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Tag Archives: commissions

Now Showing: Goose The Bear with Ljubljana Puppet Theatre

27 April 2016

Did you ever want to see Big Ted come to life? Well this month in Ljubljana, Slovenia you have the chance to see him walking, talking even swimming!

Friday saw the premiere of children’s story Goose the Bear, the first puppet show to feature Donna Wilson’s wonderful woolly creations.  Goose the Bear is a heart-warming German tale written by Katja Gehrmann. A bear gets more than he bargained when he rescues an egg from the jaws of a hungry fox. The egg hatches a confused little gosling who believes he is a bear, and tries to prove this to his newfound mother the bear.

We feel so privileged to have worked with Lljubljana Puppet Theatre on this project. We hope our lovely fans get the chance to visit. Tickets are still available to buy here.

 

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Ljubljana Puppet Theatre specialises in puppet shows and drama performances for both young and adult audiences in a grand building with 6 in-house venues with almost 1000 seats overall. The Theatre pays special attention to the cultural education and care for the Slovenian puppet heritage.

When you step into the cosy auditorium, you are greeted by our tall signature knitted trees. You will find that absolutely everything from the stage, to the surrounding walls and ceiling is dressed in our brightly patterned lambswool. Look out for the Hungry Fox, the Mischievous Squirrel and of course the stars of the show Big Bear and the Little Goose!

 

 

Donna was so thrilled for this unique opportunity when she was approached by the Lljubljana Puppet Theatre last year. She has been very much involved in the production process from the beginning and even flew out with the family to Ljubljana to check out the rehearsals. Everything has been knitted in our London studio whilst the Theatre’s skilled team of performers and makers in their spectacular workshop made the magic happen on stage. We hope we can take the show on the road soon!

Photo credit: Urška Boljkovac, Donna Wilson, @jajanjaja

Exclusive Collection for the Fogo Island Inn

18 November 2015

You may remember, a few years ago Donna was asked to be part of the design team led by Ilse Crawford working on the interiors of the Fogo Island Inn on Fogo, a remote island off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

The island had around 2,000 inhabitants, and the population was dwindling. An amazing woman called Zita Cobb was born there, and after a successful career in Canada, she had decided to set up a foundation to create employment and to try to give local young people a reason to stay. She decided to create the Inn and everything from the building work to the materials, right down to the sheets on the beds had to be sourced and made on the island with the skills they had.

The Fogo Island Inn now a multi-award winning property built on the principles of sustainability and respect for nature and culture, as well as a social enterprise. All surpluses from the operation are reinvested by Shorefast Foundation for the benefit of the local community. What a great place, don’t you think? And it is just breathtaking. Take a look!

Donna is very proud to have been a part of this amazing project. Donna collaborated with the Winds and Waves Artisans Guild to create quilted cushion covers where the shingle outlines are the stitching patterns for the 100% lambswool covered cushions. Pictured below are the Bertha Chair and Pouffe in a guest room.

More recently, the Fogo Island Shop commissioned Donna to create a collection of three whimsical scarves and a luxurious limited-edition blanket. The scarves and blanket feature the now iconic shingle motif designed by Donna in 2011.

The shingle motif was inspired by the wooden cladding of the Brett House in the town of Joe Batt’s Arm on Fogo Island. The unique cladding is characterized by the imperfect and slightly wonky angles of hand-carved, repeated geometric shapes.

The scarves are available at the Fogo Island Shop, and on our website. The limited edition blanket is only available at the Fogo Island Shop.

The Fogo Island Shop is an initiative of Shorefast Foundation, a registered charity dedicated to improving the social, cultural and economic conditions on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. All surpluses from the Shop are reinvested by the Foundation for the benefit of the local community.

For more information about the exclusive collection at the Fogo Island Inn, please visit the Fogo Island Shop website or their Facebook page.

Aberdeenshire Council Tartan Commission

13 June 2014

Hi everyone,

We’re very happy to announce that the Aberdeenshire Tartan is now complete! You may remember reading about the start of this project in one of our earlier blog posts here.

Commissioned by the Aberdeenshire Council for the Be Part of The Picture Project, the new Aberdeenshire tartan was designed by Donna Wilson with the help of local schoolchildren of the county. The children were asked to present the colours they felt best represented their area of Aberdeenshire.

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With these suggestions, Donna designed Aberdeenshire’s new tartan featuring colours that draw directly from Aberdeenshire’s rich natural surroundings as well as elements of their cultural heritage, and which is completely unique to its namesake!

The colours that are featured in the tartan are:
Old Meldrum – A gold/copper inspired by the stills at the Glengarioch Distillery, and as one pupil point out- it’s also the colour of whisky!
Stonehaven – A pinky red seen in Aberdeenshire sunsets, and a colour often spotted at the infamous ‘Aunt Betty’s’ sweetshop in Stonehaven.
Aboyne – A frosty lichen green found in the Ladywood Forest.
Fraserburgh – A lilac/blue symbolising the seas and skies around Fraserburgh.
Kintore – A forest green from all the woodlands around Kintore.
Harvest – A barley colour that reminded Donna of the farm where she grew up, and her favourite time of year.
Peterhead – A minty green from the seas and sea spray of Peterhead.

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Here’s a great video about the project, put together by the brilliant creative team Oliver’s Island, who accompanied Donna on her visits to the schools and the mill.

As a Scottish designer who grew up in Aberdeen, Donna feels very honoured to have been asked to design this very special tartan.

She adds: “Tartan is such an important part of our tradition and heritage, and we should never lose that. I hope to be able to make a difference to the manufacturers who will be weaving it and create something that will be a lasting symbol of Aberdeenshire.”
Donna is proud to be involved in the Be Part of the Picture project as it a program about celebrating the strengths of Aberdeenshire and showcasing the region as a place of beauty. The programme uses cultural and economic development projects to engage with local people and boost the sense of pride in Aberdeenshire’s communities.
Donna is pictured above with Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster in the Banffshire Journal.

We’re proud to say that the tartan is woven in Scotland and is now available by the meter, as well as in two very special scarves hand-finished in Donna’s London studio.

Available for purchase exclusively at www.donnawilson.com.

Donna Wilson + Vital Arts + Royal London Hospital

18 March 2014
People say the effect is only on the mind. It is no such thing. The effect is on the body, too. Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, by colour, and light, we do know this, that they have an actual physical effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery. -Florence Nightingale

Hi everyone,

We’d like to share with you some news about a project we’ve been working on over the past few weeks, which we’re very proud to be a part of – we are currently working on a commission through arts organization Vital Arts and The Royal London Hospital.  Vital Arts is the arts and health organisation for Barts Health LNHS Trust, charitably funded to deliver arts programmes for the wellbeing of the hospital community.

My team and I have been working on creating an installation and mural in the children’s intensive care ward at the Royal London Hospital in an effort to create a positive environment to help make things feel a bit brighter for all who visit the ward.

Art has proven, throughout paediatric hospitals all over the world, to be an invaluable aid for staff in either distracting children from the more frightening elements of a hospital visit, or simply by positively engaging the patients at a hospital.
Over the past few weeks we have been painting an oversized graphic landscape on the walls of the children’s ward. The rural scene features mountains and hills with bright colours and lots of different textures.
The textured patterns on the hills were created with rubber stamps, which we applied by hand with the help of some of the lovely patients at the hospital. During these workshops, we hoped to give patients a chance to get involved in beautifying their surroundings and also just to spend time doing a simple but fun activity!
So far we have been able to paint the walls and stamp, but we’re still working on installing wooden trees and the last remaining elements of the installation. We hope to complete the project in the coming weeks and as soon as we do, we will be sure to share some photos!

Design for the Fogo Island Inn

4 February 2014

A couple of years ago, I was asked to visit the most remote Island called Fogo Island. Off the coast of Newfoundland the island had around 2,000 inhabitants, and the population is dwindling.  An amazing woman called Zita Cobb was born there, and after a successful career in Canada, she had decided to set up a foundation to create employment and to try to give youngsters a reason to stay.  She decided to create an Inn and everything from the building work to the materials, right down to the sheets on the beds had to be sourced and made on the island with the skills they had.  I was lucky enough to be selected by Ilse Crawford to help with the interiors.  The Inn is finished now, and it looks breathtaking!

The most amazing view- The inn sits on the shore and all the rooms over loo the powerful sea.

The Inn was designed by Canadian Architect Todd Saunders, and modern structure echoes the fishing huts which are built on stilts all around the shore.

Here are some shots of the interior- I designed the chair, pouffe and wallpaper above.

The patchwork quilts are made by the islands guild.

Close up of the Bertha chair, which was inspired by the Island’s tradition of boat building. The chair was made by the boat builders, and cushions made by the patchwork guild. http://www.fogoislandinn.ca/fii/a-chair-named-bertha/

 What an amazing place! http://www.fogoislandinn.ca.

Designing a New Tartan for Aberdeenshire – Stage One

7 November 2013

Designing a tartan is something as a Scottish designer I’m very honored to have been asked to do, especially for my home county. So where do you start?…. (above are two drawings of tartan by pupils at Old Meldrum Primary school.)

A little bit of background:  I’ve have been commisioned by Aberdeenshire council as part of they’re placemaking project which aims to change the way Aberdeenshire is seen by communities, visitors, and businesses alike. Their programme, titled Be Part of the Picture, will showcase the region as a place of beauty, quality and innovation, using a range of creative engagement projects to explore all that Aberdeenshire, as a distinctive area in its own right, has to offer.

My job as a designer is to design a brand new tartan that is completely unique and best represents Aberdeenshire, and to do this I really wanted the local community to be part of it. So I have been visiting schools and setting them a brief so that they actually choose the colours which are specific to their own area, then I’ll feed these into the design.  The school involved are from all around the county : Aboyne School (Marr),Dales Park School (Buchan),Kintore School (Meldrum),Lochpots School (Banff and Buchan),Meldrum Primary (Garioch) and Mill O’Forest Primary (Kincardine and Mearns) and were chosen as they had very little visiting people to them.
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The first part of the process is now underway, I did a little presentation to them about my own work and my journey from being at school myself to being a designer,then set them the brief. It was so refreshing working with kids, and everyone including the teachers were so enthusiastic.  it was great fun, and I love the random questions that they asked me…. like  have I ever made a panda hat? and what’s the most original creature I had designed? It did make me think we are far too inhibited as adults and worry about what others think too much, children just say what the first thing that comes into their heads, it is great!.

I have no idea what they will come up with yet as I’m still awaiting some of the colours, but the idea is that 6 schools, will go out, the photos of their area, really focusing on what is unique to their area, and then create a mood board. From that they have to really look at the colours that appear in the photograph and recreate them with paints. I wanted to encourage them to look with fresh eyes at their own countryside and environments, and think about colour.  not their favorite colour, or colours they think things are, but what’s really there.

I have always bee inspired by colour, and having grown up in Aberdeenshire, I think it had a very special light, I wanted the kids to realise that skies are not necessarily blue, they can be pink or lavender, and trees are not a green straight from the tube  they can be blues greys all mixed in together.

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I will keep you posted on the next stage which will be gathering up all the colour, designing then having it made!
For more information about the placemaking project of Aberdeenshire go to http://bepartofthepicture.com/.