WM on the Tour de France route by Sasha Ward

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I found two churches with William Morris windows on the Stage One Tour de France route. I watched the riders come through Otley this morning, then went to visit the churches. The first one, St. Wilfrid in Pool in Wharfedale, was decorated with bicycles and had a "Le church, le tour, le welcome !" sign but was locked.

The second, St. Margaret's in Ilkley, is a Norman Shaw church. There are lots of good windows inside, including one of four angels (below) designed by WM and made in 1894. It looks great and in composition is so much simpler than the rest of the windows (mostly made by Powell & Sons) in the church.

Inspiration from May by Sasha Ward


I am particularly drawn to the case of May Morris' possessions in one of the attics. Box Cottage, above and below, is giving me lots of ideas for projects while I am at Kelmscott.


Below : Part of May's frieze of Kelmscott and The Manor with WM's words (from The Earthly Paradise) embroidered in the 1890s and now in the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow.

"As a keen watercolorist, her intimate knowledge of nature came from personal observation, en plein air, an experience that her father found either uncomfortable or unnecessary." Linda Parry, May Morris, embroidery and Kelmscott.

"You see  William Morris could design embroideries but he could not embroider, any way not as well as Miss Morris could, Mrs. Morris could embroider but couldn't design, Miss Morris could and did both design as well as William Morris and embroider as well as any one possibly could..." Mary Lobb, from a letter to Eric Maclagen.


Signatures progress by Sasha Ward


The current project is progressing well, I have more then a hundred signatures. Above you can see a family who all signed their names using a diamond tipped pen on a piece of white glass. I have picked out scraps of coloured glass in pale and neutral colours for visitors to choose from, so that when I trim the pieces to fit against each none of them will jar or jump out. 

The design for the finished panel is made up of blocks of stripes which follow the dimensions of the signatures. I have started with the darkest colours for the central section, below left. The other photo, from Martin & Wendy Hiscock, I will piece in near the border with other pale bits.

The diamond tipped pen comes from and is called a lunzer lancer pen.

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Portraits of real country by Sasha Ward

"The only limitations I should put upon subjects would be upon landscape painters; and to them I should insist on all their pictures being real portraits of real country. I mean I take no interest in made-up landscapes: where is it? is my first question when I see a landscape."                        

From a letter from William Morris to Thomas Coglan Horsfall, April 7th 1881.


I want to come up with a design during this residency that captures the characteristics of the landscape around Kelmscott. So far, I have been drawn to the River Thames and the rows of trees that line its banks. My drawing above was done from the path towards Buscot, looking back to the river that is hidden in the line of trees that I also photographed on my walk to Lechlade.

My favourite DGR item by Sasha Ward

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On the left, my drawing of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's drawing "Pomegranate and Lily", hanging in WM's bedroom. On the right, the silk embroidery by Jane Morris from this drawing, hanging on the other side of the window. I haven't copied a drawing for ages, what I wanted to show in this and my two first attempts below, is its huge glowing 3 dimensional presence in the room.  

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