tea design: a storm in a tea cup with rachel wilson in oxford, england

rachel wilson

I love tea, I love the leaves and water, but to me tea culture is more than just the leaf, it’s about the artisan teapots and teacups, about the teahouses and the ritual of preparing tea.  In light of that, welcome to another interview in this tea design interview series.

This interview is with Rachel Wilson of HelloWilson, she is a designer based in Oxford, England and created the uber-cute ‘Storm in a Teacup’ tea towel.



Tell me a little about what you design and make – what got you into tea, and into designing teaware.

I’m a graphic designer who indulges in some illustration. I find drawing illustrations using just a pen and paper a really relaxing break from computer based work. As most designers and illustrators seem to be I am completely reliant on tea to get me through the day, that and a nice chocolate biscuit. I was asked to design a tea towel for the fantastic designer tea towel boutique To Dry For.

I think the tea towels they sell are a brilliant way of getting the work of artists and designers into people’s homes in an affordable way.

'storm in a teacup' tea towel by hellowilson

'storm in a teacup' tea towel by hellowilson

What is your inspiration when designing, are there other designers or external sources that you draw upon.

Although I love to discover new artists and illustrators through sites such as Society6 and on twitter I try not to focus too hard on other people’s work, it can be too intimidating! Instead I get ideas from more unexpected places. A lot of my work is inspired by the sea and sea creatures.

Tell me where in the world you are, what do you love about the place you live and what’s the story behind the journey.

I live in Oxford, UK, although I’ve just returned here from a year in Rome, Italy. I loved Rome but it was all coffee and no tea! I’ve lived in Oxford for a total of 8 years so I feel at home here,  it’s where I met my fiancee and went to University. I think there are exciting things happening in Oxford outside of the University. New shops and restaurants are opening and there seem to be increasing numbers of people doing interesting, creative things. It’s long overdue.

What does tea mean to you.

I’m a Yorkshire girl and so tea to me is tea. Not fruit, herbal, green. Just plain breakfast tea with milk. It is the most comforting drink in the entire world. Putting on the kettle is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. Tea means being at home, being comfortable and relaxed.

What’s your favorite tea related memory or location and why is it special to you.

I can remember the first time I fell in love with drinking tea. I had been playing out in the snow with a friend of mine and we were freezing. When we went inside her mum gave us tea with milk and sugar to warm us up. It tasted fantastic. I don’t think there’s anything better than coming inside from cold weather and curling up with a cup of tea.

Can you tell me about your favorite tea-shop and what makes it totally wonderful.


One of my favourite places in the world. It’s a Yorkshire institution that has a few branches in the county. Its tearooms are art deco and feel completely decadent. It has a fascinating history and along side the traditional afternoon teas and china cups they serve Swiss food. It’s the perfect combination on a cold Yorkshire day. I can’t go North to visit my family without a trip to Betty’s Tearooms.

Where can people find your designs or get in touch with you.

You can view my work at www.hellowilson.co.uk or at my Etsy store and I’m on Twitter as @hellowilson.


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