Usually, we introduce a new Wendy Morrison rug design and share the story of how each individual rug came to be; what inspirations shaped her; why her colours work; and explain the meaning behind her motifs and share ideas on how to style her. Which is just what we would like to do here with stunning new rug, Mandela Solace. Unusually, in this instance, the rug design did not come first – she follows one of the new Wendy Morrison wallpaper designs, and both take inspiration from our beautiful Mandela Moon rug.
Not yet available, but about to be revealed very soon, the Mandela Solace wallpaper forms part of the gorgeous first collection of wallcoverings designed by Wendy. An elegant black tree with long, slim branches set against a soft, pale-gold backdrop decorated with delicate birds and butterflies shot through with shimmering colour, combine in a striking design that works beautifully as both a wallpaper and a rug.
Wendy tells us how her design for hand-tufted wool & Tencel rug Mandela Moon, which features delicate fauna shimmering against a giant moon, was the starting point for Mandela Solace. ‘Mandela Solace wallpaper was developed from Mandela Moon,’ she explains. ‘If you look at both designs, you will see that if you remove the backdrop of the moon, you are left with the silhouette of the tree, as well as the colourful details of birds and butterflies.
‘Mandela Moon was created when my family and I were living in France. We lived and worked in Switzerland then France, before returning to Scotland. I remember the day this design came to be quite clearly. I was working on a new collection for John Lewis at the time and I had a little work space which had beautiful views of Mont Blanc.
‘Admittedly this sounds rather idyllic, but it was quite a difficult time. It was not easy settling two little Scottish boys into a local French-speaking school, so work was proving a good distraction. I remember having that excited, almost giddy, feeling when this new design came to me. It’s a strange feeling – excitement combined with worry that you might mess something up. It was also the day of Nelson Mandela’s funeral, in December 2013, which was being reported on the radio as I was drawing. It was an intense day and it felt like the right choice to name the rug Mandela Moon after the great man.’
Playing around with this original design several years later sparked the idea for Mandela Solace wallpaper. ‘Without the moon in the design, I played with scale and repeat, and I felt it worked well as a wallpaper,’ Wendy explains. ‘It is fairly neutral yet luxurious in black and gold with a gold iridescent background, and a delicate sprinkling of colour in the form of birds and butterflies.’
The grounding black and gold base with its uplifting pinks, aqua greens and teals in the birds and butterflies work equally well in a rug design, resulting in a beautiful, delicate rug that is incredibly versatile to style up. The graphic black of the tree grounds the design against a warm, neutral, lustrous base. The colours seen in the birds perched on long elegant branches and the butterflies fluttering around are picked out in gorgeous shimmering shades. In Wendy’s home, Mandela Solace can be seen working effortlessly teamed with a gold sofa and Wendy is confident her newest design will work beautifully with most rich jewel colours.
Being a neutral herself, Mandela Solace also works with other neutrals, including leopard print. This simple design still features lots of intricate detail and the hint of gold adds to her glamorous credentials – you can read all about how to add a touch of glamour to homes in our previous journal here.
Also a little unusually, Mandela Solace is available in a 7ft x 8ft size. ‘I liked the idea of a slightly off-square size,’ Wendy explains, ‘neither obvious as a portrait or landscape shape, which I feel works well with a comfortable furniture layout.’
With this in mind, we think Mandela Solace is a wonderfully versatile neutral for a lounge and that she would also help to bring a sense of calm to a bedroom. Aside from how pretty she looks, we love the strength, delicate colour and elegance in her design, and hope you do too.