to the William Morris talk at the V+A museum, courtesy of Style Library Contracts.
As it is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, it took a while for us to get to the lecture room but we eventually found it after wandering through lots of rooms full of really interesting artefacts!
The talk was held by Alison Gee who is the head designer of Morris + Co. She began by giving us a brief background to William Morris, explaining how throughout his life he produced wallcovering and fabric designs through block printing. He also ran workshops for tapestry and carpet and produced stained glass and ceramics.
We learnt how although the original designs from William Morris continue to influence interiors, Morris + Co go through hundreds of archives each year and select fabrics to develop into their new collections. The new designs are still very much about encouraging the legacy of William Morris, focussing on evolving his vintage designs to adapt to the current trends found today.
Examples were given of how each design is hand painted before printed and I was amazed by how long one design can take! We learnt about their printing and production process and the method of deciding the colour ways each design collection should have. I particularly enjoyed seeing the designs in situ and how Morris + Co encourage the use of their fabrics ranging from fitting into a country home to a modern apartment.
The evening ended with a complimentary glass of wine and a chat which turned into a joke about getting locked into the museum – so we quickly decided it was time to head home!
I would like to thank Harriet for the lovely evening and leave you with this quote by William Morris, “the past is not but living in us and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make.”