Monday, July 13, 2015

William Morris' curated dictionary (in progress)

William Morris, 1883

Art education: (...) general capability in dealing with the arts. (TLA).
... I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few. (TLA).

Art: (...) the human pleasure of life is what I mean by art.  (A&L).
(...) It is the art of the people: the art produced by the daily labour of all kinds of men for the daily use of all kinds of men. (Idem.)

Art and labor: (...) I understand by real art ... the expression by man of his pleasure in labour. (AOP).

Art price: ... the providing of a handicraftsman who shall put his own individual intelligence and enthusiasm into the goods he fashions. (MB).

Art justice: ... so that we may adorn life with the pleasure of cheerfully buying goods at their due price; with the pleasure of selling goods that we could be proud of both for fair price and fair workmanship: with the pleasure of working soundly and without haste at making goods that we could be proud of? (TLA).

Aesthetic simplicity:  All art starts from this simplicity; and the higher the art rises, the greater the simplicity. (BOL).
(...) have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. (TBL).

Beauty: ...everything made by man's hands has a form, which must be either beautiful or ugly; beautiful if it is in accord with Nature, and helps her; ugly if it is discordant with Nature, and thwarts her. (TLA).

Beauty of life: that beauty ... is what is meant by art. (BOL).

The handicraft question: ...have we not good reason for wishing, if it might be, that handicraft should once more step into the place of machine-production? (The Revival of Handicraft)

Ugly: I have said that the produce of man's labour must be ugly if art be not applied to it. (ACT)

Form: ... forms and intricacies that do not necessarily imitate nature, but in which the hand of the craftsman is guided to work in the way that she does, till the web, the cup, or the knife, look as natural, nay as lovely, as the green field, the river bank, or the mountain flint. (TLA).

Purpose of artwork: To give people pleasure in the things they must perforce use, that is one great office of decoration; to give people pleasure in the things they must perforce make, that is the other use of it. (TLA).
(...) art will make our streets as beautiful as the woods, as elevating as the mountain-sides: it will be a pleasure and a rest, and not a weight upon the spirits to come... (TLA).
(...) art made by the people and for the people as a joy to the maker and the user. (TLA).

Originality: (...) the essence of the art is that the decorator's art cannot be imitative even to the limited extent that the picture-painter's art is... (MB).
(...) your convention must be your own, and not borrowed from other times and peoples; or, at the least, that you must make it your own by thoroughly understanding both the nature and the art you are dealing with. (Idem.)

Tradition: It is no longer tradition if it is servilely copied, without change, the token of life. (MB).

Profit: (...) for profit the workman has been robbed of one pleasure which as long as he is a workman is perhaps his most important one: pleasure in his daily work: he is now only part of a machine. (A&L).

Art ownership: He must be allowed to think of what he is doing, and to vary his work as the circumstances of it vary, and his own moods. He must be for ever striving to make the piece he is at work at better than the last. (MB).

Craftsperson's "due": Money enough to keep him from fear of want or degradation ... leisure enough from bread-earning work to give him time to read and think ... work enough of the kind aforesaid ... and lastly, his own due share of art, a dwelling that ... does not lack beauty. (MB).

Machines: (...) chiefly machines for carrying on the competition in buying and selling, called falsely commerce; and machines for the violent destruction of life (...) men's work shall be fit for free men and not for machines. (AOP).
(...) we should be the masters of our machines and not their slaves, as we are now. It is not this machine which we want to get rid of, but the great intangible machine of commercial tyranny, which oppresses the lives of all of us. (AP).
(...) why is he (Man) the slave to machinery? Because he is the slave to the system for whose existence the invention of machinery was necessary. (SC).

Medieval labor ideals: (...) the work of all handicrafts in the Middle Ages produced beauty as a necessary part of the goods. (A&L).

Mammon-worship: Four more churches are to be sacrificed to the Mammon-worship and want of taste of this great city. (DCC)

Industrial evil: ... by far the most part of their lives in work, which at the best cannot interest them, or develop their best faculties, and at the worst is mere unmitigated slavish toil, only to be wrung out of them by the sternest compulsion. (TBL).

Simplicity of life: Simplicity of life, begetting simplicity of taste, that is, a love for sweet and lofty things, is of all matters most necessary for the birth of the new and better art we crave for; simplicity everywhere, in the palace as well as in the cottage. (TLA).
(...) is the absence of encumbering gew-gaws. (TBL).
(...) simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement. (PAC).
(...) Simplicity of life, begetting simplicity of taste, that is, a love for sweet and lofty things, is of all matters most necessary for the birth of the new and better art we crave for; simplicity everywhere, in the palace as well as in the cottage. (TLA).

Commerce: (...) all Society rests on a gigantic system of usury, pitiless and implacable, which is prepared to crush out of existence all peoples and communities that cannot adapt themselves to its laws. (OOA).
(...) commercialism has crushed the power of combination out of the lower classes, the Trades Unions, founded for the advancement of the working class as a class, have already become conservative and obstructive bodies, wielded by the middle-class politicians for party purposes. (AuP).
(...) The present position of the workers is that of the machinery of commerce, or in plainer words its slaves. (SC).
(...) That system, which I have called Competitive Commerce, is distinctly a system of war; that is of waste and destruction. (AS).

List of cited Morris Essays
AS, Arts and Socialism
AC, The Arts and Crafts of Today
SC, Sign Of the Change
AP, Arts and Its Producers
A&L, Art and Labour
DCC, Destruction of City Churches
PAC, The Prospects of Architecture in Civilization
MB, Making The Best Of It
AuP, Art Under Plutocrary
AOP, The Art of The People
TLA, The Lesser Arts of Life
TBL, The Beauty of Life
OOAOrigins of Ornamental Art

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