Close Up Interview with Textile Deesigner Philippa Wilkinson

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

My main passion is art and design. Looking at space, shapes making patterns and manipulating them. Drawing and seeing where it takes me.

One side to my working life is my business ‘PipWilly’. Here I design and make textile products. This is the freer more conceptual and less restricted part of my designing life.

I am also a commercial fashion print textile designer. Doing large and small floral, geometric, tribal, skins, lace and any other design that you care to imagine. Repeating patterns mainly for womens fashion. I have a few different accounts in mainstream fashion. This kind of design can also can be used for homeware companys, rugs/carpets,sheets and bedding and a the like.

PipWilly Copyright

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love?

I love seeing a beautiful performance or movie full of costumes and music. Art Galleries are very inspiring and take you out of the every day. Going away on holiday and seeing different cultures or sitting in the bush inspire me if you have time to take in the small goings on. I love getting out there and walking. Being outside. Being in my studio in the bush printing.

When you design/paint where do you get your inspiration from?

It could be a leaf or shadow. I’m always looking for ideas or I should say ideas always find me. The new fascination takes over and its out the with the old.

Pip Willy Copyright

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Tranquil, strong willed, quietly confident

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then

It would have been working at Grace Bros as a shop assistant. I was always interested in the displays though. Then Secondary Art Teacher. Commercial Designer.

Describe a typical day in your studio space?

Cleaning up. Flicking through books and cuttings. Finding ideas going off on tangents.

If I am doing a big repeat I will draw it up on the light box. Make sure it flows and repeats. Has rhythm and interest. Then I might paint it. It might take a day or two. I might leave it and another day be working on the computer. Its important to potter at times and focus to get the job done at others.

 Pip Willy’s studio space
Pip Willy Copyright

As a designer what is your biggest frustration?

Working furiously on a drawing or something for too long and forgetting to eat or do anything else. Having things that inspire you and not being able to bounce the idea off others.

Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.

I have lead times. I need to be working on a design that I will put on the screen in a months time. Another job is printing or ironing some prints and packing them for the maker. Another job is or sewing things. There’s always something to do from labelling to paying bills. You have to be organised.

 Pip Willy’s studio
 Pip Willy Copyright

Can you tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

Through shops where I have my work, tradeshows, markets,workshops,The design Institute, Galleries.

Pip Willy Copyright 

So can you tell us the Inter Woven exhibition and how it came about?

As the Design Institute of Australia’s NSW textile Councillor I wondered what to offer to the members. My members all seemed to have these amazing collections of art and craft that weren’t being seen so I put the first exhibition together remarkably easily.

There are so many artist makers in Sydney. People making  and creating garments making patterns experimenting with materials that are new and inspiring. So much is going on and collaboration creates a  strength.

How long have you been organising this event?

This is the second year.

 The Interwoven Exhibition 2009 at Gaffa Gallery, Sydney

Pip Willy Copyright

When and where is the next Interwoven exhibition?

Gaffa Gallery

281 Clarence St Sydney

Opening night 17th

Open until -30th June


MON-FRI 10-6   SAT 11-5

How do you select the artists who participate in the Inter Woven exhibition?

I hear about artists for the exhibition through the student body of the Design Institute , through colleagues, approach people, through my fabric or screen printing suppliers or I see their work at galleries or at markets and would love to have them exhibit.

Who are the artists and designers that will be in the next Interwoven exhibition?

Philippa Wilkinson-‘Pip Willy’ For this exhibition I am exhibiting felt made in Nepal  as well as silk and cotton printed from from Nepal. Also Hemp upholstery fabric , a chair and international themed hemp cushions and bags.

Daisy Prowse– a recent graduate from UTS who has an amazing collection of colourfully and geometrically digitally printed silks.

Kasia Jacquot– Laikonik  Polish Folk art inspired wallhangings and soft childrens books on hemp using waterbased dyes.

Jessica Robertson-Slow Palette another recent graduate from UTS who has used different techniques with felt and organic dyes and wool to make catwalk couture.

Steve Woods-‘PopHaus’ My screenprinter  also has a brand of his own. He is technically so advanced with his photosilkscreen techniques creating sophisticated images for your wall. Pophaus is a great name.

Karen Davidson  ‘KTribe’ cinnabar and silver jewellery inspired from trips overseas. K Tribe is such a great name too.

Angela Nash-‘Ampersander’ A very talented designer who continues to be inspired to push the boundaries with her own fashion. She incorporates fabrics from different cultures. This time they are from Laos.

Beattie Lanser ‘WearBeattie’ A fabulous designer who if you look closely has decorated and designed every inch of the sweet, quirky and original designs for both men and women.

Tanya Coelho-‘Zefyr Jwellery’ This jewellery is amazing because a lot of it is melted down brass taps and old plumbing supplies. Truly recycled.

Seeger Gallery-‘Artist Sophie Seeger’ has a collection from artists that she works with. A full range of modern fabrics for the home.

Denise & Sandra Marle-‘Retro Rascals’ Design and make Eco babies wear with care and attention put into every detail. Cute and healthy.
Plus we have Pemaset and the Hemp Gallery as sponsors.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their own passions?

You have to follow your heart. Design design or paint and paint whatever you want to do get it out there for the world to see! Solve creative puzzles and beat challenges that you have set yourself. Only you know if you are truly exploring your passion.

What is your proudest moment as a creative business owner so far?

Its very exciting to have things published alongside other designers in magazines.

Who do you most want to meet and why?

I might be intimidated if they were too famous. I was thinking today that we might be missing out on the next Leonardo because of computers.

What is the most important lesson that you have learned in your life?

To keep moving ahead in some way no matter what life throws at you. Try to do this by connecting with other people.The other story is that doing your own art can be a comfort through all of this.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book that \you would like to recommend?

I’m reading

the Elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Well cliché of all cliches. The girl with the Dragon tattoo was good.

I also open to pages of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle for inspiration.

Where do we find you and your artworks & Products?


PipWilly offers these products & services

  • – Textile design, range development & graphics
  • – Eco fabric by the metre
  • – Curtains — made to measure
  • – Homewares
  • – Fashion products/accessories

View our furnishing FABRIC range at:

Emily Ziz Style Studio
38B Gurner Street
NSW, 2021
s: 02 09380 4180
M 0433 881 414


Contact Philippa to discuss we will be in contact with you shortly. Thank you.


View our FASHION range at:

Sturt Gallery
Cnr Range & Waverly Rd
NSW 2575 
T: (02) 4860 2083


Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.


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