Founder & Artist
Interview with Petra
Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what made you start the business?
Hi, I am Petronella Hall, married at 19 to my soul mate, we have 2 children both now at uni. I had careers in fashion both design and retail until I had my family. Once they were at school I was fortunate to begin an illustration degree at UCA in Maidstone - I loved it, planning to write and illustrate children’s book.
While there I fell in love with printing and printed my bedroom curtain fabric in my lunch break. I graduated and went to work for a graphic design agency - everything was done on a computer - it just wasn’t me, I missed the mess the physical mark making where accidents can turn into interesting designs and I yearned for the tactile feel of the fabrics. A friend saw my curtain fabric and suggested I design interior fabrics - and so it began.
I met with Stephen Lewis of Lewis and Wood and he said to put it on wallpaper - so we did! The best bit of advice I was given.
I still draw or paint my designs by hand, scanning them in to digitalise them. I have the attention span of gnat which means I love to try new things and experiment. I have play days to experiment, one day I made a giant rabbit in sticks in a local field, another time we poured water and iron filings on fabrics and left them in the garden for a couple of weeks just to see what effects we would get.
It’s really important for me to have this time as the pressure of the business can squash my creativity. I now also design for one of the big four commercial wallpaper companies creating their digital designs. I feel so fortunate - to be doing my dream job - I’d encourage anyone to never give up on a dream.
What inspires your work?
Observation - I’m not a great listener, but I look, inspiration is all around me, most often outside, even in a traffic queue I noticed the landscape colours fragmented as I looked through metal pylons as I drove past. Colour - I love colour, the tertiary colours, hues, blue that’s nearly mauve or
Brown that’s been bleached almost white by the sun, weathered colours have a beautiful softness they're so hard to recreate.
What is the most important thing for you in your business?
If you get stuck for colour combinations or it’s just not working for you, go back to nature - she never gets it wrong.