William Morris:
Wallpaper Man

Storybox 02:

I believe machines 
can do everything -
except make works
of art 

[11] Ella Chedburn

While writing my dissertation on whether computers could create art, I came across this quote by William Morris: “machines can do everything - except make works of art.” My project cheekily challenges his words by training an artificial learning software to cre

ate paintings just like his. To do this, I compiled a dataset of all the Morris images I could find in the William Morris Gallery archives and Google. Then, I fed them to a GAN software and it created 100 new William Morris artworks.  The images are displayed on a Raspberry Pi 1.4x1.4inch LCD screen which I created with the help of @techshedfrome. I left the wires and computer exposed to emphasise the computerised nature of my video.  

Instagram: @ellachedburn.art  
website: ellachedburn.com

[12] Maisie Noble & Ben Lee

The Talisman Stacking Project

By unravelling the wealth within the archive, the artists unearthed patterns and notions that led them to question how 21st century technology is altering an individual’s sense of place. A moment of inspiration came from Morris’s translations of Icelandic Sagas when May Morris, his daughter, wrote that “something deeply rooted in [him] found the world of the North familiar”, tethering him to Celtic and Pagan folklore and their grounding in nature. Both artists, being of Welsh heritage, identify with the premise of being tethered to a place. The Welsh word ‘Hiraeth’, having no direct translation in English, expresses a deep longing for home and a nostalgia for something lost that cannot be reclaimed.

Emerging technologies are igniting global conversations, uniting cultural narratives across the earth. For the artists, rituals and conventions are now being both subverted and re-realised through globalisation, enabling humankind to become ever more enfolded. Our lives are now the product of shared experiences, transcending both digital and geographical boundaries. The Talisman Stacking Project invites participants to explore the social and environmental possibilities of open source online repositories. It was born from a desire to re-ground participants’ sense of place and tap into unique and shared nostalgias to create an open resource. It is a bank of digital modular artefact templates that can be downloaded, uploaded and 3D printed, enabling users to create personalised totemic structures. This project celebrates the idea that technology can be a tool to liberate an individual’s creativity or accelerate craft skills, whilst having positive social impact

Instagram: @maisienoble  
website: talismanstackingproject.co.uk

[13] Matthew Hams

My work for this project has been an investigation into William Morris’ connection with water and the reasons why it was important to him in both his life and his work. He lived directly by it, wrote about it and described enjoying being “on the water”. The flow of water was also an important aspect in the creation of his artistic and commercial work and I have been especially interested in his connection with the River Wandle – on which he not only located his business at Merton Abbey Mills but was also invested in the preservation of its natural beauty. In a letter to John Ruskin Morris described his role at Merton Abbey Mills as, “doing my best to keep the place decent”. 

In my work with the Storybox Collective and The William Morris Society I have digitally recreated part of a meander on the River Wandle near Carshalton (also my home), as a way of considering Morris’ connection with the flow of water and its simple, natural beauty. The project is also an opportunity to reconsider our own connection with the flow of water in an usual space, as well as our relationship with the repercussions of the destruction of beauty and exploitation of our natural resources.

Instagram: @matthew_hams   
website: www.iamhams.com/morris

[14] Patrick Thomas

Patrick Thomas is a graphic artist, author and educator. He studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art in London before relocating to Barcelona in 1991. He currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He has exhibited his limited-edition silkscreens across five continents, where many are now held in private and public collections. He has lectured and held many workshops worldwide, extensively in the UK and Spain. In 2005 he published Black & White, a compilation of his work for the International Press. In 2011 his Protest Stencil Toolkit was published by Laurence King, UK. A revised edition was released in April 2019. In April 2018 he was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Front Row about his twenty-four hour public installation Breaking News in Liverpool for RRU News an independent art organisation funded by the Arts Council of Great Britain and Liverpool City Council. The project was since developed and shown in London, Manchester, Seoul, Novi Saad and Rome. In 2019 he created Open Collab a self-run workshop format to enable and encourage collaboration, dialogue and experimentation between participants. In March 2020 a free online platform was launched during Covid-19 lockdown to enable remote real-time collaboration. Since its launch thousands of creatives have participated worldwide. Since October 2013 he is a professor at ABK-Stuttgart. He is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and in Spring 2019 he was invited for a seven week residency at Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo, the German Academy in Rome. In January 2020 his artwork for The Berliner Philharmoniker was shortlisted for a Grammy.

Instagram: @xpatrickthomas

[15] Brandon Pestano

'The Romanticist's Nightmare'

An original poem accompanied by long lost historical archive footage of nature, contrasted with horrifying scenes of pollution, as a response to William Morris as a romanticist poet and proto-environmentalist during the time of the industrial revolution and the destruction of natural habitats and ecosystems.

I have often thought about our responsibilities as artists to convey the issues that are most important to our generation. For me environmental destruction is at the top of that list, and I believe that in some ways we now live in what could be described as 'The Romantcist's Nightmare', in that all the fears and warnings presented by the great poets of the 18th century regarding the dangers of losing touch with the natural world, have now escalated to a reality in which the future of our species and planet is now in jeopardy. I have narrated a poem addressing the importance of maintaining a connection with nature now more than ever, paying homage to the ages before, in which great minds and thinkers such as William Morris opened up our spirits to the wonders of the natural world and the importance of protecting it in the face of oblivion.

Instagram: @brandonpestano

[16] Jack Niblett

Albion is a serif typeface, based on the drawings of William Morris' Golden Type (1890) and Emery Walker & Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson's Doves Type (1899) — both based on Nicholas Jenson's Venetian Type (1470). I became super interested in the letterforms, which have been revived over & over again. As they were described by William Morris as ‘the completest & most roman type.’ What became obvious to me whilst I was reviving the Golden Type, was the ideas that have been passed on down with the development of every revival. The Golden Type is derived from a place of care & love for type design. To me, the Golden Type symbolises William Morris's ideas about craftsmanship. Something which I hope to embody within Albion, which has been worked on by me for 6 months now and will be worked on for the years to come.

Albion is still very much a work-in-progress, there is still much more to add to the typeface. Currently, it contains one weight of Italics, but they are a work in progress. The typeface contains five, individual weights (Thin, Light, Regular, Heavy, Bold) and around 469 glyphs in each weight (a total of 2,814 letters, at its current stage). 

Instagram: @nblett

[17] Ilaria Antolini

Inspired by Morris’s criticism of the modern, industrialised world and his declaration of the necessity of reconnection between people and nature using design as a vehicle, my project is a sustainable fashion collection, created partly digitally and partly physically, using old clothes and waste materials. The project aim is to reconnect us all with nature and the world at its beginnings, when everything was in equilibrium and humans and nature were perfectly communicating with each other. Harmony Collection will make us feel in harmony with everything around us through 5 pieces of clothes, that take inspiration to the 4 Elements of Nature: earth, water, air, fire plus aether (the fifth element introduced later by Aristotle). The strength of this project is that every piece has been created with what's available my waste fabric, packaging and other recyclable material.  Every artwork naturally came from mixing initial ideas with my flow of creativity. 

Instagram: @ilariantolini   
facebook: @ilariantolini   
website: www.ilariaantolini.com


[18] Faan Peeti

My impression of William Morris is that he was not only an artist, but also an influential socialist who wanted to create a better society by using his artistic skill. He once said: “art should improve the life of ordinary people” and he attempted to bring this idea to reality by creating the Arts and Crafts movement. It was a phenomenon that changed the way people think, and influenced future artists and movements such as the Bauhaus to pursue his vision. William Morris reminds me not to overlook the power of art.

Back to my country. Right now, Thailand is facing a turning point of its political history. After living under the power of dictatorship for 6 years, the young citizen could not tolerate the corrupt government anymore. In last few months, student mobs are emerging all around the country to fight against the military government. 

I wish to use my artistic skill to communicate this situation and empower this democratic movement. Inspired by William Morris, I will use a flower as a symbol of the pure, young spirit of these students that bloom against the dark power. My work helps you to see the blooming of the Thai power through animation and the creation of a flip through book.

Instagram: @faanpeeti   
website: www.faanpeeti.com
© 2020 The Storybox Collective
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