Graphic Design > William Morris Eats Glue

William Morris was an English poet, artist, and socialist reformer, who rejected the opulence of the Victorian era and urged a return to medieval traditions of design, craftsmanship, and community. He was the principal character in the Arts and Crafts Movement. To the proponents of Arts & Crafts, the Industrial Revolution separated humans from their own creativity and individualism; the worker was a cog in the wheel of progress, living in an environment of shoddy machine-made goods, based more on ostentation than function. These proponents sought to reestablish the ties between beautiful work and the worker, returning to honesty in design not to be found in mass-produced items.

He was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and Augustus Pugin who championed the return of gothic architecture. Morris and his Pre-Raphaelite friends formed their own company of designers and decorators, called the Brotherhood, specializing in stained glass, sculpture, furniture, wallpaper, carpets and tapestries. The company's designs brought about a complete revolution in public taste.

In 1888, Ferdinand Sichel developed the first ready-to-use wallpaper paste. With the advent of machine-made wallpaper at the turn of the century, in what is called the "Victorian era" most people could now afford to have wallpaper in their homes. William Morris with his lyrical interpretations of nature, hand-printed by the wood block method, came to symbolize Art Nouveau.

In the 1870s, Morris and the followers became more involved with promoting the ideas of Socialism. Disturbed by the aggressive foreign policy of the Conservative Prime Minister, he began writing to newspapers and publishing pamphlets supporting the anti-imperialism of the Liberal Party leader, William Gladstone. By 1883 Morris had become a socialist. Morris joined the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) and began contributing articles to its journal Justice. In December 1884, Morris left the SDF and along with Walter Crane, Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling formed the Socialist League. Strongly influenced by the ideas of William Morris, the party published a manifesto where it advocated revolutionary international socialism. Over the next few years Morris wrote, went on speaking tours, encouraged and participated in strikes and took part in several political demonstrations. In 1887 Morris was arrested after a demonstration in London. Four months later he participated in what became known as Bloody Sunday, when three people were killed and 200 injured during a public meeting in Trafalgar Square. Morris died in 1896.

”Eating glue” Sometimes the question comes up of whether or not you can eat Elmer's glue. Glue eating then becomes synonymous with other risky behavior. "William Morris Eats Glue" is a designation observing my love of art, history, politics, and chaos.