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  • Nicola

At home with quilts: Arts & Crafts

As we head into spring, I'm continuing with my series of posts exploring popular themes in home décor and looking at how we can use quilts inspired by that theme in our own homes.

Now, if you’ve read this blog for a while, you know this theme has my heart: the Arts & Crafts movement is constantly being revived and is having another moment. This is a look that combines rich colour, polished wood and iconic prints.

The work of Morris & Co. is synonymous with this style and its printed textiles and wallpapers are going through a renaissance at the moment. Their rich archive of home furnishing fabrics is now produced by the Sanderson Design Group, while Moda Fabrics, Free Spirit and Craft Cotton Co. are reprinting them on quilting cotton.

Morris & Co. textiles and wallpapers combine natural motifs - leaves, flowers, birds and fruit - with complex, symmetrical layering, all executed in glowing colour using natural pigments. The pattern is repeated so subtly that it can be hard to see where one motif ends and another starts.

We are lucky to be able to see original Morris & Co. textiles and wallpapers in many beautiful Arts & Crafts homes in the UK. Closest to me is Wightwick Manor, in neighbouring Staffordshire, now in the care of the National Trust. The first Arts & Crafts house I visited was Standen in West Sussex - also owned by the Trust - which kindled a life-long interest. The cosy morning room was my favourite space, filled with bookshelves, a comfy sofa and fabric-hung walls...

photo credit: Victoria Witty, Standen blog

Now I'm not suggesting you 'wallpaper' with quilts - wouldn't that be wonderful, though? - but hanging a quilt instantly adds warmth and colour to a room. I'm fond of hanging one in my dining room at Christmas and also like to hang quilts behind a bed, in a contemporary take on traditional bed-hangings. And I would reeeeally love to make a quilted curtain for our hallway, based on my Kelmscott design (you can see what I have in mind in my sketch). Maybe writing that down makes it one step closer ;-)

My Kelmscott quilt and Pomegranate cushion were both inspired by Morris & Co.

I have so many books on the Arts & Crafts movement that it's almost impossible to choose a favourite to recommend, but if you'd like to read more about William Morris's work you could start with the recent biography produced by the Victoria & Albert Museum, edited by Anna Mason and lavishly illustrated from their archive.

It will be the first of many, I guarantee!

Nicola xx


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