For the pass few weeks since Christmas it's been a bit quiet on the Hook & Scumble blogging front as I have spent time sketching, planning, reading and thinking. Thinking for me has taken up quite alot of my time as it's a process that usually starts with one hundred million thoughts and ideas for new projects that need to be filtered and refined before something tangible emerges. The other process that has taken up quite a bit of my time has been reading. Now I'm not a great reader, but having said that our little cottage is packed with books...books to inspire, books to tell you how "do" or "make" something, historical and factual books, books packed with inspiration . So, when I say "I'm not a great reader," on reflection that's not entirely true, I'm not a great reader of fiction. So what book I hear you say, has captured my time ?
The reason I love this book, and am in the throws of reading it from cover to cover, is it is an excellent history of the Arts & Crafts Movement. From Morris & Co, to Liberty of London, the book details how these companies and their owners influenced the move away from the mass produced to unique handcrafted and handmade beautiful products that could also be functional and useful. The author, catalogues the many influential artists and craftsman of the time and provides detailed history and photographs of their work, which ranges from wallpapers, prints, furniture , glass and jewellery. Many of these individual's work and design processes I have admired and have been influenced by and , in some small way , the revival in recent years of "handmade and handcrafted," has allowed me to feel that perhaps my work continues to contribute in a very small way to the ideals this movement were true to . As William Morris himself once said, " Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful, " and I'm hoping this year, the pieces I design and make will be both useful and beautiful and treasured by someone for that very reason.