I began my research with Owen Jones’ 1856 handbook The Grammar of Ornament. With the typically appropriating zeal of the Victorian Age, Jones catalogued decoration from many cultures around the world — he aimed to schematize exotic forms into commodities for use by 19th-century craftsmen. In my thesis, I aim to undermine this colonial mindset with an interactive version of his collection. Instead of regressing into historicism and pastiche, I will encourage users to blend styles together, to interpret and harmonize.
It would seem that the urge to Ornament is innate. Every culture develops an ornamental style, drawing inspiration from patterns in geometry and nature. I would like my collection of ornament to synthesize these motifs of the past into a kind of meta-style. Ornaments aren’t codified as symbols of "otherness," but as symbols of human universality.