Lawnpaper traces William Morris wallpaper designs on lawns of Blackwell in Cumbria

By Culture24 Staff | 24 June 2010
a photo of a houe with a lawn mowed in a floral wallpaper design

William Morris loved a good garden

The history of art and design tells us that the father of the arts and crafts movement, William Morris, loved his wallpaper designs, but he also loved a good garden, as evidenced by his residences at Kelmscott Manor and Red House.

He would probably have approved of the goings on at Cumbrian Arts and Crafts house Blackwell, where artist Steve Messam has fashioned something he calls LawnPaper, timed to coincide with Blackwell’s William Morris exhibition.

It is a huge environmental etching on the lawns around the former summer residence of Manchester brewery owner, Sir Edward Holt (1849 - 1928).

Patterns based on wallpaper designs by Morris have been created in the grass through a process of selective shading and trimming, and although the piece is now reaching the end of its natural lifecycle with the natural growth colours of grass, the environmentally sound artwork remains loyal to the ideologies of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

a photo of a houe with a lawn mowed in a floral wallpaper design

Patterns based on wallpaper designs by Morris have been created in the grass

It also highlights the role William Morris played in the birth of the environmental movement.

Steve Messam is an environmental artist based in the North of England who specialises in site-specific installations in rural or urban settings that utilise historical relics and vacant architecture.

His previous works include Beached, in which he filled a beach with thousands of sandcastles and paper flags and Landscape Bubble, a redundant building in the North Pennines encapsulated within a transparent globe.

For Souvenir he fashioned a line of giant balls made from hundreds of red umbrellas in the heart of Shanghai. With Clad he wrapped a traditional timber-framed cottage in the fleece of 300 local sheep in Newtown, Wales for Oriel Davies Gallery.

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