Donna Wilson’s Milan Diary

On occasion, the editors of Sight Unseen spot a story about creativity told from a viewpoint that’s not unlike our own. But we liked this Facebook photo set — shot last week at the furniture fair in Milan by one of our favorite textile designers — precisely because it couldn’t have come from the point of view of anyone other than Donna Wilson. After setting up her own exhibition with SCP at Spazio Botta, off one of the lovelier courtyards in Porta Romana, Wilson moved throughout Milan, training her camera on random colors and textures and revealing the beauty in everything from a colorfully worn pile of flip-flops to the checkered shirt of a well-known design director. We asked Wilson to comment on her findings and to reveal the connections she’d found with her own work in the slideshow at right. To see Milan through Sight Unseen’s eyes, click here to view our pictures and become a fan of Sight Unseen on Facebook.


"This rug was on show at the fantastic Rossana Orlandi shop. Again it has the contrasting textures, and the landscape feel. The texture is exactly like a patch of grass sprinkled with flowers."


"Anything referencing pom-poms is a winner for me. I was obsessed with them at college. These stools are made in the same way and I love the stripes of contrasting yarn they have used. Very yummy."


"I saw these popping up in various places in Milan, but these were photographed at Superstudio, on a mirror. The mirror shows the different colours inside and on the exterior, and how wonderfully delicate they are. Made from paper, each of these can be stretched and molded into any form you want."


"A landscape of worn-out rugs, these remind me of luscious green fields. I always look out the window when I fly home to Scotland, and the fields look like this below. I like the lived-in feel of these."


"Millions of folded triangles of different colored fabrics look a bit like a very neat patchwork quilt. I love the texture on all these pieces."


"This rug reminds me of Van Gogh's Starry Night. It's made by 'couching' thick yarn down to a base, which is a technique a bit like drawing with yarn. It's beautiful."


"More of the couching technique, but this time over a three-dimensional object, I think it was a giant vest. It's a technique that's used in fashion, but it's beautifully textural."


"This object was hung on the wall at Li Edelkoort's 'Talking Textiles' show. I love the simplicity of it, and the tiny bit of luminous yarn. I think it could be developed into some beautiful jewelry."


"Discarded flip-flops in beautiful washed-out, weathered colors. They were being recycled and made into products by a designer from Rotterdam named Diederik Schneeman, but I liked them just lying on the concrete!"


"I love the subtle tones of grey in this cut-felt rug — it kind of reminded me of a cartoon owl's feathers. I'd like one of these!


"I'm really into tools at the moment, and these Fred Flintstone type tools by Matylda Krzykowski caught my eye. I love the way they are so naive and the way they are placed as if in a museum display case. It makes you look at them as a whole, all of the shapes interacting with each other."


"A beautiful folded cotton mat by designer Dana Elsterova found at Prague's Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design show in Ventura Lambrate. It looks like it bares the scars of the opening party from the night before, although I think it's quite beautiful with the dust and the color coming through the untouched folds."


"Taken at Designersblock, also in Lambrate, this is quite a striking image. I'm not too sure what the purpose of the cut-out eyes were, but it made for a good photo of Sheridan from SCP!"


"This was also taken at the Designersblock show, part of an exhibit of handicrafts from Portugal. I love these sorts of weavings — I think they are sometimes called God's eyes — and this wrapped tire reminded me of making them when I was at school. It's also such a mad combination with the printed plastic background."


"Photographed at Designersblock, this is a piece made from foam. The paint on the foam creates a unique cracked surface, and love the simplicity and the two tones of color."