BeFab Be Creative, Meet the Maker, Uncategorized

Meet the Maker -Holly Picthall of Wilful North

What is your greatest achievement so far, and what are you particularly proud?

I graduated in 2014 and I think one of my greatest achievements was achieving a 1st in my degree because I worked my butt off! After that getting on was a big thing for me and I’m super proud to call myself a NOTHS partner, especially since it took me so long to actually apply!


How would you describe your work?

I would describe my work as bit quirky, a lot of my favourite pieces are inspired by weird British folk traditions and folklore in general. I love layering my work up so they’re really digitally printed, mixed media pieces using everything from natural dyed fabrics, scanned in and manipulated to watercolours, pen, collage – it often takes me a long time to decide on something I’m happy with and often looks completely different to I originally imagined.


Describe your work space?

Messy! My work space is a little desk in my room… which I’ve tidied up considerably for the purpose of taking the pictures here. This is where I do most of my designing but it’s not my only workspace, there’s also my trusty sewing machine which I had for what feels like an age… and where ever I am to roll hems.

When do you work best, are you up with the lark or a night owl?

I normally work best in the morning, it’s when I find my head is clearest, I have the most ideas and motivation early in the morning.

How do you overcome designers block?

Aah! Something I’m struggling with at the moment! I normally turn to pinterest, watch lots of documentaries and failing that I do nothing. I often find that when I’ve got lots of ideas and plans it’s best to give myself some space to re-evaluate and make lots of lists.

Where did your love for design originally develop from, what or who, have been your influences?

I’ve always been interested in art and in drawing and designing. When I was little my dad used to do these coloured sketches of the Lake District and I was always so amazed at how he could draw the landscape so accurately. We used to go to a lot of different galleries and lots of trips when I was younger so I think that was a big influence on me




Your home is on fire, what is the one thing you save from the blaze?

I have an old printers drawer on my wall, the drawer its self isn’t particularly special before there’s lots of little bits on it that I’d save – keepsakes of both my Grandmas, polaroids and some tiny mice my dad brought back from Germany when I was a child among other bits I’ve collected.


In terms of procrastination, what are you doing, when you should be doing something else?

If I’m procrastinating I’ll always find some excuse to go to the art or fabric shop, or my favourite place which is a local antiques/bric-a-brac warehouse. I could spend hours and hours in there!

Food & drink: We like our food!

It’s been a long week, what’s in your glass (or mug) on a Friday night.

A nice glass of red if I’m staying in, Aperol Spritz if I’m going out.

You have clients coming round, do you bake or buy in the treats to go with your tea/coffee, what are they and why?

If I was feeling fancy I’d probably make Aussie Crunch… although it’s not all that fancy or posh! It’s basically a chocolate, coconut, cornflake cake and I’m pretty sure it’s (almost) unique to the Bolton area. Whenever I’ve mentioned it to people from other parts of the country, they’ve never heard of it!

Music: What’s on your Studio Play list:

Physical Track:          Sally Cinnamon by The Stone Roses will always get me up and dancing or feeling motivated.

Inheritance Track:      Anything Bob Dylan, both my parents listened to him when I was younger. Although it took me a while to get into his music myself, I now love it and I’ve seen him live twice which I think is an achievement considering his age!

Emotional Track:      Carey by Joni Mitchell because it just makes me happy – this is my holiday song, I always listen to this one on the plane.

Album:                        Graceland by Paul Simon is my favourite album of all time and will never not be.

Advice: A few pearls of wisdom here

What is the best advice, you’ve ever been given, business, creative or both and who gave it to you.

This business is hard but your customer is there and they’ll find you.

My lovely friend Chrissie has given me lots of good advice and support from before I ever started my business and she was the first person to stock my scarves at her millinery studio Hat Therapy, in Hebden Bridge.

I also have to give a little shout out to #folksyhour on twitter where I also find lots of invaluable advice and support from other creatives.

If you were starting out again now, what advice would you give your younger self?

Just start.

We like to hear about new and up and coming designer and artists, can you recommend someone new that we should know about, and why do you like their work?

Trudi Murray isn’t a “new” artist but I absolutely love her work and think everyone should check her out! So much colour and depth in her paintings

North and Fauna is run by the lovely Sarah who was also on my degree course, she does gorgeous illustrations and has recently become a Not on the High Street partner

At the moment I’m also OBSESSED with Unskilled Worker – the best, dreamy illustrations of fashion peoples

What is it that draws you to work with fabric and what benefits to your process does Digital Printing bring?

I love the fluidity of fabric, the way parts of a design are hidden or revealed in the folds. I particularly love the pearlescent quality the silk satin I use for my scarves has, people always comment on the special quality it has.

I find freedom in digital printing, there’s no limit on colour and textures you can create with digital print. It also mean’s my prints are a little kinder to the environment and can be printed to order which is always  a nice bonus



And lastly, whose words inspire you, a quote to live life by?

I have two quotes I live by:

“Don’t wear beige, it might kill you” Sue Kreitzman


“You can find inspiration in everything, and if you can’t, look again” Paul Smith

If you want to find out more about Holly you can find her in all these lovely places too:

Website : Facebook : Twitter : Instagram Pinterest



1 thought on “Meet the Maker -Holly Picthall of Wilful North”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s