Vermis by Malene Hartmann
Rasmussen

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Danish ceramic artist Malene Hartmann Rasmussen has photographed dozens of glazed ceramic worms to create a wallpaper for the home of 19th century Arts & Crafts designer William Morris.

Vermis by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen

Called Vermis, the wallpaper was made for an exhibition last autumn with art and design collective Studio Manifold at William Morris's Red House in Bexleyheath, England.

Vermis by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen

Hartmann Rasmussen hand-modelled the ceramic worms and glazed and fired them before taking photographs to be worked into a repeated digital pattern.

Vermis by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen

"At first glance the wallpaper seem harmless and decorative, but after staring at it too long, uncanny malicious faces appear," explained the designer.

Vermis by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen

"The motifs have the ambiguity of a Rorschach test," she added, "mimicking different things such as the floral patterns of the Arts & Crafts wallpapers Morris designed, depictions of fantastical creatures such as the Green Man, and visual interpretations of the human reproductive anatomy."

Vermis by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen

The wallpaper will be on display again at the Crafts and Design Biennale in Denmark between 29 June and 18 August.

Vermis by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen

Hartmann Rasmussen studied for her BA at the School of Design in Bornholm, Denmark, before completing an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art in London. For her RCA graduation show, she created a ceramic installation evoking a surreal forest hut from a Brothers Grimm fairytale.

Vermis by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen

To mark the launch of Fornasetti's whimsical wallpaper collection for Cole & Son, we recently spoke to Barnaba Fornasetti, son of the eccentric Italian designer Piero Fornasetti, who told us the story behind the design house he now heads.

Other wallpaper we've featured previously includes a stripy patterned wallpaper that invites passers-by to add their own scribbles and a colourful design that changes under different lighting conditions – see all wallpaper.

Here's some more information from the designer:


Vermis is a site-responsive piece made for a show together with Studio Manifold called This Is How To Live at the founder of The Arts & Crafts Movement William Morris’ Red House in Bexleyheath. The house is national heritage and run by The National Trust.

The origin of the digital printed wallpaper is hand modelled ceramic worms, photographed and reworked in Photoshop as a repeat pattern. At first glance the wallpaper seem harmless and decorative, but staring at it too long uncanny malicious faces appear. The pattern tells the story of a nature that perhaps does not mean to harm, but have the intention of manifesting itself, to take over and take control.

It is a tale of life and death. The motifs have the ambiguity of a Rorschach test, mimicking different things such as flora and the floral patterns of The Arts & Crafts wallpapers Morris designed, depictions of fantastical creatures such as the Green Man but also visual interpretations of the human reproductive anatomy.

Materials: digital printed wallpaper, ceramics
Size: height, varies; width, 74 cm

  • Douglas

    Great. Hurrah for intelligent decoration.