The newest addition to the Wendy Morrison family of hand-knotted heirloom rugs - Joie de Vivre - is an exuberant slice of life, full of shimmering detail and pretty colour. As well as sharing the story of the importance of connecting with the natural world, Joie de Vivre has her own tale to tell about how her design came about.
Originally named ‘Nature’s Calling’, this beautiful artisan-crafted rug was brought to life during the pandemic, when the world stopped for a while. ‘It really did feel as if Mother Earth was telling us to stop taking and was asking us to take a moment to think and reset our ways in order for our planet to survive,’ Wendy says.
This design started out as part of the recent Wendy Morrison x Monoprix collaboration - resulting in a limited-edition fashion and homewares collection that is available in France next month - but the concept stayed with Wendy and now works beautifully as a hand-knotted rug.
An inspirational quote by philosopher and author Emanuele Coccia posted on luxury French fashion house Dior’s Instagram feed prior to its SS20 Fashion Week Show, which was inspired by nature and the environment, caught Wendy’s attention at the time. ‘Aside from their decorative beauty, plants are vital mediators in the relationship between Earth, the Sun and humankind,’ Coccia said.
‘Emanuele Coccia’s quote makes perfect sense to me and fits with the stories I try to share,’ Wendy explains. Joie de Vivre brings together Wendy’s love of nature and her intention to show the importance of connecting with the world around us.
The final design features a soft, ombre, green wool backdrop with colourful flora, foliage and birds picked out in silk, and a grounding lilac base. Crafting the intricate motifs is a labour of love, but the result is that every hand-knotted silk detail appears to lift from the wool base to make the design ‘sing’. The glorious combination of colours and detailing felt so exuberant that Nature’s Calling was reborn as Joie de Vivre, which we felt better captured her joy and the vibrancy of nature.
Colour is a driving force in Wendy’s designs. ‘As always, I struggled to choose a colour for Joie de Vivre,’ Wendy explains. ‘I started with a yellow ombre base, which is such a happy colour and one that might still work for a version in a different colourway, but I also loved the green ombre with the lilac ground, which is a long-time favourite combination.
"Colours are definitely a driver for me and I’m drawn to certain combinations, although they do tend to change frequently! But green, pink and lilac are deep-rooted favourites; green for growth, pink for love and lilac for that little bit of inspirational insight. I feel the colours used in Joie de Vivre are hopeful and joyful, and they certainly played their part in inspiring this design"
‘When it comes to a new design, there is always an initial idea in my head. It takes time to sketch and play with the elements to get to a place where I feel it is right. With Joie de Vivre, I played around with a lot of trees and florals in early sketches, and it took a while to get the balance just right. Working on early ideas for our collaboration with Monoprix, I also had lots of fun visualising this design on a kimono and dress.
‘As a long-time admirer of de Gournay - the Paris showroom is somewhere I love to visit - Joie de Vivre was also inspired by their pictorial wall coverings, which tell beautiful stories and create wonderful spaces,’ Wendy adds.
Full of life and vibrancy, Joie de Vivre is also an elegant design; a pictorial story that encourages you to consider every element. Full of joyful detail, this is a rug that draws attention without demanding it. She is there to be noticed, but will work beautifully in almost any room without overpowering the space. The green and lilac are eye-catching and grounding, with details in colours that can easily be picked up through accessories or fabrics to create a cohesive look. And if you are thinking about redesigning a room, we have some suggestions on how to use a rug as a starting point for a new look in our previous journal here.
The end result is a rug that we hope will bring joy and happiness to homes. The hand-knotted technique is a labour-intensive process, but one that helps create a high-quality rug made to be handed down through generations. A heritage piece that tells her own story and goes on to play a part in someone else’s story too.