Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Members Only: AGM and The Arts & Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest

Annual General Meeting and

The Arts & Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest

Thursday, September 22, 2022
via Zoom at 7:00 pm EDT

An illustrated lecture by Lawrence Kreisman following our A.G.M.

During his 1909 lecture tour to America’s West Coast, British architect and designer C. R. Ashbee wrote in his journals that Seattle was “the only American city I have so far seen in which I would care to live.” His wife, Janet, remarked on the city’s cosmopolitanism, its “well-appointed restaurants decorated with the latest Arts and Crafts distinction of line and colouring.” Their comments reveal that the Pacific Northwest was participating actively in the design reform movement that had roots in nineteenth century Britain and was taken to heart by America.

Encouraged by exposure at two world’s fairs that put the Pacific Northwest on the national and international map, significant contributions were made to a broad range of design arts, influenced by the remarkable setting, climate, local raw materials, crafts of native inhabitants, and exposure to Pacific Rim cultures.

Based upon his award-winning book with co-author Glenn Mason, Lawrence Kreisman examines architecture, interior design, furniture, decorative and applied arts, photography, and fine arts that demonstrate the remarkable variety of progressive, architect-designed residences, bungalows for everyone, and all manner of artistic and practical furnishings and accessories that were the handiwork of anonymous amateurs and significant regional artists alike.

Lawrence Kreisman, Hon. AIA Seattle, was Program Director of Historic Seattle for 20 years, He has been recognized for significant work in bringing public attention to the Pacific Northwest’s architectural heritage and its preservation through courses, tours, exhibits, lectures, articles, and 11 books. In addition to The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest, publications include Apartments by Anhalt; The Stimson Legacy: Architecture in the Urban West; The Bloedel Reserve: Gardens in the Forest; Made to Last: Historic Preservation in Seattle and King County, Dard Hunter: The Graphic Works, and Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill: Propriety, Profanity, Pills, and Preservation, as well as hundreds of design features in The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine and national magazines Style 1900, American Bungalow, Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival, Old House Journal, Old House Interiors, and Preservation. Kreisman and his husband, Dr. Wayne Dodge, have been members of the UK Decorative Arts Society 1850 to the Present since the mid-1980s and collect 1890-1930 furniture, decorative, and applied arts, books and design journals of Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, and the US. 


Wednesday, 24 August 2022

WMSC Lecture: The Dragon and the Smith

It's a beautiful day to hear all about Morris, Tolkien, and Sigurd the Volsung!

The Dragon and the Smith: William Morris, JRR Tolkien and the Legend of Sigurd the Volsung
An illustrated lecture by Dustin Geeraert, U. of Manitoba.

In the 1860s William Morris and the London-based Icelander Eiríkur Magnússon began translating Icelandic sagas into English. They soon published the first ever translation of Völsunga saga, as The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs, with Certain Songs from the Elder Edda, in 1870. This archetypal Norse dragon-slayer dragon-slayer legend inspired a range of later poems, prose tales, and articles by William Morris and by his successor in Norse-inspired medievalism, J. R. R. Tolkien. Both medievalists immersed themselves deeply in the Norse legacy of Eddas and Sagas, and in response cultivated a Romantic philosophy of craftsmanship. In their various versions of the Volsung legend two figures stood in stark contrast in the roles of creator and destroyer: the Dragon and the Smith.

Dustin Geeraert teaches literature in the English and Icelandic departments at the University of Manitoba. He is editor of ‘The Modern Reception of the Medieval Saga of the Sworn Brothers’ (Scandinavian-Canadian Studies 26, 2019) and The Shadow Over Portage and Main: Weird Fictions (2016, with Keith Cadieux), and has published articles in Journal of the William Morris Society (2012), The Lovecraft Annual (2014), Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2018), and From Iceland to the Americas: Vinland and Historical Imagination (2020).

For further reading, Dr. Dustin Geeraert's book, 'Cultural Legacies of Old Norse Literature' is now available: https://boydellandbrewer.com/9781800106093/cultural-legacies-of-old-norse-literature/

Find more of Dr. Geeraert's writings on Morris in 'Useful & Beautiful', a William Morris Society US publication, available here: https://morrissociety.org/publications/useful-beautiful/

Monday, 6 June 2022

Guild Park Gardens Tour


Guild Park and Garden Tour

Sunday June 19, 2022, Time: 2:00 PM EDT
Members only event, Members can bring guests.

The tour takes place outside. All participants are welcome and encouraged to wear a mask. 
All participants are invited to respect the choices and distance needed by others in the group.

Please do not come to the walk if you are feeling unwell or answer yes to any of the COVID screening questions outlined by Ontario public health. Those COVID screening questions can be found at 

This event allows members to bring a guest for a $10 fee. 

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Arts & Crafts Metalwork

 David Parr House

Arts and Crafts Metalwork
June 2nd - July 30, 2022
Digital exhibition free to access https://exhibitions.davidparrhouse.org/

A copper charger with repoussé central peacock pattern and motto. This design
was illustrated in The House: A Journal of Home Arts and Crafts in July 1900. The motto is
that of the Fordham family who had estates in Cambridge area. This is a variation of a
design by George Tanner, circa 1900. Image Credit – Dave Marshall

In the winter of 1890, the class was begun by a local estate owner, Harold Hurrell, in the
small village of Newton, Cambridgeshire. Like many philanthropic employers at the time,
Harold was keen to improve the education and quality of life for the workers in his
community. The class would evolve into the Newton School of Metal Work and continue to
operate successfully for over half a century.

The School began at the peak of the Arts & Crafts Movement as one of numerous classes
under the umbrella of the Home Arts and Industries Association but it was one of a much
smaller number to become both a thriving metal working school and a successful village

This exhibition, based on research conducted by Arts and Crafts dealer, Dave Marshall, will
explore the history of the School from beginning to end; the founders, key designers and
workers and the organizations that influenced and shaped its success.

Piecing together the history of a School that was little documented during its lifetime is never
straightforward but it has been made much easier by the foresight of a relative of the former
tutor at the School, Bob Pluck, who thankfully retained an important archive of designs and

A copper and tin hot water jug with wooden handle designed by George Tanner in 1901 (Object No.30 Private Collection of Dave Marshall)

Pilgrim Trust Curator at David Parr House, Charlotte Woodley, says:

“We were very excited to have this opportunity to work with Dave Marshall to create this new
exhibition on the Newton School of Metalwork. So much is owed to Bob Pluck, who, like
Elsie Palmer at the David Parr House, was a careful custodian of a relative’s creative output,
this time in the form of the rich design archive. For the first time 47 pieces created by
the School will be displayed in our visitor centre and through our digital exhibition we are
able to connect the pieces with their design history. We hope that by telling the story of this
local Arts and Crafts School we help to cement its place in history, reviving not only the
memory of the school and its founders and designers, but also that of the 70 working class
men associated with it.”

Dave Marshall (Arts and Crafts dealer and Researcher) says:

“In early 2020 the chance find of a piece by the Newton School of Metal Work led
eventually to an introduction to Bob Pluck. Bob was a life long resident of Newton
village in Cambridgeshire and his great uncle had been the full time tutor at the
School for many years. Over the next year or so we became friends and worked
together on piecing together the full history of the School using an incredible archive
of material that Bob had the foresight to salvage from the old workshops.

This exhibition is the culmination of that project, combining historical facts with
original photographs and hand drawn designs alongside a significant number of
pieces of art metalwork produced by the School. Sadly Bob Pluck passed away in
August of 2021 but I know he was both excited about and keen to support this
exhibition which will finally help to show the contribution of this largely forgotten
School to Arts and Crafts metalwork and the local community.”

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

GIVEAWAY! (now closed)

We’re hosting a giveaway!!!

We’ve partnered with August Berg to gift one follower a stunning William Morris Strawberry Thief watch in silver/green!

Head over to our instagram page for full contest details!

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the Morris & Co. Garden

It is such a delight to see the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with the Morris & Co. garden.

Designed by Ruth Willmott Associates the garden is a modern interpretation of two of William Morris’s most iconic wallpaper designs, Trellis and Willow Boughs, and uses colour and pattern to bring his beautiful interiors into the natural outdoor setting which inspired them.

Incorporating the movement and sound of water into a garden can transform the space, but it’s important to make sure it creates the precise sound and the atmosphere you want to achieve before installing it.

In the Morris & Co. Garden at RHS Chelsea this year, a sequence of water channels will flow though the space inlaid with metal screens that will be laser-cut with Morris’ famous Willow Boughs pattern.

"I have long admired the work of William Morris, so it was a tremendous thrill to create this garden for Morris & Co. and we are all SO delighted to receive a Gold medal!" - Ruth Willmott

"Bringing the garden to life has involved dozens of skilled and dedicated experts each adding a creative layer to the finished garden, and it’s been particularly thrilling to collaborate with so many talented craftspeople this year." - Ruth Willmott


Sunday, 15 May 2022

Not Just A Park - Film Screening


Not Just a Park
A History of Toronto Island - Film screening

May 16, 2022, Time: 7:00 PM EDT
Members only Zoom Event 

Filmmaker Michael Kainer has written, directed and produced four feature documentaries, all with Toronto historical or cultural themes. His latest work, "Not Just a Park: A History of Toronto Island" features a rich store of archival images, including many drawn from the holdings of the Toronto Public Library's Special Collections.