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British Wool: supporting design talent

The Design Competition is the UK’s largest textile competition, run by Bradford Textile Society. One of the categories is The British Wool and Alternative Flooring Award, which encourages young textile designers to think about new flooring designs for the home. Millie Rothera, 2019’s winner, tells us more about her design.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your entry.

My entry was inspired by the idea of bringing colour and play into the home. Putting aside the grey of day to day life and embracing the idea of adult play, my design focuses on the language between colour and shape within interior environments. After reading an article within a colour trend magazine entitled 'PLAY', I was inspired to incorporate a colour palette I describe as a mature take on the Primary Colours, into my designs of bold shapes and stripes. This concept promotes learning through playful process not only for the consumer but also the maker. The colours and texture are designed to stimulate the mind into a playful state, adding excitement to often bland interiors.

Why did you choose to use British wool?

I always prefer to use natural fabrics as I believe they offer the best quality. British wool also brings natural colouring and a beautiful slub aesthetic to the weave, which really adds to the overall design quality. My design was brought to life by Alternative Flooring - the colouring is exactly as I imagined, and the rug is soft underfoot, sustainable and naturally flame retardant.

What do you like most about working with British wool?

After winning the award I was invited to British Wool’s head office to learn how wool is graded. I found this extremely interesting as I learned about all the uses of wool and how nothing goes to waste. All wool is good wool as long as it is used in the right way.

How did it feel to win the award?

I was so shocked and happy to be told I had won the award. Designing large interior items like rugs has been a dream of mine for a while, and this competition meant I was able to fulfil that dream. Seeing my design brought to life as a large rug was amazing!

What’s next for you?

Now I have graduated from my textile design course I have returned to University as a Creative in Residence. As a screen printer, this means I can fulfil freelance opportunities and carry on developing my practice without investing too much in my own studio – I love working in a large workshop environment and lending a hand to students.

I’ve also launched an online shop selling hand-made interior and life style products, and am working with studios on exclusive designs for collections. Watch this space!

Read more about the benefits of British wool in flooring.

Find out more about the 2020 Design Competition.

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British Wool: supporting design talent Millie winning design