The Women of Morris & Co. Past and Present
The Morris & Co. of The Present
To mark International Women’s Day 2022, we at Morris & Co. want to celebrate the inspiring and creative women who have helped shape us into the brand that we are today. You’ll meet four women, two from the past and two from the present, whose work pushed Morris & Co. forward during its earliest days and secure its future at the centre of tomorrow’s world of design.
You can read about May Morris and Kate Faulkner here, but now let’s meet Rebecca and Emma, two creative forces at the heart of Morris & Co. today.
EMMA COLES, MORRIS & CO. STYLIST
“It was the women in my family- my Nan, Mum and Aunty- which first turned my head to the world of interiors. These women all keep such beautiful homes, and we would swap inspirations rooted out from design magazines over Sunday lunch. Studying Museum and Exhibition Design at university began an enduring love for storytelling and designing environments that thrive. I was excited by creating immersive spaces which evoke people into feeling a certain way, and for interiors that means helping people feel comfortable, relaxed, safe and inspired.
It’s these aspects which make working for Morris & Co. a pleasure. Here, we celebrate being present through slow living and nurturing a love of the natural world and its materials. I use these attributes as a thread through all the creative work I do, whether its planning creative concepts for photoshoots, films and events, or pulling together schemes and working with fellow craftspeople. I’m always working to produce an offering that William Morris himself would be proud of, an intricate dance between celebrating traditional and contemporary design aesthetics.
Since joining this company 10 years ago, I have always felt celebrated as a woman within the industry. I have excellent role models who are leading the way in successful careers across all aspects of a creative industry, from designers to archivists to CEOs. Because Morris & Co. has so much heritage, styling for Morris & Co. feels like a nurturing and considered role – typically characteristics of female energy. I get to flow through the process, I feel feminine, present, and free to explore.”
REBECCA CRAIG, LEAD MORRIS & CO. DESIGNER
“My first love as a child was creating art, drawing and painting. I am quite introverted and like nothing better than switching off from the world by making! My journey with Morris & Co. began in January 2000. Like Morris himself, I strongly believe in the power of improving people’s well-being through improving the environments they live in. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I recognise that I have managed to find a career doing something that gives me, and hopefully many others, such pleasure.
There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day for me! When designing a new collection, I’ll lead on deciding the concept, look and feel of the story we want to tell. I’ll research design ideas by visiting historic Morris & Co. sites and rummaging around in our brilliant archive, sourcing samples from mills and repainting designs if needs be. Handing over artwork to be printed by the mills and factories, working closely with the engravers, embroiderers and weavers to ensure the pattern’s techniques and qualities are translated correctly, are all rewarding parts of my job.
Pursuing a career at one of Britain’s most popular interior design brands whilst juggling motherhood has been a very tricky balance. I was one of the first to be able to do both and partially I owe that to the support of my colleagues at that time. To celebrate women’s accomplishments and for women to support one another, is critical. The interiors world is well-populated with inspiring women: Lisa Montague, CEO, Claire Vallis, Creative Director, and Dame Diane Thompson, Board Chairwoman, are just a few names within my own place of work, with Kit Kemp and Nicola Harding being only two fabulous external examples. Long may this continue.”
READ ABOUT HISTORIC WOMEN FROM MORRIS & CO.'S PAST
posted on 08 Mar 2022