Wednesday 6 December 2017

Support makers, craft, and the handmade!

Support this amazing organization dedicated to promoting craft, makers, and the handmade!

Donate today!


They also have an online shop!

Or visit in person!

1106 Queen Street West   
Toronto, ON, Canada
M6J 1H9
T 416 921 1721

Morrisian Spotlight: Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Photograph: Katrin Jakobsdottir centre, with current and former Society chairs Martin Stott and Ruth Levitas in a pub in Reykjavik

    Morrisian elected as Icelandic Prime Minister!

    Katrin Jakobsdottir, leader of Vinstri Graen (RedGreen), has served as Minister for Education, Science and Culture in the Green Left Government of 2009-13 and has taught at the University of Iceland where she is a specialist in Scandi crime literature. She is also an enthusiastic Morrisian and gave a lecture to the British chapter of the Society tour in 2013.
    In the lecture, entitled Good Afternoon Mr Morris she demonstrated an extraordinary knowledge both of Morris’s range of contributions to society, culture and politics, but also to their continuing impacts in Iceland. She structured her talk after the time travel of News from Nowhere, around the idea of Morris’s reappearance in present day Iceland, ‘our demented age’, where he joins her and her two brothers in a discussion over dinner.
    The themes of their ‘discussion’ ranged over what she considered to be likely to be Morris’s chief interests on his return; the survival of the Icelandic way of life including the way Icelandic embroidery has influenced modern Icelandic design; the preservation of historic houses and the pressures of redevelopment;  Morris’s views on how to build new businesses based on beauty and quality; the importance of the local as opposed to the mass-produced;  the difficulties faced by socialism, particularly ‘the fragmentation that seems to be a constant of the political left wing, exactly as he experienced in the late nineteenth century’; democracy and the role of the media including social media and the experience of direct democracy in Iceland’s recent history; the chasm between the power of big corporations and the working class; the integration in perspective between ‘domestic beautification’ and the class struggle and equality; sustainability and the intrinsic value of wilderness, and finally his likely views on ‘Game of Thrones’.
    A feminist, socialist, peace activist and climate change campaigner, she leads a coalition of centre right parties who mainly represent fishing and farming interests and are strongly Eurosceptic.

Martin Stott

Tuesday 14 November 2017

A Thousand Colours – Sarah Hall Glass Book Launch

A Thousand Colours – Sarah Hall Glass is a 312-page book featuring sixty luxurious portfolio spreads, a catalogue of all of her architectural work, and 17 insightful articles by writers over the course of her career.

To launch the new book have two planned public events – one at Massey College (U of T), and the other at Sandra Ainsley Gallery. We hope to see you at one of these events! 

• Massey CollegeSaturday, November 25  (2:00 - 4:00 PM)
> Click here for more details 

• Sandra Ainsley GalleryThursday, November 30  (7:00 - 9:00 PM) 
> Click here for more details

The book is offered at a special price at the two events.

Sunday 5 November 2017

260 Fingers: 26 Ceramic Artists

175 Third Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario

Friday, November 10th, 6-9pmSaturday, November 11th and Sunday, November 12th, 10am – 5pm

This November 10-12th, the twenty-six ceramic artists and potters of 260 Fingers 2017 will congregate at Ottawa’s Glebe Community Center for their annual exhibition and sale of some of the most inspiring and diverse ceramic work from Ontario and Quebec. The breadth and caliber of this show is recognized as unique in the province and features work from functional to sculptural, wood-fired to electric-fired, from formal, to functional, to highly decorative. This year we have 12 guest artists as well as our core group of talented artists.

For more information, click the image.

Monday 16 October 2017

Cloth Cultures: Future Legacies of Dorothy K. Burnham

During Canada’s 2017 Sesquicentennial celebrations, the Royal Ontario Museum will host an international conference to explore the material culture of textiles through the work and legacies of Dorothy K. Burnham (1911-2004), internationally renowned textile scholar and member of the Order of Canada (1985). Burnham was in the vanguard of the generation of early 20th century curators who made textiles and costume a field of valid scholarly research by finding out how and why objects are made in particular ways, what they meant when produced and what they mean to us today.
This international conference will examine the contemporary trajectories that stem from Dorothy K. Burnham’s legacies by bringing together an international group of academics, artists and maker communities directly or indirectly influenced by her work. It will be of interest to those working from many scholarly disciplines and practices including anthropology, sociology, history, economics aesthetics, museology, weaving, spinning and fibre art. Together, we will explore the current diversity of interdisciplinary methods used to study the technologies, economics, meanings and cultural imbued in global textiles and clothing, and in the process acknowledge and assess Burnham’s many contributions.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Fusion: Clay and Glass Show

October 13th - 15th
Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street)

Reception and Awards: October 13th at 7-9pm

October 14th: 8am - 5pm
October 15th: 11am - 5pm

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Canadian Craft Biennial Exhibition

Bringing together seventy makers from across Canada, Can Craft? Craft Can! presents works in glass, ceramics, wood, metal and fibre that address the themes of exploring ideas of Identity, Sustainability and Materiality.

August 19 – October 29, 2017

Lee-Chin Family Gallery
Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, ON

Tuesday 5 September 2017

William Morris, Re-Imagined

House of Hackney has done a re-imagining of William Morris prints, what are your thoughts?
(click on the image to be transferred to the website)

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Sheridan College Craft & Design Faculty Exhibition



SEPTEMBER 8th - OCTOBER 7th 2017
Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto
Closing Reception Thursday, October 5, 6 – 9 pm
Taking place as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Sheridan College’s Craft and Design Program, Teaching Materials
brings together the work of many of the program’s highly accomplished Faculty and Technologists. The knowledge and
skills they share inspire new generations of craftspeople and help shape the craft and design landscape in Canada. The old adage
“those that can’t do, teach” simply doesn’t apply here. The exhibition acknowledges Sheridan’s Craft & Design faculty in their
valuable roles as teachers, mentors, and leaders in education, while also sharing their phenomenal skill as makers and designers.
Teaching Materials includes work by:

Elaine Brodie
Owen Colborne
Jess Riva Cooper
Rob Diemert
Marc Egan
Peter Fleming
Lee Fletcher
Jin Won Han
Kate Jackson
Laura Kukkee
Scot Laughton
Sally McCubbin
Rachel Miller
Megan Price
Katrina Tompkins
Thang Tran

Tuesday 25 July 2017


Historicist: Eden Smith and the Arrival of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Toronto

A key figure within the Canadian Arts and Crafts movement, and well-connected to the cultural elite, Toronto architect Eden Smith made a lasting impact on the urban fabric of the city. 

A sketch for the Wychwood branch of the Toronto Public Library, designed by Eden Smith. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Please click on the image to read the article!

Thursday 8 June 2017

“The hand, the head, and the heart”: Ruskin, Morris, and Craftsmanship Today

SYMPOSIUM - June 3rd

This one-day event was jointly hosted by The Guild of St. George and the William Morris Society of Canada. The symposium focused on the influence of John Ruskin and William Morris on craftsmanship, both in their own time and on those who continue to honour that legacy in their work today.

The symposium was a great celebration of Ruskin, Morris, and craft!

The first presentation was by David Latham, who connected the Noble Grotesque to Pre-Raphaelite art, as symbols thrown together in bold and fearless connection, explaining that the designer and maker must then be same individual. The Pre-Raphaelites were a rejection of academic art, and looked to the idealized Medieval communal makers. In Canada, a colonial response to folkloric traditions can be traced in the works of JEH MacDonald and Homer Watson, who borrowed the nostalgic aestheticism of the Arts and Crafts movement. It is in the work of Elaine Waisglass that the Arts and Crafts tradition may be found, in the juxtaposition between the timeless use of light and the immortal sense of her medium.

The next presentation was by Sara Atwood, who spoke of the affinity between hand-craft and word-craft. “Writers are Makers as well”, as words must be chosen, shaped, and are the tools of writers. Needlework can also be allied to writing, in the choice and fine detail evoked by words, creating meaning through word choice. Through the lens of John Ruskin, Atwood asserts that the art of writing must be felt, and can be learned; there is a pleasure and practice in its craftsmanship.

Artist Kateri Ewing spoke about her personal journey into art through reading John Ruskin, and the importance of sight. It is through seeing and careful observation that the artist can perceive the world and find beauty. And it is the experience of making that is more important than the finished product.

In her presentation, Rachel Dickinson discussed notions of the ‘handmade’, and the marketing and branding reproductions that permeate the market today. Her focus on textiles and our experience of them, as we make/wear, choose our clothing, how we decorate our homes, etc. The ecology of the Arts and Crafts movement is at odds with Industrialization, and this is still a struggle we see today. The art of peace, through John Ruskin, is in spinning and weaving; to demonstrate grace and beauty within, we adorn ourselves and our homes with handmade and handcrafted items. We must support ethically made products.

The final presentation of the day was by Ann Gagné, who focused on maker culture and spaces in Toronto. She spoke of the tension between technological tools and creative ingenuity, and the resurgence of re-purposing in maker culture today. In part due to the dissatisfaction with the poor quality of items available, the surge of makers and their craftsmanship a drive for a new generation of makers. Gagné also mentioned the ‘re-purposing’ of historic Toronto buildings, and the need to keep to the adage of Morris and Ruskin “to protect not perfect,” away from the “façade-ism” of Toronto’s architectural choices.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Arts and Crafts in Bloom!

Home of Eden Smith

From 1896-1906

The home of prominent Toronto architect, Eden Smith (1859-1949), he designed this house in 1896 as his family residence. It was part of an artistic colony on Indian Road, where he planned residences for like-minded artists and supporters of the arts. The family lived in this home until 1906, when they moved to Wychwood Park. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, the house was Eden Smith's prototype of the English Cottage style, with its sweeping roof, off-centre gable, and side entrance. During his long career, Eden Smith used variations of this design in neighbourhoods around Toronto.
(From the plaque by the Toronto Historical Board, 1996)

Photo courtesy of Lera Kotsyuba

Monday 17 April 2017

Two More Events, Including One This Week!

This Thursday evening, Andrew Pruss will be giving a talk about three Eden Smith libraries in Toronto... in June we have our Morris/Ruskin symposium, and in July we'll have another book discussion/picnic... all the details can be found on our Future Events tab at the top of this page.

There are more plans in the works, and - remember - members get priority booking on trips and other limited-capacity events. But all our current future events are open to all, so we hope to see you there!

Thursday 30 March 2017

Announcing This Year's Symposium

Things are warming up at last in Toronto, and last Saturday was particularly special with our society's annual celebration of Morris's birthday (his 183rd!).

Dr. Sheila Latham gave a engrossing and entertaining illustrated presentation to a larger-than-usual audience. The subject was Morris in Oxford, and this was followed (left) by a toast given by Sheila, and birthday cake.

We're still working on other events for the year, but in the meantime, our annual symposium has been announced and it's a special one, co-hosted with The Guild of St. George:

“The hand, the head, and the heart”: Ruskin, Morris, and Craftsmanship Today

Claude T. Bissell Building
Room 205
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
June 3, 2017
10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

This one-day event is jointly hosted by The Guild of St. George and the William Morris Society of Canada. The symposium will focus on the influence of John Ruskin and William Morris on craftsmanship, both in their own time and on those who continue to honour that legacy in their work today. The day will feature scholars and artists from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

For more details, visit our Future Events tab at the top of this page.

Thursday 2 March 2017

March Means...Birthday Time!

Birthday Boy William Morris will be feted by the society on Saturday, March 25. For all the details, visit our "Future Events" tab above.

There'll be a lecture by Sheila Latham on Morris's time in Oxford. And there'll be cake.

Illustration: the murals at the Oxford Union, created by Morris and friends.

Monday 9 January 2017

Join us This Saturday!

Group tour of the exhibition Sheila Hicks: Material Voices
11:15 a.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2017
The Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue, Toronto

Entrance fee at the door: $10
TTC directions: St. Patrick subway station

Drawing on global weaving traditions as well as the history of painting, sculpture, graphic design and architecture, American artist Sheila Hicks has redefined the role of fibre in art. The exhibition Sheila Hicks: Material Voices spans 50 years of her prolific artistic career

Keep checking our Future Events tab at the top of the page for more information.

See you Saturday!