Wandering Folk
We speak to Sharnee Thorpe, the founder of Wandering Folk, a sustainable homewares brand. Her pretty picnic rugs were first imagined on a rainy camping trip when she had nothing to keep her toosh off damp ground.

What makes you feel the most wild and alive?  

When I’m camping out in nature, with no phone reception, the ocean or a waterfall to bath in and nothing to do but read a book and eat yummy cheese. 

When, why and how did Wandering Folk first come into conception? 

It all started when I was freelancing as a textile designer from my tiny apartment in Sydney in 2014. I was always creating prints for other labels and wanted to have a creative project of my own where I could design my own artworks and have the final word. My boyfriend (now husband) Arthur and I would always escape Sydney with friends to go camping down the coast or explore in the mountains. On one of these camping trips it was raining and muddy and we didn’t have anything nice to sit on. I guess that’s when the picnic rug idea was born. I wanted to create a rug that was very durable but also looked beautiful and was practical. I didn’t launch the first picnic rug until September, 2015, as it was quite the process to produce.

Where do you find inspiration for your stunning designs and colour palette? 

I love looking back at artists, architecture and design from eras gone by. William Morris’s incredible block prints are always on my mood boards. I’m always taking photos of native plants and flowers on bushwalks, flicking through design books I’ve collected over the years and on Pinterest, of course. I’m obsessed with the ‘70s for my colour palettes, but I try to branch out and keep things interesting as not everyone loves mustard as much as me!

Wandering Folk
Wandering Folk

Please share with us your artistic practice.

I like to start with a mood board of images filled with the style of print I want to create. I then start sketching out the design elements for the artwork. I do most of the colouring on the computer in photoshop, so I trace over my pencil lines in black pen and scan it into photoshop. I then add the colour and place all the elements together to create the final artwork. I really love hand painting but I’m yet to design a print for my picnic rugs that is actually hand painted … maybe the next one! 

What would be your dream collaboration?  

It would be pretty awesome to have a Wandering Folk bell tent! 

What’s next for you personally, and for Wandering Folk? 

I’m still trying to adjust to my new normal as I have a 10-month-old daughter, Velvet Ray, who keeps me very busy. I’m excited to take Velvet on her first camping trip. The Wandering Folk team has been working hard on designing some new products that we are hoping to release later on this year and we also have some really exciting collaborations that will launch just in time for summer.

For more, visit wanderingfolk.com and @wanderingfolk on Instagram.