As my design inspirations are so often drawn from my natural surroundings, I am often asked to explain the inspiration behind our camel range, as these beautiful animals are nowhere to be seen in the Wiltshire countryside! For over ten years now, I have increasingly been dividing my time between England and India and been have been heavily influenced by the rich colours and design motifs I have encountered on my travels.
The idea of first using a camel motif came after seeing a mural on the walls of a staircase in a palace in Rajasthan. Camels have been an iconic part of the landscape for centuries, but camel herds are disappearing fast, due to economic pressures and reduced grazing opportunities. Camel herding requires expertise, investment and a great deal of hard work but sadly the camels of Rajasthan cannot survive unsupported by their guardians.
Perhaps this revelation of their precarious position gave me an extra impetus to include them in my collection.
I don’t know who first coined the phrase ‘a camel is a horse designed by a committee’ but it was a constant companion in the early days of exploring the shape itself. There is something proud and playful about the anatomy of a camel: the long legs, the lumpen torso, the haughty, aloof stance. Once I was happy with the outline, I trialled it as an appliqué cushion and, when this sold well, I went on to feature it on fabric. It was surprising to see how well it worked as a repeat. The wallpaper is called Pushkar, as a little reminder of the Pushkar camel fair, the largest of its kind in the world, held annually in Rajasthan.
The wallpaper works well in cloakrooms and studies or unusual-shaped spaces. It requires a little courage to put it up but once there, you won’t regret it. Whenever I see it, it serves as a reminder that cultural traditions are being threatened by modernisation, not just here in England but all over the world.