Sunday, December 11, 2011

Brush Holders and William Morris

My current collection of brush holders.  I made the one with the bird, found the Humpty Dumpty planter and the Tikis in various junk stores, and the sailor cup was a gift from a friend way back in art school.  
I've consciously, gradually removed what I consider ugly or common from my studio. If it's functional, it also has to be visually interesting. Seems to help my creativity if that one small space at least, isn't tainted by plastic, mass-produced crap.

William Morris is famous for his art, design, and writings.  One of his most famous quotes: "If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

It is a very weird quote.  It seems to say that if an object is useful, then it's ok if it's ugly.  That applies to most everything made of plastic that's available in a box store.  Plastic trashcans, technological devices, etc--yeah, they are useful, but their ugliness sort of sucks the creative life out of me at times.

But maybe I'm misunderstanding Morris.  All I have to do is look at his designs and artworks and I'm re-charged creatively.  This design for wallpaper is an example; I love it.  I'm intrigued by the Acanthus motif, the subtle coloration, the movement, and the raw artistry.  Time and again I check out his works and writings and get inspired.

More on William Morris in a future post.


  1. Interesting post! I love Wm Morris. I don't think you are misunderstanding Morris--I suspect "useful" n his time was a lot different from what we know now as such. Can't wait to see more :)

  2. Good point that I hadn't thought of, Elizabeth--thank you :)

  3. Such an interesting post! I, too, have been removing ugly pastic containers from my studio and replacing them with only handmade ceramic containers (for about a year now). Although I still have way too much "crap" in my studio, I'm much happier when I reach for a paintbrush in a lovely container and think of the artist's hands that created it. Thanks for the post!

  4. Thanks Sunny--glad you found it interesting. Thank you for following my blog, too!


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