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Try mastering Morris! ~ the master of the Art & Crafts Movement

I can probably guarantee you that if you don't have something in your house which has a William Morris pattern on it that you probably know someone who does! Even over 100 years on, the patterns of William Morris can be found not only on wallpapers and soft furnishings, but on clothes, mugs, notebooks, boxes, pens, phone covers, duvet covers, bags, lampshades etc. etc. etc!

In this new Artist Master Class we are going to look at the work of designer William Morris ~ an all round champion of the arts and crafts. Morris formed a collective of like-minded artists and designers to form the Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. in 1861. Their vision was to counter the 'ugliness' of mass production with well designed, hand crafted goods that were made using traditional techniques. This vision was in direct opposition to the newly industrialized Victorian era. The company specialized in wall paintings, embroidered hangings and stained glass. In 1875, Morris became the sole director and re branded as Morris & Co ~ a name which his designs are still traded under by the British company Sanderson & Sons.

Morris & Co. produced not only textiles such as rugs and wall hangings but also wallpapers, furniture and ceramics. Morris even revived the use of natural dyes such as Madder and Indigo to dye and print fabrics using traditional techniques. When he opened his factory at Merton Abbey Mills in Surrey, in 1881 ~ he was able to refine these techniques, even using the river Wandle, to wash the fabric.

With this 'hand-crafted' theme in mind, we are going to handcraft and create some decorative items of our own, which you might like to use at Christmas.

Did you know that the Victorians are pretty much credited with inventing Christmas as we now know it and many of the Christmas traditions we still observe today? So it is quite apt that we are using the designs of Morris as these are from that time ~ including one that was commissioned by Queen Victoria herself!

In this project you can create as many (or as few) designs as you wish - just go to the videos you want to try out. You might like to visit the 'Ideas' video first for some inspiration or you might just like to try your hand at colour matching the designs.

In the project I will walk you through how to select and apply your design. Then we will recreate the colour scheme. Remember ~ your colour printer might print out colours differently to mine, so feel free to adjust the suggested colours in the worksheet if you need to.

Alternatively you might like to keep the pattern designs but totally change the colour palette to your own!

To find out more about this project, take a look at the short video below.

By looking at the designs of William Morris I hope you can get a greater understanding of how his intricate designs incorporate several, intertwining, natural forms. Plus how he used and combined colours to create different effects. Don't forget ~ this is just a starting point ~ feel free to research your own patterns or discover the other colour options that many of the Morris & Co. patterns are available in.

If you don't celebrate Christmas or if you're finding this project in the middle of summer - don't worry! It can be altered and used to celebrate birthdays, weddings or even Valentines ~ I wonder how you will use yours?!

I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Painting!

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