What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

the Morris Rule

on December 31, 2013

Believe me if we want art to begin at home, as it must, we must clear our houses of troublesome superfluities that are for ever in our way: conventional comforts that are no real comforts, and do but make work for servants and doctors: if you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it:

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

—William Morris, “The Beauty of Life,” Hopes and Fears for Art, Five Lectures Delivered 1878-1881

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9 responses to “the Morris Rule

  1. […] working, and tasteful (with the possible exception of the Santa refrigerator magnets), but fail the Morris Rule which we’ve re-affirmed with such fervor. I took them to […]

  2. […] useful. They pass the test of the Morris Rule. But they breed in the darkness. We decided to cull the collection down to four forks, knives and […]

  3. […] cats adopted the others. Poor babies, they’re going to miss them. But the Morris rule does not say, “Have nothing in your houses that you OR YOUR CATS do not know to be […]

  4. […] Nimue reminded me that William Morris enjoined, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be […]

  5. […] me. How can I distinguish between “still good enough” and “not working for me anymore”? The Morris rule is a sharp knife. “Do I know it to be useful?” If the answer is, “Well, kinda,” […]

  6. […] make much on What I Shed Today of what Nimue and I have long called “the Morris Rule.” Straight out of an essay by the 19th-century English artist, designer, and social critic […]

  7. […] and coffee mugs. Worse, their covers proved to be cat-hair magnets. One of our amendments to the Morris Rule says, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, believe to be beautiful, or […]

  8. […] okay … but we (and most cyclists) already have bottles enough that pass the pragmatic test of the Morris rule. We don’t need any more! (Hint for sponsors: edible swag is very acceptable. So are […]

  9. […] mine; they must’ve been lost by some previous owner of our house. They failed the test of the Morris Rule (neither useful nor beautiful), and ordinarily I would’ve tossed them in our nearest […]

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