WOOL HOUSE Q&A – DONNA WILSON
During the hectic behind the scenes run up to the Wool House event, Somerset House was packed with the talented artists and designers who have come together to celebrate wool in this amazing showcase. We were absolutely thrilled to get a few minutes with the fabulous and creative Donna Wilson to talk about all things Wool House.
Donna amongst her many wonderful creations.
Pciture taken from www.donnawilson.com
• You have a broad portfolio, from furniture and furnishings to cuddly toys. What has been your favourite project to work on?
“That’s a difficult one, as I think I enjoy the diversity of projects we have done, and the favourite part of the job for me is designing something new. Seeing something put into production for the first time still gives me a lot of satisfaction. “
“But if I had to choose, the book Creative Creatures – a childrens’ activity book. It was really fun to work on as I had to make mini sets for the backgrounds of the activity – I wanted the book to have a ‘real’ feel to it, not just images photoshopped together. I had creative freedom too which is great.”
• What was the inspiration behind your Monsters and Magpies project on tumblr?
“We thought it was nice to for people to show off their creations on the tumblr site, or get ideas before they start on one! The Make Your Own Monster and Magpie kits were originally designed to use up scraps – I’m a compulsive hoarder and can’t bear to waste anything! We had accumulated lots of scraps of the lovely knitted lambswool we use to make our creatures out of. I always remembered as a child making things out of any old bit of fabric or felt lying around, so we got some felt bits cut especially for the kits. The main ingredient for them is imagination, though. I didn’t want any rules for the kits, just to encourage the maker to be as original unique and imaginative as possible.”
• What excites you about participating in the Wool House showcase?
“The Wool House showcase is really exciting as it brings together lots of beautiful products which are made using my favourite fibre – wool! I’ve always used wool a lot, as it’s a lovely natural material, and you can dye, felt knit, weave it (and more); there’s so much you can do with it. I’m not sure where my love for wool came from, but it might be something to do with growing up on a farm – I had a pet sheep called black sheep! At college I used to make and sell felt pictures, and loved the colours you get.”
“I have also loved doing the nursery room, as I have just had a baby myself, so I’ve tried to make it my dream nursery – if I had that sort of space!”
• What properties of wool do you find most valuable in your work?
“The felting. I normally wash and felt up my knitting which gives it a lovely finish.”
• What would be your dream project to work on?
“I’d love to do an animation where I get all my creatures moving, and showing off their unique personalities!”
• Finally, do you have any advice for young artists out there?
“Work hard, be original and stick to your principles – I never wanted to be like anyone else, and I think one hardest but most satisfying things is to come up with your own style and language, and separate yourself from everyone else. I also wanted to keep all my production done within the UK, and so far we’ve managed to do that, so I feel like I’m supporting our own economy, in the tiniest way!”
If you want to find out more about Donna and her wonderful work, you can visit her website here. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to stay up to date on all her latest activities. She also keeps a blogwhich is well worth a look, and her aforementioned Monsters and Magpies tumblr account.
If you haven’t made it down to Wool House yet, what are you waiting for? The showcase will be running until the 24th of March and entry is free. Each day is packed with activities, so why not come along and join the world’s biggest celebration of wool? Take a look at the Events Calendar to see what’s coming up!