I’m excited to tell you about these rugs as I had a small, tiny, hand in the thinking behind them. Last year Wendy Morrison, a hugely talented designer with a background in fashion, wrote to me and asked if I would like to have one of her rugs for my bedroom.
Now I don’t accept many of the things I am offered. I have to have a very good reason to work with a brand, either on a paid or more collaborative basis, and I always want to know if it will value or knowledge to you, the readers. I wrote back to Wendy: Your rugs, I said, are amazing. But they are a premium product and I would only have a rug in my bedroom if it went all the way under the bed because otherwise I think they look a bit silly. And, I continued, given that you don’t create small bedside rugs, that is a waste of all that hand-weaving by specialist skilled people in India because the pattern won’t show except for a small patch around the edges.
And so the bedroom rug was born. Wendy suggested creating a rug with the pattern round the edges specifically for bedrooms. It would, she said, be a great opportunity to explore that idea – all her work is bespoke. I would have the prototype and she would explore some designs that might work in that context.
And so it turned out. And, while Wendy has been working on her bedroom designs, she has also been asked to create exactly the same thing by a hotel so it clearly makes commercial sense. My rug is called the Secret Garden and you can see it above and, in more detail, below.
The pattern isn’t just round the edges but there is a blank space in the middle and it was the start of the idea. This pattern goes further into the middle than some of her other, later, designs but it would be perfect if you had a bed on legs – which I don’t – as you would just see the branches stretching out underneath which does finish off the design perfectly. I also love this pink and gold colour way.
“Your idea for rugs under the bed was music to my ears,” Wendy told me last week. “I have previously found myself designing rugs considering the position of different design elements so they were not covered by the coffee table or the like and it is pure joy to have a design appearing from underneath.
“Within a week of starting this brief, I had also been asked by a hotel to create a rug with the design to be based around the edge of the bed. It was good to consider a design that could work in all directions with subtle details in alternative accents of colour; the birds and the butterflies.
“It’s based around a king size bed and there is a generous amount of detail around the edges.”
Then she made this, which I predict will be a huge success with its leopard print border and bold floral designs. This is perfect for any bedroom and Wendy will also make to any size and colour you require, so it doesn’t have to be pink.
“The detail does not finish at the edge of the bed it very much works its way into the centre of the rug so the design is not only limited to the bedroom but could work equally well with a dining table.
A further development that came from this idea was Leopard and Zebra Florals.”
Wendy started out in fashion designing for the high street, mostly M&S and she worked in most departments from colour and trend predictions to dresses. “It was fun but very limiting to being in London and I missed my horse,” she said. So eventually she moved back to Scotland and worked freelance designing mostly sportswear.
“My heart was not in sportswear, and I suspect it never will be. I am sure it has come along way but I do feel myself come out in a rash whenever I have to take my boys into a sports shop……bizarrely one is ever so sporty!
“But by complete accident I was introduced to a local rug manufacturer near where we had bought a wreck of a cottage. They showed me the workshop and the process and asked if I would like to design some rugs. It was incredible having access to such a workshop with oodles of yarn, only a few miles from our house.
“I instantly loved the whole process of hand tufting, basically drawing your artwork onto a canvas and filling it with yarn which brought the canvas to life. I had often looked at beautiful rugs from afar, knowing I could not afford such delights, however this tufting process appeared much more affordable and felt this was a really exciting new product I could develop and make more available.”
Wendy eventually set up a workshop in India where she has been having rugs made for the last six years. She now now sells exclusive designs for John Lewis, where prices are just under £600, as well as making bespoke designs for clients. Of course they’re investment pieces but they are heirlooms to be passed down the family for generations to come. After all, they are works of art aren’t they?