Interview with Birdie: Creating Wanderings

September 16, 2021

Interview with Birdie:
Creating Wanderings 

 Birdie Fortescue - The Wanderings Collection


Q What was the inspiration behind the new collection? 
BF For the first time I’ve taken inspiration from lots of different sources. This collection takes ideas from Eastern European folk art, Arts & Crafts textiles, English cottage interiors and a whole host of different countries
Q Has designing this collection been a different experience due to the pandemic?
BF Absolutely. Ordinarily my travels form the basis of each collection so there’s usually a strong connection to one geographic location. This is why globetrotting from my desk at home has been such a departure for me! But a good one I think - this is definitely a strong collection
Q We can probably guess but where did the name of the collection come from? 
BF I’m sure you can! Wanderings relates to the fact that inspiration has come from all over the globe in a very meandering, organic way. It’s also quite ironic as no actual wandering took place at all!
Q Tell us about the look 
BF Wanderings is made up of lots of different layers of block prints, embroideries and textures. The idea is that it looks authentic and eclectic however you style it. There basically isn’t a wrong way to put the pieces together! This is something that our customers really appreciate as it makes it so effortless to choose pieces and add them to a room 
Wanderings Living Wanderings Bedroom 
Q Do you have a favourite print? 
BF I love our Ilex print - it has turned into such an elegant and contemporary interpretation of an Arts and Crafts design. It also works so well on cushions and table linens so is incredibly versatile
Q How did the design process work? 
BF As we were in the grips of the pandemic at the time I started all of the inspiration work at home. Once I’d collated my key ideas and influences I sent them on to my design team. We then took to Zoom to start working on key motifs within the seasonal colour palettes (these are decided months in advance).
All of the designs are sketched out by hand before being drawn up on the computer. It’s these final drawings that are then sent on to our wonderful makers in India. 
 Q Is there anything completely new in this collection? 
BF Yes! Our fabulous new furniture range. This is the very first time that we have produced our own collection of furniture and it has been incredibly well received so far which is so gratifying. I based all of the pieces (chairs, side tables, hall tables and coffee tables) on one of my favourite mid-century antiques. It was a very stylish table with the most elegant tapered legs that I wish I hadn’t sold! I used the basic form and structure of this piece as the basis for the collection. Unlike the original all of our pieces are painted in rich colours to give them a contemporary edge.
Sustainability was key to the purpose of this range. All of the tables are handmade by skilled furniture makers right here in Norfolk so no air miles to speak of! Their workshop is right next to the river Wensum - hence the name of the collection!
Q If you could choose one hero piece what would it be? 
BF Such a hard question! It would probably have to be one of the pieces of furniture - I’m particularly pleased with the bedside tables. 

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