The Lamps of William Morris
The artist, once a machinist, works in several media- brass, wood, mica, and leaves, along with pottery and glass bases- to make stunning art lamps
IRONICALLY, THE GLASS ARTIST’S INSPIRATION does not involve the father of the Arts & Crafts movement, his 19th-century English namesake. “Years ago, I associated the name with the talent agency,” Morris laughs. William Morris explains that his original craft was that of a machinist: he executed all San manner Franciscoof ship waterfront.repairs on the He graduated to machine shops and the exacting tolerances of prototype work. Today, however, Morris makes artful table lamps composed of pottery vessels, mahogany bases and caps, mica shades, and solid brass fittings. He describes the journey from machining to lamp designing and building as a natural progression, his creative drive expressing itself in more and more specific terms. “It has been an interesting process,” Morris muses. “I do keep getting better at it.” While he was still working at a Bay Area machine shop, he started collaborating with a fellow machinist who was also a furniture maker. After he learned cabinetmaking, he struck out on his own, inspired by a mentor who made Greene and Greene lighting reproductions. Those compositions of wood and stained glass sparked Morris’s determination to create beautiful Arts & Crafts lamps, which he began to make with his wife 20 years ago. Today he prides himself on being a one-man business entirely driven by individual orders from clients who find him via his website.
“Each piece is made to order, and I carefully source all the materials,” Morris explains. “You know, it doesn’t have to be solid brass under the shade—many people don’t care about the fittings. But I do. The work is either right or it’s not, and you do it until it’s right.”
Morris is constantly refining and adjusting as he partners with various glass and pottery makers. While he made floor lamps for most of the past two decades, now he focuses solely on desk and table lamps.
“Everything has its time…when the energy is not right, the result is no good,” Morris says. “I do this work to bring love and beauty into everyday life.” a