Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Joy of Work"

Another week passed, and this week I was exposed to the early Modernism ; Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau.This time, Mdm Suzy asked us to relate the phrase "Joy of Work" to either one of the movements. In my opinion,the phrase inclined towards the Arts and Crafts movement as what i have understood, Arts and Crafts idea was intrigued by the anti-machine guilds. It is expressed by John Ruskin (1819-1900),
“It is not, truly speaking, the labour that is divided; but the men: divided into mere segments of men-broken into small fragments and crumbs of life; so that all the little piece of intelligence that is left in a man is not enough to make a pin, or a nail,but exhausts itself in making the point of a pin or the head of a nail.”

From here, we can know that Ruskin believed that the industrialization has fractionated the society to classes and he was frustrated by the system as the thinker was not the maker at the same time. And this has become the turning point for Britain, as next Ruskin met with Morris, a real craftsman who possess the same thinking as his. Together, they've become arts and crafts guild that advocate the idea of arts and crafts.Imperfection that made the art becomes explicit. Morris, who design and produce his own works was the man of the time. He believes that art does not compromise with commercialism which has made his works can only be afford by the rich class. Stressing on the passion for producing of his own work, therefore I do believe the "Joy of Work" expression suits best with Arts and Crafts movement compared to the Art Nouveau.

Cinderella tile panels designed by Morris and Burne-Jones

“Art made by the people and for the people, a joy to the maker and the user”-William Morris

The tile above was inspired by the character Cinderella and was designed by Morris and Burne-Jones(his forever best friend) under Morris, Marshall, Faulkner &Co. From the panels design, we could tell that the depictions of fairy tales and Medieval Christian themes became the main offerings by the company. But the most importantly, they did not neglect the mission of the company which was to instill soul to goods that had been degraded by mass-production and industrialization. Ruskin and Morris had always believed that the flawless machine made goods were spiritually inferior compared to the imperfect goods made by the craftsmen. Yes. they were absolutely passionate about their works!
you can get more timeline about the arts and crafts movement.


  1. ehhee.tak reti la nak buat chat room.ihiih.i am blog illiterate.