Beth Russell has been producing needlepoint kits based on the designs
of William Morris, William De Morgan, Henry Dearle and others from the Arts
and Crafts movement of 19th century Victorian England for over 20 years now.
The Designers Forum range of needlepoint kits includes needlepoint rugs, tapestry
wall hangings and fire screens, needlework miniatures as well as cushions, pillows
bellpulls and chairseats.
Tapestry wall hanging and firescreen
We have many kits that are suitable for wall hanging or for making into a fire
Needlepoint chair seat
A selection of tapestry kits that have enough canvas to be made into chair seat
as well as into a cushion or pillow
Beth Russell left the Royal School of Needlework where she had worked for
many years, and founded Designers Forum with her husband Peter. The company
has grown and now employs both of her sons as well as some old friends from
the Royal School. William Morris believed
strongly in the quality of materials as well in good design. We have tried to
continue this by using the best Zweigart needlepoint canvas in our kits and
we provide Appleton wools. Appleton have a huge range of shades that allow Beth
to match the subtleties of the original designs and are a company as old as
William Morris himself.
Many of the designs for the needlepoint kits come from William Morris wallpaper
or fabric. Some, like Woodpecker, which
makes an excellent firesceen, come from Morris tapesty wall hangings or in the
case of Artichoke, from an embroidery kit. The Animals
range is inspired by the ceramic tiles of William De Morgan, the Greenery by
the tapestry designed by henry Dearle for Morris and Co. Beth has designed a
couple of bellpulls, one from the Acanthus set and one also taken from the original
Woodpecker border. There are also many miniature kits that are taken from larger
designs such as Strawberry Thief. The Peacock also makes an excellent fire screen
or needlepoit pillow and is part of the Forest range based on the original Morris
tapestry wall hanging.
"He was our best man. We cannot spare him; we cannot replace him.
In all England there lives no braver, kinder, honester, cleverer, heartier man
than William Morris. He is dead, and we cannot help feeling for a while that
nothing else matters."
The Clarion Oct. 1896
Morris' decorating style was revolutionary because it was natural, one could
almost say organic, in an age that was just embracing
mass-production and lower standards of quality and design. An ardent socialist,
he believed in art for the people.
He was a perfectionist when it came to colour and he researched various dyeing
techniques including the discharge method.
His hands were often dyed blue for weeks after working in the vats. He taught
himself embroidery by unpicking canvas and actually sold
Beth Russell has worked hard with needlepoint kits
to be as faithful as possible to the original William Morris designs. Luckily
for us all, the
wealth of material that he produced: wallpaper, tapestry, fabric, typefaces,
poetry, embroidery and books gives us a nearly endless supply
of inspiration. She has adapted some of Morris' poetry and writings into needlework
samplers and his other designs into needlepoint pillows, cushions,
miniature kits and rugs (not to mention the odd fire-screen and wall-hanging).
See our range of needlepoint rugs by clicking
on this link.
"My work is the embodiment of dreams." William Morris