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Before getting “down to business”, Olivia, Matilda and I, along with a group of friends, visited William Morris’ exhibition. In the Juan March Foundation, they screened a video about the historical context in which the artist lived: the Victorian era. To meditate about social injustices, the ideals Morris defended, and the link between the fine arts and the decorative arts –the “major arts” and the “minor arts” – helps us understand the artist’s work.
The exhibition takes us closer to his world and to the political and social situation in which Morris lived. Pieces of all kinds were exhibited: furniture, textiles, painted paper, jewelry, glass, ceramic, metalwork, bindings, painting, and photography.
The girls were impressed about the artist’s multidisciplinary capacity: designer, artisan, businessman, poet, essayist, translator, embroiderer, weaver, dry cleaner, illustrator, calligrapher, typographer, novelist, lecturer, editor and printer, defender of the preservation of historical buildings, ecologist, political agitator, and socialist. What caught their attention the most about his work were his printed fabrics and papers. The workshop was about that: learning how to print.
The Workshop’s First Stage
We did the first stamps using stamps’ engraving tools. We did designs inspired by Morris’ vegetable motives in rubber and clay sheets. We used them to print on fabric.
We liked it so much that we wanted to keep experimenting!
New Inspirational Search: Nature
We went to the country looking for inspiration in vegetation. We liked the fabrics with Morris’ designs, but we wanted to look for our own vegetable motives. We took pictures and did drawings, and we started to make sketches for our prints.
The Workshop’s Second Stage
We bought more professional supplies: linoleum and wood sheets, engraving blades for stamps, special paint to print, a roller to evenly apply the paint, papers, and fabrics to engrave.
We sat around our experimentation table and, with our sketches, we drew in the sheets that we would later engrave. You must apply paint and then print it over fabric or paper.
For quite some time now I wanted to build myself a folding screen, and the printed papers of William Morris’ workshop were perfect to decorate it. I built a folding screen for myself and covered it with the printed papers. This was the final outcome. Do you like it? I think we found what he was looking for: for art not to be accessible only for the few privileged ones.
Photography: Oscar Rivilla.
Styling and conceptual design: Carolina Verd.
Make up and hair: Carolina Verd.
Jade green blouse by H&M.
Black jeans by Zara.
Boots by Doctor Marteens.
Vintage dragonfly by Vasari.
Vintage yellow sapphire ring by Vasari.