Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Joy of Work"

On the 2nd week of Design History class, the lecture was about the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts movement (the early Modernism) that I was able to recall the lil less thought of it which I sort of have covered a few topics in History of Architecture during my diploma studies way back in god knows when...We were asked to associate the saying "Joy of Work" to both movements and choose one that would depict the phrase the best.

Before I dig up further, let me briefly describe these two movements just so you know the differences. Arts & Crafts advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. Art Nouveau in the other hand is an approach to design according to which artists should work on everything, making art part of everyday life and marked by decoratives foliage and naturalistic motifs.

I would say the Arts & Crafts movement (founded by William Morris whom responsible of raising up British crafts standards) would best portrays the phrase whereby in my opinion, during this largely anti-industrial and antimachine movement, man at that time, with this radical outlook exalting the craftsman, were largely embracing the arty spirit and sought to produced fine arts for the masses.

Morris, wrote "A man at work, making something which he feels will exist because he is working at it and wills it, is exercising the energies of his mind and soul as well as of his body. Memory and imagination help him as he works" and this principle was applied during the Arts and Crafts period.

It tells us that, man during this period were so into exploring their ability that goes along with skills and creativity and determination at work (focusing on handcrafting) as they were able to design and produce their own work hence would adore the beauty lies within their own creations. It brings out the joy and contentment in one’s self that comes from the feeling of accomplishment. This was injected to their thought that makes them failed to grasp the aesthetic possibilities of the machines. To sum up my opinion, I would say that "Joy of Work" expression is seemly fit for Arts and Crafts movement compared to the Art Nouveau.

Wallpaper design by William Morris, Elysian Fields "paradise waits in these immortal fields of bliss."  intertwining flowers and winged creatures (WM typically used birds but here it is bats and carnivorous plants.)

Check out this site,
http://thetextileblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/william-morris-and-trellis-wallpaper.html  showing some of the exquisite collection of wallpaper design by William Morris.  Reference links for more of WM design is also provided. To Morris, these designs could not just be interpreted as 'pretty', or 'attractive', they were much more. They were indeed part of his life's work and passion. The range of design remain popular till today.

The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make.” - William Morris

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