Homegirl London pays homage to Sonya Winner. Sonya is the creator of graphic and colourful contemporary rugs. Her mission is to spread happiness with her bold and impactful designs which are layered with beautifully blended colours. The subject matter ranges from rainbows to kaleidoscopes, prisms, vortexes, couples kissing and inspiration from Matisse’s Cut-Outs. Her rugs are more than mere floor coverings; they are works of art. Sonya favours wool rugs, although she also makes some in silk, which is handmade using traditional manufacturing. She also produces cushions, wall hangings and pouffes. I caught up Sonya Winner to find out more.
Tri Angles Design
Meet Sonya Winner
Sonya studied art and design in London and New York (Chelsea School of Art, Middlesex University, School of Visual Arts New York and State University of New York). She then ran her own graphic design and photography businesses before developing a love of rugs. Sonya tells me how this came about – “I was asked by a friend to design a rug, found I loved doing it and it generated a lot of interest. The whole thing has snowballed from there which was back in 2011.” Luckily, it’s turned out rather well, she reveals – “I love the freedom this business brings me. Working for myself I get to do as I please and meet wonderful people. Although it’s hard work, there is a certain flexibility that is especially valuable to me as a mother. It is very rewarding to do something creative which I love and that others appreciate … it’s nice to get feedback from happy customers.”
She’s located in the capital, she tells me – “I’m based in the wonderful, vibrant city of London, which has always been my home. I can’t think of a more inspiring place to base a business. London thrives on multiculturalism and is known throughout the world as a centre of design and style. I love to travel, to see other cities and the natural world but I feel lucky to be able to come home to London.” This is certainly a woman after my own heart! The business runs with a small team in place. Sonya comments – “I have full and part-time staff to help me with various aspects of the business and I really value their input. I wish I had even more time to devote to the design process itself, but I also enjoy being involved as necessary in production, marketing and so on and making sure it all runs smoothly and everyone is happy.”
Sonya Winner Collection
Sonya tells me about her contemporary rugs – “I create the designs which are then all handmade. I generally make wool rugs, although we do have some silk rugs as well. I’m extremely particular about the quality of the products, which are very carefully overseen. I use traditional manufacturing techniques and never skimp on materials or labour. It’s important, too, that both labour and materials are ethical.” Although the rug designs may be different they all have one thing in common – they are all bold and beautiful. Sonya sums up her sole mission in life – “To design objects of beauty that make people smile!” So this is also her source of inspiration – “Whether it’s recognisable elements of nature, or abstract, the inspiration behind all of my designs is something that makes me happy. I like the thought that my designs bring happiness into the homes and workplaces of my clients.”
Let’s take a look at some of Sonya’s designs – “I feature everything from flowers, trees, butterflies plus many geometric abstract shapes.” Let’s start with ‘After Matisse’ which is one of the most popular pieces thanks to its strong colour hues. Sonya tells me – “The inspiration for our After Matisse rug was the works the artist made in later life when he was no longer painting so he cut shapes from the coloured card. I’m fascinated by the mixing and overlaying of colours and how they can make each other sing!” It will come as no surprise when Sonya reveals that a source of inspiration is in fact, Matisse. She tells me – “He’s been a huge inspiration, not only in his bold use of colour but for the fact that he found a new way of working when he could no longer paint.”
After Matisse Design
The Bubbles rug is also vibrant, Sonya says – “Bubbles is similar with the bright colours, but where After Matisse is made up of overlapping coloured squares, Bubbles is comprised of circles, for a softer but equally exuberant look.”
One of Sonya’s recent designs is The Kiss rug which she tells me about – “This is of course inspired by love and passion, like so many things in the world! There are two versions, equally bold, but The Kiss Passion is set against a zesty orange, while The Kiss Tender has elements of a muted blue.”
The Kiss Tender Design
Her two most recent designs are Aqua Teal Sea and Rectangles. Sonya reveals – “These are both inspired by tranquil holidays by water. As well as wool, Rectangles is available in silk, which gives a particularly beautiful shimmer, reminiscent of light glancing off a barely ruffled sea.”
Aqua Teal Sea Design
You can buy the rugs in the readymade sizes and you also have the option to request a bespoke size.
Buy Sonya Winner Products
If you’ve fallen in love with these rugs you can buy from the website at Sonya Winner. To give you an idea about price points – rugs start at about £600, depending on size, style and material. Medium-sized rugs are £1,000-2,000, with the very largest-selling for up to £10000. In addition to the rugs they sell cushions for £69 each and the pouffes are £595 for three. Shipping overseas is not a problem; they deliver to all corners of the world!
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Sonya Winner. Thanks: Sonya and Pia Pasternack.