Tag Archives: William Morris

The Designer’s Banquet

19 Jan

As promised, I am putting up the photos for the Designer’s Banquet. If you remember, my banquet is based on the artist William Morris and his textile piece Strawberry Thief. This textile piece was created by Morris when at his garden strawberries were taken by thrushes and Morris enjoyed watching them do so, therefore recording the small event that took place.

The banquet has to reflect with what is on the essay we have done. And just to sum it up, it’s using the influence of Morris and using both traditional and modern crafting techniques and materials to make the pieces. I was also very much in love with the Strawberry Thief textile when I first saw it and wanted to base my Banquet on this piece.

The photo below is of all the Banquet items and I’ll explain each and every one of them and how I done each piece.


 The images come from the Strawberry Thief piece, and I selected three areas of the textile which I felt reflected nature a lot (an aspect of Arts & Crafts — the movement William Morris was a founder of). The images were first transferred using tracing paper and when they were placed onto the porcelain, I used relief paste to outline it and used porcelain paints to block in the colours.


The coaster and placemat, both made of a cork-type material, was first painted white on one side so when it is painted, the colours become quite vibrant.  I traced the images onto the placemat/coaster (traced from a reverse image) and outlined it in the relief paste then once dried, painted the colours required.


The cutlery’s birds and strawberries were made out of air-dry clay and painted with acrylic paint then varnished. Once all dried, they were glued onto the fork/knife/spoons.

Before the air-dry clay was dried for the strawberry with the knife, I used the knife to make a slit into the strawberry so it looks like it is slicing it in half. The strawberry on the fork was done by using it to embed holes into it so it stays placed on the fork when glued. The dots/’seeds’ in the strawberries were done using cocktails sticks to poke holes into the clay.


The menu design was made using Adobe Illustrator by outlining the motif sections I chosen to do and re-arrange it into my own motif depicting both Strawberry Thief and William Morris.  I included dishes that I could think of that would contain strawberries, and obviously the name of it is in reflection of the actual textile piece. The font is Plantagenet Cherokee, and I chose this as I felt it was well-suited to the style and brought a form of friendliness and formality. The actual menu is A5 size and laminated.


The napkin design was done from potatoes cut into shape (oval shape and triangles) and poster paint thinly applied to the flat edge to do potato stamping (oh how I remember doing this when a kid!). I did this technique as I felt it was appropriate for the tissue material and William Morris used a somewhat similar technique, woodblock printing, for the Strawberry Thief. The dots were done using cotton buds and poster paint.

Drinking Glass

The glass, again, used birds and strawberries made out of air-dry clay, with two small strawberries glued to the bottom, and the other larger strawberries being placed by hand into the glass. I attached the bird onto the rim of the glass by cutting-to-length two hairpins that are attached to the bird by embedding a hole using the pins into the clay, then gluing them to stay in place.

And I think that’s it. Hope you enjoyed looking at them. Took me roughly a month to finish and I am extremely pleased with the outcome and quality of it. Don’t think I’ve been this happy about a final piece like this before ^___^

The Opera & Banquet

27 Oct

As I mentioned in my last post relating to uni work, I will be talking about the new assignments for both Typography and Research & Reference modules.

Typography: Opera poster x3

Based on three operas, Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, all being played for the Winter Season 2012 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

All three posters must have no imagery, but the text must be incorporated as the imagery itself so composition and the type of typeface will have to be taken into account.

We also have to design 3 tiles, then pick one to be put into a digital quilt from the groups we’ll be in. The design has to be based on the word ‘Opera’. I’ve done the design by hand but eventually I’ll digitise it and post it up here. Haven’t yet done the poster designs. Most likely do it tomorrow as my other module is being taken as first priority for the moment until I get the all clear that it’s A-OK.

Now, for Research & Reference, we have to produce a banquet: plate, cutlery, menu, napkin, napkin ring and three other items of our choosing, which will be a drinking glass/cup, placemat and coaster. This banquet has to be based on an artist/designer of our choosing, and I have decided to do English designer and Arts & Crafts founder William Morris. The website provided is based on the company he set up, called Morris & Co. back in 1875.

I’ll admit, I didn’t think of doing this artist. It came about when my mum was watching this programme called Flog It! (which helps people to value and sell unwanted items they have at auctions) and they had a 10 minute or so interval which talked about William Morris. So I guess tv helps in some ways of educating people :3

Anyways, I found quite a few interesting facts, and realised that a bed duvet/curtains in my parent’s bedroom was based on a design by Morris (this was my reaction when I realised it:  :O ), called Willow Bough (1887). As his designs are quite well known, they’re used a lot in today’s printing materials such as duvets and curtains as I’ve mentioned.

As for the information I found, I read how William Morris disapproved the Industrial Revolution, especially the machinery as it was exploited for profit and because of that, moral values of people who worked and crafted goods declined. So as an inspiration of individuality and the craftsmanship of the medieval period, he revived the traditional craft techniques that were once abandoned by the Revolution, proving that you don’t need to use machinery to make such exquisite works. This is what I found quite admirable.

I also found out that Morris also had a passion for hand-made objects, which I will incorporate into the design of my banquet. I have an idea already of what to do, mainly based on Strawberry Thief (1883) and using modelling/baking clay and painting and gluing… Basically making little tiny thrushes and Strawberries and placing them in accordance to what I’m thinking in my head right now.

Oh and just so you know, the creation of Strawberry Thief came about when thrushes kept stealing berries in the garden from Morris’ Kelmscott Manor home in Oxfordshire. Willow Bough is based on the willow trees growing on the banks of the River Thames. I think somewhat it’s quite sweet how the creations started out.

William Morris also worked with the colours: madder red, peacock-blue, russet-brown, sage green and soft yellow. So I’ll be working with all or most of the colours.

And that’s about it. I’m quite looking forward to the banquet, but not so much of the 1500 word essay we’ll have to do….

Anyways, I’m off to do more work now. Try and finish it off so I can have a weekend of video gaming with boyfriend! (Although I am sort of doubting it will happen this time around… T^T)