For my Research//Practice project, I looked at William Morris and his background and ideas. This stemmed from when I briefly looked at his work in the Night Watch project.
Looking at Morris has given me a lot of ideas and thoughts relating to the creation of my work. I knew from the off that creating wallpapers could interest me. It was a lot more interior and design based, something I have not discovered before.
Taking my inspiration from firstly Morris’ relation to arsenic poisoning and his ignorance towards the subject. I did an internet search and found this image that incorporated the death aspect with the skeleton who is next to a barrel of arsenic.
I appreciate the look that this image had. It had elements of fear but also could be the image of Morris’ paint supplier. I took this image and imported into illustrator, I wanted something a bit more bold so I decided to image trace it.
Happy with the final image I multiplied it many times so that it had a wallpaper effect and then put it into Photoshop along with my room image. This gave me two layers which I had to merge together. This was easier said than done, I started off by what I know by using the eraser tool. This however was challenging and my lines were not always as sharp as I wanted them to be. I got advice off a photography student who helped me to discover another easier method of layering. This made my wallpapers a lot clearer and I was happier with the quality of the outcome.
These are the two rooms I created, both incorporating the skeleton wallpaper. The first room was my first creation so I did not feel this one was as strong as some of my later versions. In my further continuation of my project for Creative Enterprise I think I will work on making my rooms stronger quality however due to the length of this current project, I moved on swiftly.
My next room incorporated the same wallpaper but this time I changed the colour to green to play with the main colour that contained arsenic. This colour matched really well with the objects that were also in the room that I was playing with.
The next pattern I played with, the coals, was based on my discovery of Morris’ dislike for the Industrial Revolution. The coals for me represent the growing industrialisation and urbanisation in Britain. Again using Illustrator I took a piece of coal and image traced it. This lead me to reproducing the coal, that has been image traced, many times to create a first pattern for my wallpaper.
For these rooms I played around a lot with scale and adding light using Photoshop. I wonder if for my continuation I need to look at more bland colours to enhance this theme. The industry theme is a important one for this era and I think I need to interpret this further.
I love the fact that my pattern is the same but looks so different when put on a larger scale. I feel I have played with my knowledge of design and how a wallpaper could be place in a room. I think this shows of my knowledge of how I can interpret a design and implement it in a variety of situations.
I decided to continue making another pattern that involved the target organ of arsenic: lungs. This pattern is a lot more distinguishable and bold.
This lead me to creating two rooms that encompassed a more light hearted colour palette and a child’s room which enhance the idea of killing the innocent and unknowing.
This was my first example that used a mixture of three colours.
The next study I looked at was based on Gender Equality and how that was taken on board during the Victorian times and in particular Morris’ views on women. Morris was rooting for gender equality but he did not know how to go against the society implemented regulations. This meant that when Morris was recruiting socialists for socialism he told the women to “Support their Socialist husbands”.
I chose this pattern because the women is lower than man. This mimicked the social status that they had at this point in time.
I chose the red on green pattern due to the complementary colour element that I feel really stands out from all my experimentation. I tried to play with the light on this one but I feel I could have implemented the shelf better than I have done previously.
This pattern takes on board the way in which the furniture stands in the room. The female matches the vases and the man the sofa. This shows again the idea of the missing gender equality at this period where the women stayed at home and the men went out to work.
This led me to working with wallpaper samples which I though were an interesting way of presenting my work. I really wanted something fun and alternative and that people could pick up and look at. Each sample has the same layout and the title of each sample corresponds with the subject of the sample.
The first sample is the skeleton wallpaper. All the colours incorporated in this wallpaper are mainly green due to the fact this is the colour that contained arsenic. The title of the sample is from one of Morris’ poems and I felt it corresponded well to the condition that the men who works in Morris’ fathers company felt whilst working and falling ill in the arsenic mines. Morris knew the danger but was ignorant of this.
My second sample is the coal wallpaper which highlights Morris’ hate of the industrialisation of Britain. The title is Morris’ opinion of the Industrial Revolution and the conditions in the factories. The colour palette in this uses greys and greens and I also added in a few alternative colours to add to the modern feel.
The next sample is the Lungs which due to my experimentation incorporates the lungs pattern in the sample colour selection. This is also due to the fact I used a lot of three tones for these experiments for the first time. I think this shows progression in my designs. The title is a quote from Morris in which he explains his reaction when people said about the arsenic issue and illness linked to this, He is in total denial.
The last sample is the Gender Equality Wallpaper. The title of this is “Support you Socialist husband” which was Morris’ view on what women should do whist being torn between his own thoughts and those of society.
Overall I am really happy with what I have produced for this project. It is something I have never really looked into in a big way and I think they are a very strong research backed piece. My presentation of work is also something alternative and something I have never tried before. I am excited to continue this project and in particular create with my skills. This could lead me to completing screen prints and lino prints of my chosen focus subjects. When I get my next brief for Creative Enterprise I can further discover this.