Donna Wilson | In Conversation
On an unseasonably warm late February day. Our Editor visited Donna Wilson at her Bethnal Green studio to talk about her new rug designs for SCP. They ended up talking about new directions, the importance of play, and how to design your way out of problems.
With your new rugs for SCP, it feels like you are taking a new direction. Can you tell us what has been going on?
It’s been 16 years since I started, and I had come to a point where I began to re-assess everything again. I had such a lot of success with the creatures and with that sort of aesthetic, it was like a boat that kept sailing. The creatures were something that I started doing at college, and perhaps they were quite original at the time and nobody was doing much like them, but I had always been interested in interiors and I had done rugs and furniture quite early. At the RCA I did the Doily Rug, the PomPom rug and another rug made from three and a half thousand glove fingers, which we couldn’t get manufactured anywhere because it was so technical. So, having the two things kind of worked, because the creatures would sell to the same sort of stores as the interior products, the independent design stores, everything kind of worked alongside each other. I guess having kids and having a business that grew up around it kind of took some of my creativity away and because things were selling I just kept of going with that.
That’s a kind of standard thing to do, make hay while the sun shines.
It was fine, but then I started to realise that a lot of people were kind of copying the style, and they were doing things in fresh ways. Maybe that is just a natural thing that happens after 15 years of doing what you do, you suddenly start seeing it everywhere, and I don’t want to feel that not so happy with it feeling. So, last year was a bit of a point of change. Amilia (her assistant) was saying “you need to go away and have a bit of creative time again”, but I can’t because I have a company and I have kids. So having new fresh inspiration is really quite hard, because you can’t just go travelling, or take time out, because you’ve got responsibilities.