William Morris, my new bff

January 4, 2012

My awesome mother-in-law gave me this book about William Morris for Christmas. Of course Morris is most famous for his gorgeous fabric and wallpaper designs.

See what I mean?

The Carpet of Angels

But check out this quote:

When I first knew Morris nothing would content him but being a monk, and getting to Rome, and then he must be an architect, and apprentice himself… and work for two years, but when I came to London and began to paint, he threw it all up, and must paint too, and then he must give it up and make poems, and then he must give it up and make window hangings and pretty things, and when he had achieved that, he must be a good poet again, and after two or three years of Earthly Paradise time, he must learn dyeing, and live in a vat, and learned weaving,and knew all about looms, and then made more books, and learned tapestry, and then wanted to smash everything and begin the world anew….”  (Artist Edward Burne-Jones as quoted in “The Beauty of Life”)

I LOVE THIS. Because this guy is totally describing me. Well, ok, maybe that’s arrogant or whatever, considering who we’re talking about. But I do love to make stuff. I love learning new skills with which to make stuff. Show me a hands-on crafting technique, and I want to learn it. (OMG, learning to be an architect would be so interesting! Or going to law school. Or being a journalist. Or making modern art).

I’ve always admired people who are more focused- like my husband. Dani’s a figurative painter. He doesn’t get distracted by, you know, whatever a figurative painter would get distracted by. He never thinks, hey, maybe I should learn a musical instrument or take up fashion design.

Me, on the other hand, I can hardly figure out if I’d rather be knitting or making soap or sewing or writing or any of a million other things. I’ve always thought it was my downfall. You know- how can you be good at any one thing if you’re not really committed to that thing?

But William Morris was really fricking successful. He ran a home-design business during his lifetime, and was a well-regarded poet and novelist. His unique take on art, craft and politics- his philosophy, if you will- was and continues to be influential. And gawd, his textile designs alone are enough to make a person feel like her life was well-lived.

Just sayin’.