William Morris was born in Carmel, California in 1957. He is an American glass artist who has been able to change the history of art within his lifetime. Morris was educated at California State University in Chico, California as well as Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. In 1978, Morris arrived at the Pilchuck Glass School and found work initially as a driver. Later, he worked with Dale Chihuly, the founder of the school, and eventually became his chief gaffer in the 1980s. Morris remained with Chihuly for about 10 years before deciding to form his own studio and develop his own artistic style of glass blowing.
For more than twenty-five years, William Morris has captivated and intrigued the art community with hauntingly evocative and beautiful glass sculptures. He has captured the imagination time and again by creating objects that appear to be ancient stone or woodcarvings, not the modern glass sculptures they actually are. His art speaks of human origins, myth, ancestry, and ancient civilizations. It symbolizes a harmony between humanity and nature and provides a ghost-like bond to the world around us – a world that is often forgotten, ignored, and abused.
Morris gathers much of his inspiration from ancient cultures from around the world – Egyptian, Asian, Native American – all peoples who respected and admired the land they inhabited. Because of this, Morris’s artwork has become something all its own: culturally distinct and yet familiar to all cultures. His pieces embody a spiritual quality that sharply contrasts old beliefs with those of the modern world. These objects speak to our senses and continuously beg us to explore them further.
William Morris achieved much success during his career and retired in 2007. He spent over twenty-five years honing his skills and pushing the medium of glass further than anyone, including himself, could ever have imagined.
Morris’ work can be found in numerous public collections including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; 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.
“In looking at Morris’s 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 this is prehistoric. Beyond his technical brilliance in the craft of blowing and sculpting glass, it is Morris’s ability to enter and work within the realm of the unconscious that makes him a superior artist.” – Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass, The Corning Museum of Glass