Everywhere Ailsa Wilson goes, she finds inspiration.

“I call it my ‘obsessive creative disorder’, laughs the mum-of-two, who runs her own textile design business.

“I’ll be walking down the street with the kids and I’ll stop and take photos of things. Everywhere I look is a pattern.”

Despite a background in design - she did an art foundation course, followed by a design and history of design degree in Manchester – Ailsa admits she initially got blown off course and ended up working in a role where she was watching everyone else do the design work.

When her son started school, she was determined to nurture her own creative needs, but was offered a job at a friend’s web design business, and so the project was side-lined again.
It wasn’t until July last year that Ailsa, 44, made a concerted effort to get her ideas off the ground, and so Tiny Bird Textiles was born.

She has since spent her time creating bright, colourful fabrics featuring leaves and trees which she has turned into cushions, table runners and other soft furnishings.

“I think there’s a gap in the market for something quite bright, quite graphic,” she explains.
“It’s influenced by Scandi design, but there’s not much at mid-price level. If you want to spend £150 on a cushion, that’s fine, but most people don’t.”

Ailsa has turned an ex-beach hut in her Poole back garden into her very own creative hub, and, after taking the children to school, spends most days holed up with the radio, Twitter and her cat, producing patterns for her materials.

“I went through college before computers,” she says, “I have a sketchbook so it starts on the page, which I really love. So all my design is done on paper with felt tip pens or wax crayons, whatever I have to hand.

“Then I literally get paper, cut it out and tape it together. Then I scan it and re-draw it and fiddle with it. Then you’ve got the digital design, so you can do anything with it. The last stage is to get it on computer and digitalise it.”

Once Ailsa is happy with her final design, and she’s chosen the material, it all gets sent off to a printer in Macclesfield. Three weeks later, comes the nerve-wracking moment when a huge roll of material arrives.

As everything is done digitally, Ailsa can make up just one or two of each item, so can offer a bespoke service when it comes to a client’s chosen colour palette or design, a service she has extended by working with luxury furniture showroom Living Elegance in Poole, where her cushions are currently on display.

She is currently focusing on a limited range of soft furnishings, in a range of different cloths, and is aiming to expand the patterns she prints, with ideas for a seaside range, and one based on “Poole Harbour on a Sunday in chaos”.

“Having spent years and years watching other people do the dirty work, I just love it, I really do.”

Find Tiny Bird on Facebook at facebook.com/tinybirdtextiles, or Twitter @tinybirdtextile. Ailsa can be reached by emailing tinybirdtextiles@gmail.com or calling 07854 221879.