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Beautiful Useful Things

What William Morris Made



Cameron Kids


(pub. 4.5.22) pages

Author: Beth Kephart

Illustrator: Melodie Stacey

Character: William Morris

Overview: "William Morris is best known for his colorful wallpapers and textiles, inspired by the English forests and wild foliage where he grew up. But did you know this icon of the Arts and Crafts Movement was also a poet, a painter, a preservationist, an activist, an environmentalist, and a maker of many other beautiful useful things, like books?"

Tantalizing taste:

" Every one thing was part of another something –

the leaf, a part of the stem;

the bird, a part of the song;

the garden, a part of the house;

the house, a place for people to love and to live,

to meet and to think.

It takes a long time for a tree to become a tree,

for a vine to twine,

for a flower to bloom

for a thread to become a tapestry.

The older William grew,

and the more he saw,

the more he wanted

to honor beauty

by making beautiful things."

And something more: Melodie Stacy in the Illustrator's Note, explains that "I have long admired William Morris, not only as a designer and maker, but as a person. I've admired his artistic vision, his love of beauty in all things, but also his philanthropy and his fight for better working conditions and pay for his employees... In illustrating this book I was inspired both by his designs and the way he seemed to recall patterns in nature from my childhood in the East Anglian countryside surrounded by woods and a wealth of wildflowers, but also his love of collaboration and the importance of family and friendship."


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