Englishman William Morris, the pioneer of the Arts and Crafts movement, is a seminal figure in the historical trajectory of the thread and weaving.
At the end of the 19th century, Morris was an innovator relying on tradition, a designer who drew inspiration from the past to criticize the present, the instrumental rationality of modernity and the deification of technology. Morris opposed the pleasure experienced by the artisan for his work to the alienation experienced by the unskilled labourer in the era of massive production.The creativity of the thread gets exalted on Morris’s fabrics and textiles. Craft converses with art; it does not produce merely use or exchange values, but also aesthetic ones. Craft seeks to offer an aesthetic pleasure to the user and to the producer.
The writings and the artwork of this peculiar socialist reminds us of an era when social struggles did not centre around economic demands only, but also around issues of ethics and aesthetics.For Morris, work is not merely a means of livelihood, but carries with it the hope of pleasure in our daily creative skill.The effortless coupling of weaving art with the ethics of work demonstrates that Morris’s social critique was incorporated in his actions rather than being invoked in advance or ex post to valorise it.