Donna Wilson: Escape to the Woods (4 stars)

Donna Wilson: Escape to the Woods


The line between art and crafts is too often blurred – mostly by aspirational types who mistake the satisfaction of making something by hand for a personal statement that can then be transferred to the viewer. Yet, in some cases, there’s no line at all – as in the work of London-based Scots textile designer Donna Wilson, for instance.

Essentially, Wilson makes dolls and purposely sickly-hued furniture. These inhabit their own strange world of cartoonish archetypes, a Where the Wild Things Are fairytale forest where tall, slim pines and twisting bare trunks form a kind of entrance archway; where spotted palm trees with red-gloved fronds and puffy blue clouds hang still. These are all made of fabric – hand-made, in fact, in Wilson’s London studio – as are the creatures, which dangle amid the clothes-line canopy of leaves: cute, odd little bug-eyed woodland animals with elongated tales and robber-mask stripes across their eyes.

There’s Canibdoll, who, as his nametag tells us, eats other Canibdolls and is ‘always hungry’. Rudie Raccoon loves ‘rummaging through peoples (sic) private possessions’ and Albert (a cross between a dog and a woolly mitten) likes ‘chicken chowmein’ and dislikes ‘getting up too early’. There’s a storybook series somewhere in this wonderful, weird world of Wilson’s, and we can surely forgive being directed downstairs to get purchasing our own pieces from her collection afterwards. After all, Canibdoll’s gotta eat.

Lighthouse, Glasgow, until Sun 1 Mar

Donna Wilson: Escape to the Woods

The first major solo show by leading Scottish designer, Donna Wilson. The specially created exhibition has transformed the gallery into a whimsical world featuring a selection of the knitted creatures she created for Steve J and Yoni P show during London Fashion Week 2008, along with her exciting new SCP furniture range.

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