Roger Fry set up the Omega Workshop as an entrepreneurial enterprise for artists, designers and writers to take control over producing and selling their work. Fry was at the forefront of the ‘good’ design evolution that arose from a critical evaluation of Victorian and public taste, and shoddy manufacturing.  The movement aimed to educate the British public on aesthetics and craftsmanship, a follow on from the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris and John Ruskin.

As economies changed and became challenged many artists turned to design and production in order to make a living.

The Omega Workshop produced textiles, furniture, ceramics, glassware, mosaics, murals, painted furniture and interior design. Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant were named directors and also made work alongside Wyndham Lewis, Roger Fry, Edward Wolfe, Frederick Etchells, Edward Wadsworth, Cuthbert Hamilton, Dora Carrington, Andre Derain and Winifred Gill. Established before the First World War in 1913 in continued to trade during the war but closed in 1919 due to financial instability.

This exhibition, brought together by David Herbert, represented the general style of Omega in a display of furniture, textiles and ceramics. The textiles had been reproduced and digitally printed to give an indication of the fabric designs produced and provide a backdrop to the other items. Herbert had them printed himself, making several colour trials initially and adjusting the colours in Adobe Photoshop to get a similar colour scheme as the originals, although not an exact match.

The colours are strong, but not saturated. The Omega group tended towards pure hues of red, green, blue and yellow with tinted complementaries. Repeats are strong and geometric with a painterly style and mark making important to the design.

Advertisements