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- William Morris was an artist, writer, socialist and textile designer in the who lived in the 19th Century.
- These are some examples of the textiles that he made and was famous for.
- - As you can see, they look almost medieval, and there's a very strong emphasis on the nature.
- - Nature, and the need for man to live in harmony with it, was a strong theme that ran through all his works.
- - It led to him founding the Arts and Crafts movement
- The Arts & crafts movement was an international design movement
- based on the ideas of John Ruskin, whom some of you might have heard of today.
- He too was a socialist, and like many other socialist of the time, was strongly against the social impacts of industrialization.
- - At that point in time, the Industrial Revolution had really come into its own, and thousands of people worked in factories for mass production.
- - And because it was more efficient, instead of a craftsman being involved in the entire production process, he was relegated to just one single aspect. For example. Instead of a chairmaker selecting the wood, carving it out, varnishing it, and then painting it, a worker would make just the nails. Everyday he'd do the same mindless repeated motions and making nothing but nails. Workers were essentially just servants of the giant machinery.
- - He believed that this division of labour, which Adam Smith has proposed in the Wealth of Nations, disenfranchised of the labouring classes.
- - Morris believed this too, and this is an excerpt from a lecture he gave called art and socialism.
- - To fight this trend, he advocated for a change in the way art was created, to return to a time when "art held supremacy over commerce", as he called it, and eventually led to the creation of what would be known as the Arts and Crafts Movement.
- It was a deisgn movement that started in England (because Morris was English), but eventually spread to most of the Western world.
- It was a return to art as a holistic process, and prized skilled craftsmanship
- and it emphasized the idea that man should live in harmony with nature, rather than exploiting it.
- his ideas inspired a lot of followers, some of who you might have heard of already. Among them were people like
- - Frank Lloyd Wright and falling waters (which is so famous that it now even has its own lego set)
- - Louis Sullivan and the Harold C. Bradley House
- - However, aside from his contributions to design, he also made a great impact on the environmental movement, before it even existed
- - This is one of his most famous quotes, and I think it encapsulates essentially what environmentalism should be.
- - We face similar issues with consumerism today that Morris faced with industrialization, except that now, the consumers are equally disenfranchised too.
- - I think we've all reached a consensus that it'll be impossible to become more environmentally friendly by asking them to give up luxuries and live like ascetics.
- - But if we switch our focus to quality, rather than quantity, and only have what is both beautiful and useful, then there'll be less production in the world, because cheap goods form the bulk of it, and less wastage.
- Even now, there's a resurgence of his ideas and aesthtic, such as organic produce, buying locally and living with a consideration for the environment.
- True, this idea existed long before he did, but what he did was to popularize the concept despite the rise in demand for increasingly cheaper goods.
- What affects production also affects consumerisn, and by starting a movement that revolutionized architecture, painting, sculpture, graphics, illustration, book making, photography, furniture, stained glass, leatherwork, lacemaking, embroidery, rug making and weaving, jewelry, metalwork, enameling, ceramics.
he basically created the the arts equivalent of the slow food movement that permeated so many facets of people's lives.