Publications

International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Last Word in Decorative Art: the Omega Workshops

Volume 3.3   1984

BILLINGHAM, ROSALIND

 

The Omega Workshops (1913-1919) were founded by Roger Fry as a workshop for decorative and applied art. Through the workshops, Fry hoped to make more people aware of quality in the design and decoration of everyday objects and attempted to halt the progressive alienation of the experimental artist from the public. Fry had expressed disgust at the standard of applied design in pre-war Britain, a period when the liveliness of the Arts and Crafts movement had waned and Morris-inspired design had lost its freshness. Two exhibitions held in London in 1984 rekindled interest in the workshops and a reassessment of the decorative suggests it is easier to take Omega seriously in a postmodern era. The Omega venture embodied Fry's belief in the value of the decorative arts in visual education and in their potential for the quality of daily living.