Ailsa Wilson’s maritime designs

PUBLISHED: 15:34 07 June 2016


Ailsa Wilson creates beautiful maritime designs in a former beach hut, says Carol Burns

Like many people lucky enough to make the move to Dorset - Ailsa Wilson has used that life change to follow a more creative path than her previous career in the brand and communication design industry. Ailsa moved to Poole for her husband’s job at the RNLI and then they started a family - at this point she decided to rekindle a long held dream to return to her first love; colour, pattern and textile printing - and so Tiny Bird Textiles was born.

“With a long held vision and passion to start my own textile design business, I seized my opportunity,” she tells me. “I acquired a retired 1950s beach hut. I converted it into a studio (it broke my heart but I had to take the bar out). I built a print table and, with sketchbook in one hand and business plan in the other, I started the work of breathing life into Tiny Bird Textiles.”

Ailsa says she love retro, vintage, quirky, midcentury modern and Scandinavian style, but her real inspiration comes from the natural world and the patterns it creates. “I love finding inspiration in unexpected places. Turning an easily overlooked detail of ordinary daily life into a beautiful pattern. There has to be a quality about them that does more than just catch my eye; intriguing, textural, mysterious, colourful, hinting at a story beneath.”

All of Ailsa’s designs are original and naturally inspired; the elements distilled to create strong, bold and simple lines. Some, she admits, have originated from doodles during meetings with accountants, while others come from trees, leaves, vegetables and small children with hole-punches and scissors. They are all joyously colourful, vibrant and graphic and demonstrate that embracing colour (even just a little) can be life enhancing.

“The Stripes & Sails design was inspired by an afternoon spent watching yachts and dinghies fly around in Poole harbour on a very windy day,” she recalls. “The water was packed and it was almost impossible to keep track of all the sails and boats zig-zagging and tacking around the harbour without collision.”

Find more of her designs at

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