The Art of William Morris:
Sculptures in Glass & Bronze


WILLIAM MORRISAmerican glass and bronze artist William Morris, considered one of the world's foremost glass artists,  uses the fragile medium of glass and now the strong medium of bronze to recreate life-size black ravens and exquisite deer heads that reflect themes of myth, archaeology and the animal.  Morris' limited edition bronze sculptures are created from molds taken from blown glass originals that are documented in the William Morris Studio Archives.

Master glass artist William Morris has the uncanny ability to manipulate blown glass into something it really isn't by creating the optical equivalence of  bone, wood, stone and leather. Morris pushes the limit of glass blowing with his mesmerizing sculptures of spirited forms using extraordinary technical skills that seem beyond the physical and chemical possibilities of glass.

Born in 1957 in Carmel, California, William Morris is also considered to be one of the most gifted and daring young glass artists in America today. Morris's artwork can be found in numerous public collections, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA; The Smithsonian National Museum, Washington, DC; The Norton Museum, Boca Raton, FL; American Glass Museum, Millville, NJ; Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Hokkaido, Japan; Musee Des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France; Auckland Museum, Auckland, New Zealand and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.

Morris has traveled worldwide, working with the masters of Italian glass and others, including American Glass Artist Dale Chihuly. He has also shared his extraordinary skills in workshops and demonstrations throughout the globe. Morris currently resides in Washington State near the renowned Pilchuck Glass School where, during the past twenty five years, he has been a student, gaffer, teacher and artist in residence, as well as Artistic Director in 1991and member of the Board of Directors in 1992.

Morris' unique treatment of surface texture is achieved by various techniques such as sprinkling powdered glass and minerals onto a blown surface, etching, and acid washing to achieve "ancient" and textural diversity.  Now working in bronze, Morris continues to dazzle us with his brilliance, impeccable craftsmanship and artistic vision. 

"Morris's works are not flashy as is much that is created in this medium, but more quietly beautiful, with their opaque, sensual surfaces, and luminous color that seems to glow within each piece as if it were some sort of life force or blood coursing through," states Patricia Watkinson, Director of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. His work invites the visitor to contemplate the ever-widening gap between contemporary culture, which focuses on technology and progress and our primitive beginnings, shaped by the forces of nature and myth.

Morris acknowledges the influence of Italian artists who have shared their knowledge of techniques for crafting glass, so essential to the realization of Morris' ideas.  Strongly influenced by his interest in archeology and ancient pagan cultures, Morris explores the timeless relationship between humans and their enviroment, evoking images from a time when man was more in tune with nature. Various works such as the Idolo and Idolito Series, Artifact Vessels, Suspended Artifacts, and Rhyton Vessels illustrate symbolic and mythological influences.

Glass and bronze sculptor William Morris' new series Rhyton represents more than an advance in the expression of message and content. It also demonstrates why he is considered one of the world's foremost glass artists. The exquisite shapes, subtle bends, enticing textures, and bright colorations are superb--and well harmonized with the primordial themes he is developing. As always, fascinated by the ideas of nature and death through the vehicle/vessel of the animal, Morris has drawn upon identifiable horned mammals such as the bull, stag, antelope, and elk, along with other quadrupeds like the horse.

"The appearance of animals in dreams or visions expresses an energy still undifferentiated and not yet rationalized nor yet mastered by the will," notes J.E. Cirlot in A Dictionary of Symbols. "According to Jung, the animal stands for the non-human psyche, for the world of sub-human instincts, and for the unconscious." To tap into this primordial-psychic undercurrent, Morris combined the inspiration he received from the ceramic grave gifts of the ancient Amlash culture (1350--1000 b.c.) of northwestern Iran, an interest in hunting and archaeology, and his formal exploration of the vessel.

According to the artist Narcissus Quagliata, "We experience William Morris' work with the same part of ourselves that responds to Stonehenge. ... [The] work does not ask the viewer for an intellectual and studied response [but bypasses] ... words, concepts or thought. Using intuition as his guide, the artist enters a world of power, beyond culture."

Reminiscent of themes explored in Morris' Petroglyph Vessels series of the 1980s, Rhyton informs us about the forces and energies at play in the natural world and about our mysterious relationship to the animal kingdom, which serves man unconditionally and is therefore demanding of our respect. Yet, on a deeper level Rhyton is an expression of the ongoing relationship between the masculine (represented by the animal) and the feminine (represented by the vessel), a symbolic activity that resonates in the consciousness on many levels. The artist had intended to take a sabbatical in 2001, but his plans were soon overtaken first by personal, then national grief on September 11. Instead, he sought solace in work creating the Cinerary Urns  which are by far William Morris's most deeply personal and intimate body of work.  The Chrysler Museum's Curator of Glass, Gary Baker, referenced the four Cinerary Urns recently acquired by the museum, as being created by "one the greatest glass artists working at the height of his creative powers."

ANIMAL / ARTIFACT - WILLIAM MORRISExtensively written about, William Morris' work is perhaps best described in these words by Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass and co-author of the new Morris book, "Animal/Artifact":  "In looking at Morris' art, we are reminded of what it is to be ancient, what it is to be human; we momentarily reconnect with that elemental aspect of our psyches that is prehistoric. This is the territory that Carl Jung termed the collective unconscious, a potent repository of meaning and experience. Beyond his technical brilliance in the craft of blowing and sculpting glass, it is Morris' ability to enter and work within the realm of the unconscious that makes him a superior artist."

July 25, 1957, Carmel, California

California State University, Chico, California
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington


- Artist as Hero Award, National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA
- Visionaries Award, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
- Outstanding Achievement in Glass, UrbanGlass Third Annual Awards Dinner, New York, NY
- Distinguished Alumni Award, California State University, Chico, CA
- Featured Artist, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Artists Series
- National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Artist Grant

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Galleria Silecchia
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Sarasota, Florida 34236-5609 USA