Name: Nikki McWilliams
Location: WASPS Meadow Mill Studios; Dundee, Scotland
Size: 200 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; rented
Nikki McWilliams, famed for her fabulous
biscuit-themed soft furnishings, is as sweet as the treats that inspire her
work. After graduating in Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art
and Design in 2008, she started her own design business in 2009, with a thirst
to make functional objects that have a place outside of a gallery setting and
take up residence in people’s homes. Indeed,
each of her pieces is a little work of art – a sculpture, a talking point, a
cheeky statement full of personality. It surely takes a sort of (excellent)
soul to have a large Tunnocks Teacake sitting proudly on their sofa.
The studio is situated in an old jute Mill in Dundee (used to produce
sacking and ropes) that had lain empty since jute became more commonly imported
from India and the trade was lost from the city. The beautiful old building was
leased by WASPS (an organization set up to support the artist community in
Scotland) in 1989, and was reopened as studio space in 2012. Shortly after, having
fallen in love with the big, old windows giving amazing natural light (slightly
less romantic in the long, cold winters) Nikki moved in, promptly gave it a
lick of paint, and rammed it to the rafters with all the things that stimulate
her creativity. Inspired by British
culture, contemporary Pop-Art, and her lifelong love of having a nice cup of
tea and a biscuit, her work cannot fail to cheer you up. She says
herself, “It is so important to be surrounded by objects in your home that
make you smile. My biscuit cushions are a nostalgic, bright and fun tribute to
the little things that make everyday life great!”
Every one of her cushions is proudly crafted by hand from the best
cottons and linens and hand-printed using environmentally friendly inks here in
her little studio in Dundee. Who wouldn’t want to sit upon a squishy Rich Tea
or cosy up next to a stuffed Party Ring? No
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I
like to keep things looking fresh and bright and usually mix whites and greys
with pops of colour. I like to be
surrounded by a mixture of old and new objects- as well as things that I’ve
bought and things that I’ve made. My
studio is a space that I need to be quite organised while allowing myself the
freedom to change things up depending on whatever I’m working on at any time.
Inspiration: When I moved in to the studio I had visions
of it being very coordinated and super neat and tidy all of the time. And it
was…for a little while! I like to collect bits and pieces of things that
inspire me, as well as experiment with how objects look in a space.
Favorite Element: I do like the mezzanine shelf that I have
above my door- it is great storage!
Biggest Challenge: I think that it was creating a space that I
didn’t feel too precious about. My
studio is a work space- which sometimes means things can get messy! When I
moved in, I spent a week painting the floor. I was so proud of it and vowed to
keep it ink-free! The first day I used my space I accidentally covered a large
portion of my pristine new floor in a mist of coloured spray paint. It was ruined- but I was relieved in a way.
It was the studio equivalent of messing up the first page of a new sketch book-
it allowed me to let go and relax in my space!
What Friends Say: Friends who visit my studio love the light
and space. Lots of people have remarked that they wouldn’t mind living there!
I’ve napped on my DIY Couch before and I can confirm that it is super comfy!
Biggest Embarrassment: Probably ruining my floor on my first
day. I still can’t believe I did that!
Proudest DIY: It
has got to by my couch. I looked around for some comfortable seating for the
studio for ages and couldn’t find anything I liked. I spied a similar project on Pinterest and
decided to adapt it to suit my space. A
local business gifted me some pallets that were in good order and I had an
upholsterer cut me some foam to fit. I
found some beautiful grey Italian wool/linen that we used to make the covers-
et voila! My next project is the chocolate Parker Knoll armchair that I got for
free from an office clearance.
Biggest Indulgence: My plumen lightbulb. I’d wanted one for
ages so I was pretty glad that I had a dark spot in the studio that needed to
be illuminated! Also- the fabric I chose for my couch had been on my wishlist
for a while- I was pleased that I was able to use such a beautiful cloth in a
Best Advice: Move
things around- I like to play with how things work in a space.
Dream Sources: Eames
back catalogue. In a dream scenario I wouldn’t end up with blobs of ink all
over it also!
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Floor- Leyland: Floor Paint in Nimbus Grey
- Walls & Mezzanine – Leyland: Brilliant White Matt
- Spots on Door – hand cut Avery Vinyl in mint
- Work Bench – Ikea Vika Amon x3
- Stools – IKEA Marius in Turquoise
- Desk Chairs – Vintage, upcycled
- Couch – DIY found pallets, custom foam and Italian Wool/Linen
- Arm Chair – Parker Knoll (free from office clearance)
- Tea Table – half pallet, found, free.
- Print Trolley – IKEA Raskog in Turquoise
ORGANISING TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES
- Wall Shelves – IKEA Ekby
- Free Standing Shelves – IKEA Laiva
- Wall Storage – IKEA Bygel Rail & Cups
- Filing Cabinet – IKEA Helmer
- Red Wire Paper Storage – Thrifted
- Wire Storage Baskets – Thrifted £5
Picture Wall – collected ephemera & prints
Desk Lamp – IKEA (discontinued)
Rug – IKEA PS
Cushions – mine!
Tea Tray – IKEACustard Cream Biscuit Tin – M&S
Sandwich Board – DIY, £3
Print on Wall – Frightened Rabbit Highlands Tour Screen Print by Two Ducks Disco
(Images: Lizzie Ford )
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