Monday 19 December 2022

An Arts & Crafts Airstream


An Arts & Crafts Airstream trailer designed with Morris' Pimpernell, by Bonnie Christine and her husband David.

Read all about it here: 

Saturday 26 November 2022

WMSC Holiday Party 2022

WMSC Holiday Party 2022

Hosted at the Faculty Club, UofT

The WMSC holiday dinner party will be held on Dec. 20, 2022 at the Faculty Club, at the University of Toronto.  This will be a three course sit-down dinner with full plated table service. A bar will be available to purchase wine at an additional cost, credit or debit card only. 

The Faculty Club requests everyone's menu choices for the 3 courses by Dec. 12. They also need to know if there are any food allergies and restrictions. 

You can use the form above to indicate the menu selections for 1 or 2 members, and 1 or 2 guests. Please include the names of individuals, which will help the Faculty Club ensure that the correct meal gets to the correct person. 

Members + Guests

Sunday 13 November 2022

Designing Preservation: Waterways in the Works and Patterns of William Morris

Designing Preservation: Waterways in the Works and Patterns of William Morris
A lecture by Professor Elysia French

Monday Nov. 21 at 7:00 pm EST
Zoom Lecture

‘Wandle', furnishing fabric, William Morris 


Historians have demonstrated awareness of William Morris’s environmental ideologies yet have widely ignored this aspect of his work. Morris’s writings on the environment have commonly been described as romantic, escapist, and utopian; if this remains how they are interpreted, historians risk losing valuable insights into the innovative and progressive qualities of Morris’s environmentalism. William Morris’s environmental ideologies were innovative for his time and applicable for today. Through an exploration of his designs, in which he employs the Thames River as a tool of ecological commentary, it will become clear how Morris’s concerns for environmental preservation, freedom, and justice were embedded within his art.

Dr. Elysia French is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. French is trained as an art historian and studies contemporary environmentally and socially engaged work. Her research is focused on intersections between art and the environment with a particular interest in climate change, the culture of oil, and multispecies relationships.

    She is interested in how cultural producers—those operating within the realms of art and visual culture, community and participatory arts, and activism—are making climate change discourse accessible and relevant to the growing public concern. In recent work, French demonstrated how art is a vital field of inquiry in understanding environmental loss through an exploration of the connections that exist between species and stories. Her current multifaceted and collaborative project, Making (Eco)Logical, brings together diverse perspectives from contemporary artists, activists, curators, scholars and theorists, who explore the ways in which art informs perceptions and communications of environmental and social injustices associated with environmental change.

Saturday 5 November 2022

Enola Holmes and the Arts and Crafts Movement


Enola Holmes (2020)

As trends come and go, William Morris designs dance between on-trend Maximalism to evocative Victorian patterns, used in film and TV to suit whichever narrative. With a keen eye for Morris prints, you too can see them pop up in anything from Stranger Things to Riverdale to Bridgerton, and also in Enola Holmes.

The film is set in the late 1880's, and follows a young Enola Holmes (sister of Sherlock Holmes), on her coming-of-age journey. The ancestral home of the Holmes is Ferndell Hall, a mansion that evokes both boisterous Gothic ornament and old manor home decor, and an Arts & Crafts aesthetic. Dark wood panelling suffuse the home and carved finials on many surfaces with heavy patterns and dark colours are accompanied by floral and wildlife motifs. Bird and Pomegranate is a Morris & Co pattern from 1926, but evokes the heavy ornament of the Victorian period the film is set in, lightened by the birds and fruit of the pattern that draws attention to the study of flora and fauna that Enola and her mother have made as their private language with one another. 

  Bird and Pomegranate, Morris & Co, 1926

Throughout the film Enola dons a series of disguises, she ends the film in a dress that evokes Arts & Crafts paintings, while also looking to the future and the Edwardian silhouette. Rather than the voluminous skirts and bustles of the 1880's, her silk gown is leaning more into the 19-teens. 

Enola Holmes (2020)

The dress can be inferred to draw its inspiration from the Aesthetic Dress of the Pre-Raphaelites, whose medieval-inspired clothing called for the drape of a smooth garment that skims the body, usually with voluminous sleeves and embroidered decoration. 

Kate Elizabeth Bunce, The Keepsake (1901)

John William Waterhouse, Ophelia (1894) 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Salutation of Beatrice (1859)

Enola's dress shows off decorative embroidery (interestingly the making-of which she scorned earlier in the film) without it overwhelming her in decoration. The dress allows for an ease of movement (which she demonstrates by riding a bicycle, an expression of free movement of the period) and sets her apart from the heavily decorated garments in fashion of the day.

Enola Holmes, 2020

Liberty of London/Paris silk gown, c. 1890's

1913 dress, Netherlands

Musings by: Lera Kotsyuba

Lera Kotsyuba is a board member of the WMSC, and is an art and architecture historian and critic. 

Thursday 6 October 2022

Kate Elizabeth Bunce and Women’s Engagement with Arts & Crafts


Kate Elizabeth Bunce and Women's Engagement with Arts & Crafts
A lecture by WMSC Member Azadeh Monzavi

October 20, 2022, Time: 7:00 PM EDT
Zoom Lecture

The Keepsake, Kate Elizabeth Bunce
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

This 1901 painting is based on a poem by Rossetti and was first shown with this quotation:

'Then stepped a damsel to her side,
And spoke and needs must weep:
'For his sake, lady, if he died,
He prayed of thee to keep
This staff and scrip'.

    Kate Elizabeth Bunce was a Birmingham-born artist associated with the later phase of Pre-Raphaelitism. Her work and contribution to that movement have been acknowledged by scholars such as Jan Marsh. This paper argues that although her paintings have been discussed in publications focusing on Pre-Raphaelite art and the Arts and Crafts movement, Bunce’s work invites renewed attention for its unique character which bridges stylistic elements of these movements and Aestheticism. In paintings such as The Keepsake (1898–1901), Victorian preoccupations with morality, gender roles and sexuality are artfully cloaked in Medievalist notions of religious piety, feminine fidelity and male chivalry. Her use of historicized allegorical themes and symbols are made modern through her subtle engagement with the growing popularity of hand-crafted techniques as championed in the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Keepsake also illustrates the late nineteenth-century fashion for ‘Aesthetic’ dress even as it references the historical influences of Medievalism on such styles. The figure of the Queen is adorned with a silk dress decorated with hand-embroidered griffins while her attendant wears a similarly quasi-medieval gown fashioned in a bold printed fabric reminiscent of patterns designed by Charles Francis Voysey for Liberty’s. At the turn of the century, viewers of this painting would have recognized its historicism while simultaneously appreciating the artist’s attention to changing notions of contemporary fashion and ornament. Ultimately, this paper highlights Bunce’s cognizance of history and modernity by drawing attention to the nuanced way The Keepsake straddles closely connected, yet distinct artistic movements.

Azadeh Monzavi is a WMSC board member and a Ph.D. student and interdisciplinary maker/researcher in Communication and Culture at Toronto Metropolitan University. She holds an undergraduate degree in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto, and a Masters in Fashion from TMU. Her doctoral research investigates intergenerational and transnational bonds between women, mediated through aesthetic and personal objects of significance drawn from the interconnected fields of textiles, craft, literature and art. Her research explores the decolonizing potential for textile practices as a form of media for communication and connection within broader discourses of intersectional feminism and visual culture.

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:

Find more of Dr. Geeraert's writings on Morris in 'Useful & Beautiful', a William Morris Society US publication, available here:

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

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.

Monday 9 May 2022

Morris & Co. Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show


Award-winning garden and landscape designer Ruth Willmott is designing the Morris & Co. Show Garden at RHS Chelsea 2022. Discover more about the planting and layout of the garden in her second Chelsea Flower Show blog excerpts below.

Ruth Willmott in William Morris's garden at Kelmscott Manor


William Morris had a passion for English hedgerows and an affinity to the natural world, so it’s crucial to me that the garden works with nature. I want the planting to reflect a natural, countryside setting and provide a welcoming environment for wildlife.

Morris was an early advocate of using native species and long-cultivated non-natives to attract birds and bees, which is an approach I use in all of my garden designs. So, I’ll be mixing cottage garden favourites such as iris, peony, dianthus, geranium, foxglove and the soft velvety foliage of Stachys byzantina to achieve blue, purple, earthy red and apricot tones. The garden will also feature shrubs chosen to provide shelter, shade and food for wildlife.


Look out for weeping, twisted and pollarded varieties of willow in the garden. This choice was inspired by Morris’s famous ‘Willow Boughs’ design, alongside hawthorn foliage that appeared in his ‘Jasmine’ design.

Elsewhere, cotoneaster, Berberis and viburnum will feature, while roses, which were another of Morris’s favourites, will grow in both rambling and climbing varieties. I’m particularly excited about the spectacular ‘winged thorn’ rose (Rosa sericea subsp. omeiensis f. pteracantha), with its translucent red thorns which glow like rubies in the morning and evening light.

'Trellis’ and ‘Willow Boughs’


Of course, the naturalistic world that inspired Morris was largely to be found in the rural landscape, while our Chelsea Show Garden will be in the heart of London. So, to create the sense of being immersed in a country garden, I’ll use plants in abundance. For me, whether urban or rural, a garden should always have a far greater proportion of soft planting over hard surface. The Morris & Co. Garden, much like all of my projects, will work on a ratio of 3:1 planting to hard landscaping.

Central to the design is a quadrant, inspired by another of Morris’s iconic designs, ‘Trellis’.  This will consist of a series of inter-connecting pathways forming the shape of the garden. It’s this structure that will allow me to manage the volume of plants. All gardens, in fact, benefit from structure underneath soft planting. This allows plants to ramble freely without creating a wholly untamed nature reserve!

Putting everything together

Colour and harmony will be key to the success of the garden so, as the plants slowly begin to emerge, now’s also the time to see how they work together. Most importantly, I’ll be looking at how they blend with other elements in the garden such as the central pavilion, with its laser-cut screens layered with two contrasting colours in the shape of the ‘Willow Boughs’ design.

Everything is looking positive and, with just days to go until we go on site to begin the build, the weather is looking promising too… just as long as the plants don’t peak too soon!

The Morris & Co. Garden can be found on Main Avenue at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 23-28 May 2022.
To find out more about the garden design practice Ruth Willmott Associates, click here.
Read Ruth’s first Chelsea Flower Show blog here.

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Sourcing & Making Pigments & Paints: Anong Beam


Sourcing & Making Pigments & Paints

Art + Craft 

April 28, 2022, Time: 7:30 PM EDT
Members only Zoom Event 

Artist and paint maker Anong Migwans Beam lives and works in her home community of M'Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Raised by artist parents Ann and Carl Beam, she was homeschooled and apprenticed with her father in ceramic, pigment and clay gathering as well as in his painting and photography studio. In addition to the School of Fine Arts in Boston and the Ontario College of Art and Design, she studied at the Institute of American Indian Art.

Anong has also drawn inspiration from the work of William Morris.

In 2018 she founded Beam Paints, makers of plastic free paints and watercolours inspired by her culture and pigment gathering of her youth. 

“With our Indigenous paint tradition, we seek to celebrate the colours of the wide world with the intimacy of the northern forest - and in this fusion create paint that makes you and your paintings feel vibrantly alive."

Friday 25 March 2022

WMSC 2022 Cake: Flora

 Our cake design this year is 'Flora', an 1891 pattern by William Morris.

The cake is a lemon and lilac honey sponge with a hibiscus-strawberry jelly and orange blossom buttercream. The pattern recalls illuminated medieval manuscripts with floral motifs in bright blues, greens, and reds.

The 'Flora' wallpaper, a pattern featuring a variety of flowers, with undulating green stems with large yellow flowers running vertically; pink, green, blue, yellow and orange on a pale ground. A colour woodblock print on paper.

To watch how it was made, enjoy the video below:

Thursday 24 March 2022

Happy 188th Birthday William Morris!

 Our friends at the Robertson Davies Library at Massey College have a wonderful video about Morris and the Kelmscott Press!

Today we celebrate 188 years of William Morris. William Morris was one of the most significant figures in the arts and crafts movement, a man of far ranging creativity and knowledge. He loved reading and nature above all else which shows in his designs and artwork.

Monday 14 March 2022

William Morris' 188th Birthday Celebration


William Morris' 188th Birthday Celebration

Arts & Crafts Gardens

March 27, 2022, Time: 3 PM EST
Members only Zoom Event 

WMSC board member Ksenija Klinger will give an illustrated lecture on the history and design of six Arts and Crafts gardens in the UK. Ksenija is a retired architect, urban planner and designer who continues to be passionate about beauty and well executed design.

Afterwards a toast to William Morris, and the unveiling of the 2022 cake!

Friday 11 February 2022

UK: Online Lecture: A Remarkable Woman: The Art of May Morris


FEBRUARY 15, 2022 

18:00 UK time
13:00 Canada (1 pm EST)

Overshadowed for many years by her more famous father, May Morris is now beginning to gain the recognition she deserves as being an incredibly talented craftswoman in her own right. Teacher, lecturer, editor, jeweller and designer, May was accomplished in a wide range of crafts, but it is her work as an embroiderer that is considered to be her greatest achievement. May’s knowledge of needlework, her talent for designing and her brilliance with the needle led to raising the status of embroidery to fine art. This talk will cover May’s life and work, with a focus on her beautiful designs and completed embroideries, demonstrating why May should be regarded as one of the most significant artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Helen Elletson has been Research and Development Curator at the William Morris Society since 2000 and Research Curator at the Emery Walker Trust since 2010. Amongst Helen’s publications are A History of Kelmscott House (2009) and Highlights of the William Morris Society’s Collection (2015), as well as articles on the Arts and Crafts movement including A Feeling for Beauty: May Morris, Emery Walker, and the Arts and Crafts of Hammersmith in Country Life (2017).

This is an online talk, held on Zoom.

Sign up here:

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Perspectives on Pre-Raphaelite Art Lectures


Part I: Perspectives on Pre-Raphaelite Art

Sunday January 16th, 2022 at 2:00 pm EST
Members only Zoom Event 

John Everett Millais, Ophelia (1851-2)

This lecture is by Dr. John Wolforth, Prof. Emeritus, McGill. This lecture will focus on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the youthful ambitions of its founders.


Part II: The Later Pre-Raphaelites

Tuesday February 8th, 2022 at 7:30 pm EST
Members only Zoom Event 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Joan of Arc (1882)

This lecture is by Dr. John Wolforth, Prof. Emeritus, McGill. This talk will look at the later years of the movement.

Couldn't make this lecture?
Some suggested reading:

Fiona MacCarthy, The Last Pre-Raphaelite
The Pre-Raphaelite Collection at UBCAngeli-Dennis Collection