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15 Nov 2022

The Strawberry Thief

Our latest scarf commission from the V&A Museum
plus an exclusive competition for subscribers

The Strawberry Thief is one of William Morris' best-known fabric designs, so when we were commissioned to make an exclusive scarf for the V&A Museum using a piece from their vast collection as inspiration, our studio designer Cara knew what she wanted to use.

The Strawberry Thief design features, and is named after the thrushes which frequently stole the strawberries from the kitchen garden of Morris's countryside home! William Morris had been trying for years to perfect the indigo discharge method of printing, an ancient technique used for many centuries mostly in Asia which produces a great depth of colour combined with crisp details. He finally succeeded in 1883 with this design; the colours in the repeated pattern of birds, strawberries and flowers really pop against the dark indigo background. Despite the fact that this design was one of the most expensive printed furnishings available from Morris & Co., it became a firm favourite with clients.
The Wallace Sewell design team studied the William Morris design composition, colour palette and patterns carefully and used these details to inform the woven motifs. The same bold, contrasting colours were used in blocks, set against the more textured woven structures. Hues were mixed in fine lines and chevrons, inspired by the more delicate aspects of the piece like the feathers of the thrushes, and the laciness of the leaves and stems. 
The V&A Museum houses a huge collection of William Morris textiles, embroidery and wallpaper designs, and although The Strawberry Thief is not currently on public display, there are many others on show at the moment. The museum holds many of the UK's national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance - so one visit is never long enough!

The V&A website is a wonderful resource for studying art and design and they have many online articles and features on the work of William Morris. Access whenever you want and from wherever you might be.

Our Strawberry Thief-inspired scarf is available now, exclusively from the V&A shop, and would make a wonderful gift for an Arts & Crafts lover.
Shop now at the V&A website
Exclusive Subscriber Competition!

We have teamed up with British hand embroiderer, Becky Hogg to offer our subscribers the chance to win the special Strawberry Thief prize bundle.

Becky has worked for over 20 years as a professional hand embroiderer and now specialises in metal thread embroidery. Her designs, inspired by art and the natural world, feature an array of textures, a jewellery-like finish, and good old-fashioned sparkle!

She worked with the William Morris Society to produce this Strawberry Thief design that celebrates the technique of metal thread embroidery. Just like our scarf, Becky's embroidery kit is a translation of the Morris print, using its original colour palette.

The kit includes everything you will need to create this beautiful hand-sewn piece, with a booklet of step-by-step instructions.

To win one of our exclusive V&A Strawberry Thief scarves and a Strawberry Thief embroidery kit, all you need to do is send an email using the button below.

Entries must be received by midnight on Wednesday 23 November, and a winner will be picked at random. You will be notified by email if you are the lucky winner! Worldwide entries are welcomed.

Good luck!
Enter the Competition