One time, designer Wendy Morrison - working in fashion at the time - visited a local rug manufacturer in rural Scotland.
The meeting proved to be momentous: she fell in love with the wonderful world of yarns and rugs, as they seemed to bring her colorful art and personality to life like no other medium before.
Throughout the years, Wendy went on to become one of the most distinctive voices in the industry, and established a brand that is seeked out by clients and professionals all around the globe. From the beautiful but somewhat muted colors of the Scottish Highlands Wendy looked for and found her inspiration in the radiant culture of the East - and for S/ALON BUDAPEST, she offered one of her signature works, Pink Moon, for the event’s annual design competition. Read on and get to know Wendy a little before she arrives at Budapest for S/ALON BUDAPEST 2021!
After establishing yourself as a freelance fashion designer, you decided to make your mark on the interior design industry. What drove you to explore the world of rugs and runners?
I believe it was a natural progression moving from fashion to interiors. We had made the decision to move back to Scotland from living in London and bought a rural property that required a lot of love. Whilst establishing myself in this new community I was introduced to a local rug manufacturer, it was a small business that was in the need of some fresh design input. I immediately loved the process of hand tufting rugs and the way the use of yarn and colour brought my artwork to life.
In your experience, what are the similarities and differences between fashion and interior textile design in regard to processes and challenges?
Whilst working in fashion you are very much dependent on finding the perfect textiles for your garments. As with all designs you are restricted with your materials and although textiles can be a great source of inspiration, I have always found this part of the role very frustrating. There are so many textiles available now and so many processes in which to create textiles, I always wonder what I may be missing out on.
It is currently very exciting to have the opportunity to be designing my own and to be working with various artisans around the world to create beautiful textiles as well as digitally printing in the UK, too.
I am actually not too sure of the differences but they are certainly very similar. You can layer garments and textiles and patterns through clothing to create a good look, as you can with furnishings for interiors, perhaps interior has more to play with, i.e. furniture, art, textiles. Yes, you do have more to play with working in interiors, but I am sure some fashion designers may disagree, as they do also have the beauty and contours of the body to work with, too.
You are from Scotland, but your fascinating rugs take inspiration from exotic countries and mythical lands. Which cultures are closest to you?
Yes, interesting, I am very much Scottish. I don’t believe there is any getting away from it and there are parts of this I love, nature and its folklore, but probably more I don’t like to connect with. The colours of Scotland, although they can be very beautiful, are too muted for me currently, however, this may change in time. But, for some reason, I have always been drawn to the East, their folklore, their religions, their stories, their history. They appear to be more at one with nature and human to me.
Mood boards play a key role in your design process. Why do you find this tool suitable for manifesting ideas and telling a design story?
I think it comes back to having access to as much beautiful inspiration as possible, knowing you are not missing out. One of the great joys of the internet is that you can find so much inspiration at your fingertips. Pinterest is a wonderful tool for finding beautiful products from all around the world which enables you to play.
Mood boards are a wonderful tool to allow you to visualize and possibly manifest, should you wish, as a result I feel these are a great way to inspire others, too, on their journey through the world wide web.
S/ALON BUDAPEST has launched a design competition revolving around your maximalist carpets, and we were delighted to see a plethora of inventive applications from different designers and studios. How did you choose the winner, what were the main factors that led you to pick Zestilo’s concept?
I will not lie, it was an extremely difficult decision to make. I was truly humbled by the number of entries and the amount of thought and planning that had gone into each and every one. I particularly liked how Zestilo’s idea captured the story of Pink Moon and the execution will allow visitors to experience her too.
The centerpiece of the installation is a magnificent wool and silk rug, hand-knotted in Nepal. What ideas and symbols influenced the vision of ‘Pink Moon’?
I wanted to create a piece that was geometric inspired, rather than pictorial. I looked to eastern Asia for inspiration, and loved the story and symbolism behind the Buddhist swastika. It is one of the oldest symbols on Earth and represents peace, good luck, positivity and infinity. Unfortunately, it was manipulated by the Nazis who made it a symbol of discrimination, but Pink Moon is certainly composed of the clockwise rotation, a story of positivity. As always, this design evolved with the addition of the pink moon, symbolising rebirth and renewal. The colour pink is revitalising and creates a feeling of love, beauty and joy and it sets a reminder that
life is a series of ups and downs, a cycle of hibernation and reawakening.
The cranes in flight symbolise longevity and happiness.
Are you planning to visit S/ALON BUDAPEST at the end of September?
Yes, we are, and very much looking forward to it. It will be very exciting to visit a real life trade show again, seeing real life, beautiful products and ideas and meeting with like-minded people. It will also be my first visit to Budapest, a city that looks very beautiful indeed.
What are your plans for the next 1-3 years?
In the coming months, we are planning the launch of our first wallpaper and fabric collections, which is all rather exciting. These initial developments have been inspired by some of our existing rug designs. We have also been working on a big collaboration with a large French store which will be coming to fruition. This latter has been a wonderful opportunity to work in different product areas and I expect, looking further into the future, to be collaborating more and continuing to work with talented artisans around the world, creating beautiful products. We are excited to develop new products with skilled artisans in order to keep their skills alive.
We see longevity in these products where beauty and skill can be celebrated over many generations to come.
You can meet Wendy on the first day of S/ALON BUDAPEST 2021 and see her astonishing Pink Moon carpet in the winning interior of this year’s design competition. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the unmissable program updates, guest announcements and the latest in the world of design! Buy your tickets here, and let’s meet at the Budapest Arena between September 24-26. for a wonderful weekend of inspiration!