20Q: Wendren from Wren Design

Making your life simpler, more organised and just more wonderful. That is what Wendren Milfrod of Wren wants her designs to do.
Posted 30 Sep 10 By Design Indaba Product Design Interviews / Q&A Comments
Wendren Milford of Wren Design.
Wendren Milford of Wren Design.

Wendren Milford started Wren Design in March 2008 when she couldn’t find a handbag that she liked. “I wanted something with a story, something beautiful, something not mass-produced and something practical and simple,” she says.  Wren designs and makes unique South African handmade products, inspired by nature and with sustainability as a key objective. When she’s not making oh-so-gorgeous designs, Wendren teaches a Design Foundation Course at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She enjoys this a lot and believes that some of the best ideas stem from sharing creative energy with others.

1. What's your most treasured possession? My Morris chair that my grandfather built.

2. What's your favourite book? Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay.

3. What inspires your work? Opportunity.

4. Do you recycle? I do my very best to always recycle or reuse but it is not something that is easily done in South Africa so by international standards, I cannot make that claim.

5. If not design, what would you do? Be bored. But if I could remember more plant names I'd be a landscaper or if I could live without water, I’d be a wildlife game-ranger.

6. What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world? The way business works.

7. What do you do on Sundays? The things left over on my week's to-do list, and I try and spend as much of the rest of the day outdoors.

8. Are you passionate about South Africa? Definitely. I wouldn't choose to live or work anywhere else in the world. There is so much opportunity, possibility and inspiration.

9. What does creativity mean to you? The ability to make imagination real.

10. What's the best piece of design you've seen recently? The great thing about design in the 21st century is that with the internet I discover great pieces of design everyday so I cannot pin-point one.

11. What's your favourite place in the world? The bush.

12. To what faults do you feel the most indulgent? Questioning myself with every decision and then choosing another answer. It's a never-ending cycle: doubting, asking and seeking.

13. What question do you ask yourself the most? "Am I doing the right thing?" and "Is this going to work?"

14. What items would you put in a time capsule? A video of myself today because I would be able to reflect on how silly and insignificant the things I worry (or worried) about really are.

15. What would you like to have written in your obituary? That I inspired others.

16. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? Maybe not insanity but certainly lunacy.

17. What makes you laugh out loud? Small things in life: My cat finding the catnip plant, Jeremy laughing…

18. What's your golden design rule? Don't believe that can't be done, experiment and have fun.

19. What's the most adventurous thing you've ever done?

The funnest adventure: Falling in love.

The hardest adventure: Completing the PE-EL Surf-ski Challenge.

The bravest adventure: Quitting my job and starting Wren.

20. Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.


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