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Donna on Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4 – Craft Special

2 April 2015
Hi all,
Tune in to ‘Woman’s Hour‘ on BBC Radio 4 this Easter Monday April 6th to hear Donna on the radio! Donna was invited to the Woman’s Hour Craft Special to discuss her experiences in the business of craft.

Woman’s Hour is on at 10:00am GMT – you can listen on BBC Radio 4 or stream online here.

Other guests of the show include Ptolemy Mann, Chinelo Bally, Helen Zaltzman, Claire Morsman, Dr. Cat Rossi, Senior Lecturer in Design History at Kingston University, and Annie Warburton, Creative Programmes Director at the Craft Council.
Tune in to join the discussion! x

Donna featured in Makelight blog and upcoming book ‘Maker Spaces’

22 January 2015
We’re very happy to say that Donna is featured in Emily Quinton‘s upcoming book, Maker Spaces, and in anticipation of the book launch she is also featured in Emily’s blog on Makelight today!
We’ve included some photos below, and the complete post is available here: http://www.makelight.io/blog/2015/1/20/donna-wilsons-maker-spaces.
We are so excited for the launch of Makers Spaces! You can read more about it here, as well as pre-order the book: http://www.makelight.io/maker-spaces.
Here are some highlights, all photos taken by Emily:
 

Donna Wilson in Living Sense Magazine in Korea

5 November 2014

Hi everyone,

We’d like to share some photos with you of Donna and her family in their home, as featured in Living Sense, a lovely design and interiors magazine based in South Korea. This is from their November 2014 issue.  Look how big Eli has gotten!
The photos on the last page are from our studio in Bethnal Green and from our London Design Festival pop-up shop in Shoreditch. We hope you enjoy them! x

Donna Wilson Knitwear in Oh Comely Magazine

20 October 2014

We are so pleased to be featured in the newest issue of Oh Comely, one of our very favourite independent magazines. Every page of this magazine is so beautifully laid out and the soft, ethereal images are so carefully shot and curated… flipping through this magazine is like reading a poem through pictures, or discovering your next favourite song –  what a treat!

How lovely are these photos?! Thank you Oh Comely!! xxx

P.S. The Raindrop Jumper is available here, and the Woodland House Jumper is available here!

Live Q&A Twitter Session next week!

3 July 2014

To all students and recent grads: here’s your chance to chat with Donna Wilson and ask her professional  advice!

Donna will be holding a live Q&A Twitter session next week on Thursday 10th July (3-4pm GMT) to answer any questions you might have about the creative industry, starting your own company, and how to get started in the design and textile business!
You can chat live with Donna by sending your questions to @DonnaWilsonLtd and tag #DonnaWilsonQA during the session.  
Mark your diaries and tell your friends! x

Donna, Jon, and Eli’s new home in The Telegraph!

16 May 2014

We’ve got some exciting news – The Telegraph is featuring Donna, Jon, and Eli in their new home!

The issue will be in UK newsstands this weekend but you can get a sneak peek of the story by Rachel Leedham and the lovely photos shot by Rachael Smith below:

There are trays of seedlings sprouting in a corner of Donna Wilson’s bathroom: pea and tomato plants, and a third she cannot identify because she accidentally threw the packet away. ‘I am very excited about having a garden,’ she says. ‘I don’t really know what I’m doing, which is slightly embarrassing, considering that I grew up on a farm.’
It is Wilson’s childhood, living in a remote part of Aberdeenshire, that she believes informed her passion for colour and texture, both of which feature abundantly, joyously, in her work as a textiles designer. ‘I spent a huge amount of time outdoors, looking at nature,’ she recalls. ‘I was taught by my granny to draw and paint, and she was always into colour. She had these beautiful boxes of chalky pastels – they looked like sweets.’
Having graduated with a textiles degree from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, Wilson studied mixed media and constructed textiles at the Royal College of Art in London. There she began to create knitted animals – curious creatures with strange proportions that ‘weren’t too pretty and cute, or too ugly and scary’. At her final show the entire menagerie sold.
In the early 2000s, when interior design was emerging from a period of stark minimalism, Wilson’s vibrant, folksy cushions and blankets – instantlyrecognisable, shamelessly copied – heralded a new zeitgeist for pieces that were playful, homely and not beige. Sheridan Coakley, the founder of the contemporary design company SCP, had once vowed to his staff that he would never sell cushions, but Wilson’s designs won him over. She has also created pieces of furniture for him, including knitted pouffes, as well as Welsh blankets and a range of rugs. This year will see her first foray into fashion, with a childrenswear collection for John Lewis launching in August and her own range of women’s sweaters planned for autumn.
With all of this going on, it is perhaps unsurprising that it took a while for Wilson and her partner, Jon Almond, a furniture designer, to get on the property ladder. When they did begin scouring east London, in 2012, it took two years of ‘overwhelmingly packed’ viewings and gazumpings for them to find this detached Victorian house in a conservation area in Leytonstone. The property once belonged to a flower producer who grew his blooms in fields backing on to it. Under the Dig for Victory campaign of the Second World War the land was divided into allotments, which are still there today. ‘We couldn’t believe our luck,’ Wilson says.
The second piece of luck was that the three-bedroom house had been renovated by a developer with some semblance of taste: no shopping mall-style spotlights or penchant for chrome – the floor was even parquet. ‘I love the floor,’ Wilson enthuses. ‘And we have a proper hall! Who in London has a proper hall?’
As well as a ‘proper hall’, the ground floor has a sitting room, a study and a kitchen-dining room with a double-height ceiling. Upstairs are two bedrooms and a bathroom, with a third bedroom at the top, tucked beneath the eaves.
The project was essentially redecorating, and the space Wilson was most excited about when she and Almond moved in last October was their six-month-old son Eli’s bedroom. ‘I wanted to give him his own knitted world,’ she explains of the knitted trees that hang from picture rails around the room. Gaudy plastic is notable in its absence, although she confesses to having stashed one of Eli’s favourite toys, a plastic DJ booth, in the study before the photographer arrived.
Wilson’s designs are dotted around the house, as are pieces by Almond. ‘Jon loves a rummage and he’s always picking up things from the street or a skip,’ she says, pointing out the coat stand in the hallway which incorporates antique wooden doorknobs salvaged from a building site.
There are also pieces by Wilson’s designer-maker friends: beautiful handblown glass pendant lights by Michael Ruh, whimsical prints by Rob Ryan and a lace-like lampshade by Tord Boontje. Almost everything in the house is British-made, something Wilson is passionate about, particularly when it comes to her own work. ‘I outsource manufacturing around the country. My creatures are made by a knitter in Orkney, the cushions and blankets are produced by a lady in Galashiels, and the ceramics are made in Stoke-on-Trent,’ she says. ‘Many of these skills are dying out, so if I can do my bit to keep them alive, that’s wonderful – but I know I’m a small drop in the ocean.’ Albeit a quirky, multicoloured, ever-so-playful drop.
By Rachel Leedham
Photographs by Rachael Smith
A very very big thank you to David Nicholls, Rachel Leedham, and Rachael Smith! xx