Polly Rose Morris

“I have always been in love with stories – people’s stories, folkloric stories, historical stories and this is the basis for almost everything I do. During my Masters programme, I explored our folkloric past and the origins and reasonings for the stories that wove together to create our rich historical tapestry.”

“My designs always reflect the beauty found in nature and therefore sustainability and being environmentally conscious are essential in everything I do”

Polly Rose Morris

Set, Costume and Textile Designer

MFA Performance Costume

Edinburgh College of Art 

Statement

“Having both a painting and a costume background I am interested in where painting, drawing, set design and costume intersect as well as the tensions that can exist between fine art and more traditional costuming. Since graduating in May 2021, I have worked in film and TV, designed for theatre and am currently collaborating with my mum, Nel Whatmore, who is a fantastic artist, on a set of textile designs that will shortly be available to purchase.

I have always been in love with stories – people’s stories, folkloric stories, historical stories and this is the basis for almost everything I do. During my Masters programme, I explored our folkloric past and the origins and reasonings for the stories that wove together to create our rich historical tapestry. These stories were developed from our deepest hopes and greatest fears, reflecting human nature at its core.

Throughout all my work, the theme of nature runs throughout. Folkloric stories were born on the land and the land is indistinguishable from them – giants that created mountains were also made from the stone of the mountains itself, shellycoats which were an explanation for those who succumbed to the murky waters of bogs and lakes. My designs always reflect the beauty found in nature and therefore sustainability and being environmentally conscious are essential in everything I do.

This past year, alongside working in theatre and film, I have been further developing the project started in my Masters with the view to create a series of performance art pieces, set within the Hermitage of Braid in Edinburgh. During the two year degree we designed 20 costumes, physically created 2 and devised a performance that brought these characters to life. My depiction of the trope ‘a knight in shining armour’ would be your silent tour guide, whilst characters such as the wishing well would encapsulate both the joy of fulfilled wishes as well as the sorrow of those that went ignored.

Thanks to Fife Contemporary and the bursary money they offered, it has allowed me to buy materials for my next costume which will explore the wilder men – men that were said to be examples of what happened if you turned away from God, living in the woods and reverting back to a more bestial nature. Tensions between religion, beliefs and instinct underpin a lot of folkloric stories and indeed, the world today.”

Materials and Techniques

The Wishing Well –
Hand dyed recycled curtains, black ombre dyed headstock organdy fabric, naturally dyed fabric petals with embroidery thread, vintage glass beads and recycled sequins.

Knight in Shining Armour –
Biodegradable resin, embroidery thread, pressed flowers, deadstock linen fabric.

Awards, Exhibitions and News

Junior Costumer Maker on Amazon’s series, Anansi Boys

Set and Costume designer for theatre production of Tam O’Shanter, Tales & Whisky, performed at Space Venue 45 during Fringe, The Gaiety Theatre in Ayr and with two upcoming shows at the Brunton in Musselburgh on the 24th November and the Traverse theatre in January, dates TBD, see https://www.stolenelephanttheatre.com for more info.

Artist Reflections

“A note to those still studying:

I wanted to include this to my past self, or those still studying. Life after uni is hard. It is difficult going from designing, creating and getting lost in your practice every day to finding yourself out in the working world, most often working towards someone else’s vision. It is hard going from a fabulous studio with facilities at your fingertips, peers you can bounce ideas off and deadlines to structure your time – to living, working and sleeping in one room and it being up to you to find work whilst keeping your own ideas alive. But (hurray, there’s a but!) you will get there. Be patient, keep in touch with friends from your course and don’t under-price yourself. You are a talented and skilled individual and we need to collectively set a precedent in the arts that they are worth paying for, because they are. Absolutely grab opportunities that are presented to you, feel the fear and do it anyway, but also – know that you can listen to your gut and say no if you’re in the position to do so. Also, have fun!! It’s hard and it can be scary but relish the moments of triumph, whatever they may be to you and just know that there are so many people in your place, it’s all going to be ok!”