Recently I was at Oxford University having a great time learning about Cotswold life and William Morris from my tutor Mike Breakell. You know Morris, he’s the one who created all of the beautiful timeless designs we see in home furnishings these days. He actually went to university to become a theologian but disliked it so much he became a poet and then took up art by becoming friends with Burnes-Jones and Rosetti of the Pre-Raphaelites. Lucky for him he met his wife Jane and had two lovely talented daughters.  Jane actually is the lady you see in many of Rosetti’s paintings such as Proserpina. Morris made his homes in London and the Cotswold region of England which I must say would be my choices should I ever give up the good old US. My love affair with the British Isles is no secret and I am convinced I experience cell memory every time I visit owing to my ancestors coming from the island nation. But I digress. Morris loved the outdoors and often took long walks taking in all of the flora and fauna that show up in his many designs. The Strawberry Thief is arguably his best-known work and came about from his simple observation of birds stealing strawberries as he sat on a bench. If you ever get the chance, visit Kelmscott Manor, Morris’ home so richly preserved and learn more about this gentleman whose poetry, “that should be taken in great gulps” along with his superb eye for design lives on and on for generations to love and enjoy. Imagine writing poetry as you weave a tapestry. His life, although blessed in many ways was not all rainbows. His daughter suffered a fall which caused her to be an invalid the rest of her life. His friend Rosetti would become a drug addict and take his own life. Through all of this, Morris would come up with thoughtful poetry and thoughtful design. I urge you to look up Morris. His life is wildly interesting. Here are some of my favorites. My favorite bit of design is the hare from the Forest Tapestry.  My favorite Morris saying is “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” My favorite Morris poem reads, “Love is enough; though the world be a waning, and the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining, Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover the goldcups and daisies fair blooming thereunder, Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder, And this day draw a veil over all deeds passed over, Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter; The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter, These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.” Good stuff!