With the starting point of William Morris’ text titled ‘Useless work vs Usleless toil’, he presents the ideal that humans must begin to build up the “Ornamental part of life”. He writes that we must find beauty in everything and take inspiration from Nature. Channelling my research into ornament, I came across an article written for eye magazine entitled ‘The Decriminalisation of Ornament’. It is written that the modernist philosophy that dominates twentieth century design empties ornament of meaning and separates it from function.
Reversing this statement the notion that ornament could be created to exist concurrent with meaning, interested me. With this in mind I returned to Morris’ writing and his depiction of the Ornamental Life, I began to consider the relationship between nature, science and art. An ornamental element of typography which allowed me to communicate this relationship this was the Fleuron. Known also as a ‘printer’s flower’ it is one of the oldest details of typography.
Giving function to Fleuron : In September 2020 it was declared by Kew Gardens that 40% of the worlds plants are endangered and at risk of extinction. Combining all aspects of my research I set out to create Fleurons based on ten of the UK’s most endangered plants.
I wanted to find a way to memorialise these plants, staying away from the perfectly symmetrical stylised fleurons that exist, but creating abstracted shapes that were true to their original form. I have just started working on a B5 sized book presenting the flower and the fleuron; two ornamental aspects of life that are at risk of being lost.