On Aug. 3, artist Sue Camin is teaching a folk art workshop, “William Morris Block Printing” at the Bement Billings Farmstead Museum in Newark Valley. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Participants will learn of this 1800 designer’s influence on textiles and wallpaper. Students will create a block design using some of the same traditions as Morris and enjoy an afternoon applying the beauty of their own creation. They will carve an EZ Cut block; produce a variety of prints, use color and registration. Sue, with a lifetime of experience in teaching art will lead participants in discovering their “inner designer”.
The Beauty of William Morris
William Morris is best known as the 19th century’s most celebrated designer. A key figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement, Morris championed a principle of handmade production that didn’t chime with the Victorian era’s focus on industrial ‘progress’.
His art went where his passions went; he was an architect, furniture and textile designer, poet and socialist. He established a firm of designers who were also artists, with the view of reinstating decoration, down to the smallest detail, as one of the fine arts.
Using wood block printing by hand he produced wallpaper using repeating patterns of floral designs as early as 1862, and later designed his first pattern specifically for fabric.
By 1883, Morris wrote, “Almost all the designs we use for surface decoration, wallpapers, textiles, and the like, I design myself. I have had to learn the theory and to some extent the practice of weaving, dyeing and textile printing: all of which I must admit has given me and still gives me a great deal of enjoyment.”
Morris taught himself embroidery, working with wool on a frame custom-built from an old example, and once he had mastered the technique he trained his wife Jane and her sister Bessie Burden and others to execute designs to his specifications.
Today, William Morris’ pattern influences echo in our fashions. Art students often use his master patterns to learn about color, shape and repeat patterns. They create block prints, paintings and drawings using his designs and adding new twists as they take from the master and create their own style. Enjoy this workshop exploring the art and design of William Morris. See how you can make your own Morris influenced print using his inspiration and discover the contemporary artists of today that have Morris to thank for his influence.
The cost is $30 for Newark Valley Historical Society members, $35 for non-members. Enrollment is limited and scholarships are available.
The Farmstead is located at 9241 State Route 38, Newark Valley,13811. Call Leslie to register by July 25 at (607) 427-8373. Workshop on ‘William Morris Block Printing’ presented at the Bement Billings Farmstead Museum
Visit Newark Valley Historical Society site, www.nvhistory.org, for more information.