Who is Robert Lee Morris and how did he get this way?


Born into a military family right after WW2, in Nuremburg, Germany, my entire childhood was about constant change. Ever see the movie THE GREAT SANTINI? That was our life…My dad was an USAF pilot, my mom a glamorous model. 

By the time I turned 18, my parents had moved 23 times. My younger sister and I learned how to make friends very quickly and learned to leave them just as fast. My sister was my only constant friend and companion.

Living in Japan from the age of 7-11 was life-changing for me. The creative urges I felt instinctively were churned by Japanese aesthetics, simplicity in form, and meditative. I was taught the art of Ichebana, and participated in the annual flower arranging contest in my elmentary school. That process alone gave me very strong design direction.

I went to high school in Rio de Janeiro and experienced an equally life-changing environment, but opposite; this one was of samba and sensuality. My fellow students were from international backgrounds and most students could speak at least 4 languages!

My earliest inspirations for jewelry came from anthropological inspirations, my love of comic book warriors, over the top armor, and dramatic cinematic imagery. This ultimately took me directly into the heart of the fashion world in New York City.


After graduating Beloit College in1969, I helped start BIG TED’S CRAFT COMMUNE in the cornfields near Beloit, in an abandoned farm. It was here that my love of all the disciplines I studied in college began to make sense all woven together; anthropology, psychology, sociology, biology and of course ART. 

The photo above shows me and my Great Dane puppy on the commune. It was here I that taught myself the rudiments of jewelry making. I started to sell my primitive work through a local craft gallery, but when we accidentally burned the farm down, I fled to the East coast and restarted my life. It was at a local craft fair in Vermont that I was discovered by Joan Sonnabend!

Below are some scrapbook images from my childhood growing up all over the world. 

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