Wendy Morrison Design, Willow Tree Rug

Profiles: Wendy Morrison Design

Wendy Morrison, Wendy Morrison DesignHomegirl London pays homage to Wendy Morrison Design.  This company makes beautiful hand crafted contemporary rugs which are designed by Wendy Morrison.  Her husband Gregor Morrison is the director of the company which they started together in September 2004.

Wendy studied fashion at The Scottish College of Textiles and has been lucky enough to work for well-known brands.  It was a commission opportunity in the world of bespoke rug designing which ignited a passion for this medium to express her creativity.  Wendy’s designs are vibrant and contemporary and very much inspired by nature but with a modern, graphic use of colour and texture.  I caught up with Wendy to find out more …

Q: Tell me about your design background.

A: I originally studied fashion at the Scottish College of Textiles and followed this with ten years in the industry working for suppliers to high street names including M&S where I designed a variety of products from ladies dresses to technical outerwear clothing.  I also worked on colour and trend prediction documents for Viyella and sportswear for licensed sportswear companies kitting out premier football clubs.

Q: How did you and Gregor meet?

A: We’re a husband and wife team – Gregor also works in IT so is very hands on with the website social media and the admin side of things.  We got together in 1994 while going out as part of a group of friends on Saturday nights to the infamous Slam nights at the Sub Club in Glasgow.

Q: Why set up your business?

A: I was working for London-based sportswear clients when an opportunity arose with a local rug supplier who was looking for some fresh design input to revitalise their business.  They were a well-established but very traditional company and asked me if I would be interested in designing some rugs for them – maintaining the traditional craft heritage whilst incorporating a modern design element – it was a fantastic opportunity as this product was an exciting new outlet for me to explore and express my creativity – and I wanted to do this for myself!

Wendy Morrison Design, Tree Rug

Wendy Morrison, Tree Rug

Q: Where are you based and why?

A: Both Gregor and I were working freelance so it meant we could be based anywhere and so we were living in rural Scotland in Ayrshire near Turnberry.  We have just recently moved from Scotland to France on the outskirts of Geneva.  It is an exciting place to be with so many new opportunities to explore in Europe whilst still being close to London and Scotland.

Q: How many people work at your company?

A: There’s me and Gregor and now we have Roy on board working on PR and focusing on working with our UK clientele and there is also our valuable manufacturing plant in Panipat, India where our retail rugs are made – Jasbir leads operations there.

Wendy Morrison Design, Kaleidoscope Rug

Wendy Morrison, Kaleidoscope Rug

Q: Describe your design style.

A: Vibrant and contemporary, inspired by nature with a modern, graphic use of colour and texture.

Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

Wendy Morrison Design, Crochet Rug

Wendy Morrison, Crochet Rug

A: Nature is always a huge source of inspiration – from animals, florals and colours to the landscape and its history.  Different periods of history inspire me at different times there is always something new to be discovered and appreciated – colours, cultures and their history of art and design are all stimulating and thought provoking.  Inspiration is endless I’m glad to say – I love beautiful objects, places and people.

Q: Tell me about your collections.

A: My retail collections are all relatively new and coming from a commercial background, i.e. my fashion experience combined with me being at a period in my life when I have confidence in what I am creating are perhaps quite reflective of what I have been inspired by, a lot of which is based around colour and pattern.

Willow Tree and Celebration were created at a time when I was enjoying a lot of what was and have been created in China, they have been a huge manufacturing supply, particularly of fashion and I felt their own history and art had perhaps been overlooked whilst they were busy copying or recreating what was being asked of the West.

Tree was inspired by a love of Art Deco, Aster my love of colour, Infinity was me looking into the pattern of religion.   The collection I’m working on currently is looking at the cycle of life, well that’s the beginning and I’m still not too sure where it will take me!

Wendy Morrison Design, Willow Tree Rug

Wendy Morrison, Willow Tree Rug

Wendy Morrison Design, Celebration Rug

Wendy Morrison, Celebration Rug

Wendy Morrison Design, Infinity Rug

Wendy Morrison, Infinity Rug

Q: What’s your fascination with rugs?

A: I love working with rugs because they are a wonderful way to bring your artwork to life and make such a statement and an added dimension on your floor or wall.  Unfortunately no matter how good the photographer or location, it is extremely difficult to express the true impact that a rug has in its space, it is so exciting unrolling the rug for the first time, it is always better than anticipated and I am never disappointed with the process, it’s just extraordinary, ‘Aster’ is a fine example of this.

Wendy Morrison Design Aster Rug

Wendy Morrison, Aster Rug

Q: Tell me about your bespoke service.

A: My bespoke service is a real indulgence for those who are looking for the perfect rug for their floor space.  The best way for me to do this is by visiting the space and the client in order to get a feel for the interior and what the client is looking for.  We also discuss yarn types and look at samples and I then go away and work on some ideas to discuss with client, produce a sample generally before going full size to confirm colours and scale and then a rug is hand crafted often within 6 to 8 weeks.

Q: Which creative person / company do you admire and why?

A:  As I’m writing this on a Sunday, it has to be Jarvis Cocker.  I do love his Sunday afternoon radio show because it is so off the wall and gets you thinking about things you wouldn’t normally think about and he plays some good tunes too.  It is definitely a Sunday thing though as sometimes if I have missed it on a Sunday I will put it on whilst I work on a Monday but it is just not the same, it is a show to cook to, sit and listen to with a cup of tea or sew to as I did today, he really makes a Sunday afternoon in my books.

Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

A: A level of freedom in what you can create and being able to take the business in the direction you want it to go – you are responsible for your own destiny!

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to set up their own business?

A:  You require a great deal of patience (a source of cash is also helpful with this!) and there is no getting away from a lot of hard work, particularly at trying to promote yourself which doesn’t come naturally to everyone.  If this is especially true, it would definitely be worthwhile getting someone who loves you and your work on board to help get you out there!

Q: What new projects are you currently working on?

A: Well, just landing and settling in Geneva is pretty exciting – we are looking to grow our bespoke business in the Geneva area – obviously plenty of opportunity here and looking to work with more European retailers.  There is also the release of our debut exclusive John Lewis collection in February 2014 and imminent collaborative work with Woven Ground to showcase new designs in their flagship Kings Road store.  We are not quite sure where we will exhibit in 2014 but ICFF, NY was a lot of fun this year and I love being there very much, I would certainly like to make it a regular thing!

Retail prices for rugs from the collection are £750 for a 1.7m x 2.4m and £900 for a 2m x 3m.  Bespoke design prices from £195 per square metre and bespoke textured products from £95 per square metre.  For more information visit Wendy’s website www.wendymorrisondesign.com.  Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Wendy Morrison Design, special thanks to Wendy Morrison, Gregor Morrison and Roy.