I started my experimentation by looking at parts of Morris’ life that took my interest or that appeared shocking to me. My aim is to create a series of wallpapers that have strong underlying messages whilst looking stunning upon walls.
Before being completely well informed about Morris’ fathers mining industry, I created a design using piece of coal. Being at this time Morris was trying to promote the work and the worker in a world that was starting to become very industrial. His father was very much part of the Industrial sector that Morris so disagreed with, and Morris, however much in disagreement, was part director of the company with shares. This was where my exploration of Morris as a very complexed persona who often did not practice what he preached.
After being informed that Morris’ father in fact mined arsenic. For this design I added in some arsenic at the end of my repeated coal patten. I still like the effect that the coals have on the viewer and I am not as fond of the arsenic shape as much. I need to experiment adding this to a wall to see how it looks.
The main target organ of arsenic is the lungs. Morris was not very caring towards his workers and the public who brought his wallpapers. He was blind to the real effects of arsenic saying that they were only the works of a “witch fever”. In reality a lot of them had illness and suffered from lung disease. This wallpaper is a repeat pattern of lungs that also could be mistaken as a butterfly pattern or a floral design. It is not until you look closer that you discover what they actually are! This is one of the main aims of the wallpapers, to draw people in to look closer at the disturbing patterns that no one would actually have in their homes.
Following the creation of the design, I wanted to put my pattern on the wall of a room to experiement with how I could create this but also how it would look. I need to perfect my method in placing the wallpaper into the room to make sure it looks realistic, however for a first try I’m extremely happy with how this has turned out. It does look believable and it is hard to understand exactly what the patterns are in the background, you would never think they were lungs. I asked a friend for feedback and he suggested I play on the theme of innocence by placing my wallpaper into a children’s room. This would highlight the fact of Morris having no consideration of the danger towards the public but also add in a more daunting factor considering this members of the public could have been children.
My next first design was a slightly more interesting. I looked for images that looked at arsenic more visually because I felt as though the lump of arsenic portrayed in my first experimentation was not so distinguishable. Although I am trying to cover up to an extend the meaning behind the wallpapers, I would like my viewers to eventually guess them. Unlike the arsenic lump, I feel this is a much more visually comprehensive portrayal of Morris’ connection to the poison. The skeleton immediately highlights fear and since using image trace to change it to black and white, it has become a lot more in focus.
I tried to improve my skill by once again adding my wallpaper into a room. I can see how my skills have improved since doing the last room. I feel I have understood better all the contours of my room. Again I feel from further away the wallpaper is incomprehensible as a viewer we have to look closer to discover more.
Due to how bright white the wallpaper is, I attempted to add in some shadows. I do not feel this experiment was so successful. I still need to perfect my technique to find something that will look more realistic. Here the shadow looks sloppy and at the wrong angle, this is not the effect I wanted to create.
From here I will have a tutorial with Hannah to see where I can progress further in my work.