Today marks the 187th anniversary of celebrated designer and social activist William Morris' birth and we celebrate it with you all by sharing our newest initiative. Keep reading to find out more!
William Morris is one of our personal heroes. Not only due to the gorgeous prints he designed but due to the values that he championed.
But who was William Morris, really?
Born to affluent middle-class parents, Morris had a privileged upbringing and a large inheritance that ensured he would never need to earn an income. Despite this, his life tells the tale of a man determined to forge his own path in the world. He didn't pay much mind to his class's social conventions or society's expectations for him.
William Morris developed a keen sense of social responsibility while studying at Oxford University's Exeter College, where he became enamoured with Medieval history and architecture. This fascination extended into his artistic sensibilities influencing his design style for the rest of his life.
He began his artistic career as an architecture apprentice in Oxford, where he met and fell in love with a working-class stableman's daughter Jane Burden, defying once again the rules of his class. Jane was a striking beauty and became an accomplished intellectual and skilled embroiderer in her own right.
Morris and Red House
In 1860, Morris and Jane moved into Red House, designed and built especially for them. They furnished and decorated it with help from their artistic circle members. Rejecting the time's interior design preferences, they filled the house with ornate murals and hand-embroidered fabric.
This experience prompted him and his friends to establish an interiors company in 1861: Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.
The artist had finally settled on the career that would make his name!
Artisanship and values
The company was committed to rejecting industrial manufacturing and contemporary capitalism in favour of a return to hand-craftsmanship. Morris strongly felt that artisans should be respected as artists and that art should be affordable and hand-made. He began to design his first wallpapers, creating the iconic patterns that we still use on our products today.
Eventually, Morris would become the sole proprietor of the design firm, which became the Morris & Co we know today.
At Blue Badge Co, we have always been proud to carry Morris' fabrics. His commitment to artisan manufacturing and hand-made items particularly resonates with us, as well as his philosophy.
"No work which cannot be done with pleasure in the doing is worth doing".
We take so much pleasure and pride in what we do that we have decided to expand, launching a second brand, Green&Heath.
Evolved from a deep love for British designs and craftsmanship - it is centred around creating products from indulgently beautiful, vintage-influenced textiles that draw inspiration from history for a highly decorative, maximalist heirloom flair.
Green&Heath creates a sense of artistic playfulness and soft drama with home accessories and wellbeing treats which reimagine tradition with a modern twist.
We thought it appropriate to make our new brand the home for the William Morris Collection. You can now find Sheep's Wool Cushions, Lap Trays, Lampshades, Fabric Storage Boxes, Relaxing Eye Masks, Wheat Warmers, Door Stops and Hot Water Bottles on Green&Heath.