Life & Style

Publisher Textiles & Paper

Hand printed textiles, wallpaper, clothing & furnishings visit the Olive Tree Market

Working out of their Leichhardt studio, Mark Cawood and partner Stephanie Isaac-Newtown of Publisher Textiles & Papers, have well and truly said up yours to the mass-produced way of doing things.

The duo, who between them have decades of experience in the textiles industry, have worked with some of the best in the biz including Billabong and The Florence Broadhurst Collection.

Starting out in humble beginnings, that being a 10m table, some T-shirt rigs and an oven, Mark & Stephanie have built what is today one of the few hand-made printing textiles studios in Australia. Passionate about working with Australians, rather than heading offshore, their products speak for themselves.

If you’ve not come across Publisher Textiles & Papers before, be sure to get along to the Olive Tree markets on Saturday 8th July where they’ll be setting up with some of their stunning work.

We dropped in on Mark and Steph to check out where all the printing magic happens.

Hi Mark & Stephanie, thanks for letting us have a little studio snoop, Publisher Textiles & Paper is an incredible story, how have you managed to stay creative over the last 15 years or so.

I think it has to do with the instant buzz you get when you make stuff yourself. We have set up the factory so almost everything can be done right here.

You’re extremely passionate about keeping every aspect of your business hand-made and local, how hard has this been to do over the years.

I love the physical aspects of hand printing. It gives you great satisfaction to know that your hands have been all over what you've made. Keeping it local is selfish I love to have a beer and a rant with all the suppliers we use. I need to know where it comes from as best I can. Helping me understand the tools of my trade.

Our industry has shrunk so much over the 25 years I've been printing. Making it hard for any one who wants to get into screen printing from finding materials and the prices you pay.

Have you ever been tempted to change the way in which the business operates? Or was it never an option for you.

I think it changes all the time but one thing stays the same we are hands on. We commission print make fashion women's / men's , homewares to artworks. As one area shrinks, we can move focus to one that's growing.

Opening Publisher Textiles in 2002, what would you say have been your biggest challenges?

The challenge is getting a creative mind to focus on the duties of business -cash flow, rent, wages, regulations, the list is long. Creating is the easy part!

For all the budding creatives out there, do you think it’s possible to open a business, like Publisher Textiles & Paper, in today’s environment and be successful?

Is your glass half full or half empty. Starting your own business is a soul-searching decision, we chose to give it a go and see what happens. Do your homework, prepare for long hours and to live with a  healthy dose of unpredictability.

Your prints vary considerably, from the bold Harlequin to the more subtle Bugsey, would you say you are guided by your audience or do you simply create what you love.

I'm under no pressure to create artwork there are big gaps between designs. We make what appeals to us at this time never been to good authorities. 

Your design style is a mixture of both traditional and modern day, is there one designer, or era, that has had more influence than any other.

William Morris and Escher are my first true loves but it is not monogamous. Still looking for my style the problem is there are so many beautiful ways to create. 

What is it that you love most about your job?

I get to make stuff up, literally!

You’re setting up at the Olive Tree Markets on 1st July, you’ve been a regular there for some time, Newcastle must be good to you?

I wish I was a Novocastrian, there is something special up here and it is still a topic every time we drive back to the rat race.

Publisher Textiles & Paper