Beautiful handprinted wallpaper by Publisher Textiles. Top – ‘Laced’ in ink-blue on white.  Bottom – Persian Vine (how diVINE! And I mean it!), colour black on white.

More handprinted wallpaper goodness. Top – Ruby Rabbit. Bottom left – Archnid. Bottom left – Hibernian House, one of the latest designs in the collection.

Lovely cushions made and sold by Publisher Textiles. Top –  Romance is Dead. Bottom – “Tapacidary”denim cushion collection.  All printed by hand with natural fabrics, designed to be machine washed too. Ripper! More info here.

Can I just say how excited I am about today’s interview? Too, too excited! Please welcome to yellowtrace Mr Mark Cawood, owner and founder of Publisher Textiles which (sadly) remains one of the very few hand-screenprinting studios in Australia. Mark started the company with his former partner Rhynie nearly 10 years ago, where they worked together until last year before going their separate ways. Publisher Textiles started out by printing fabrics which were turned into clothing that was sold at Bondi and Paddington Markets. These humble beginnings funded their existence and the company grew from there.

Since then, Publisher’s repertoire has expanded to include not just fabrics, but also wallpapers and homewares, and everything continues to be created by hand. Mark is passionate about the dying art of handmade, and believes this is an important ingredient which is lacking in the world today. He also loves experimenting with colours, inks and additives which led to study of science behind ink and colour production. His environmental consciousness also lead him to develop a new environmentally friendly water based ink that produces a beautiful depth of colour.

In partnership with Rhynie, Mark has created wallpapers for many of Sydney’s homes, restaurants and bars, with a string of collaborations with local fashion houses on custom fabric commissions. Interior designers – take note. Their wallpapers can be done in custom colours, and they can also create custom designs for your projects. Publisher Textiles’ Leichhardt warehouse also houses a shop which sells many of their designs in a range of homewares.

Thank you Mark, for being a part of yellowtrace – for your countless candid comments, sharing your past mistakes, and passing on great advice for anyone who ever wanted to start their own creative business. Onwards and upwards – and I’m sure that lick-able wallpaper is just around the corner!

x dana

Mark Cawood himself.

Hello Mark, welcome to yellowtrace and thank you for taking the time to e-chat. Could you please give us a quick introduction on yourselves and Publisher Textiles?

Publisher Textiles was founded in 2002 with my partner – since then we parted company and I have continued to carry on under the company’s name. Since I was a teenager I fell into hand screen-printing with Signature Prints back when I was 19. From there I set up my own backyard business out of my mother’s garage, hand screen-printing t-shirts and selling them at the local markets. Later I went onto Billabong before they moved off shore. Then back to Signature Prints as the “Florence Broadhurst” Collection was starting to kick off. Later, creative differences only meant one way to go and that was to go solo – Publisher Textiles was born.

These types of job experiences also led to my belief that hand screen-printing was an intricate art form and it later became my passion to keep this type of art form alive. Nowadays, it is noticeable that hand screen-printing is slowly dying out as digital printing takes over. This is one of the main reasons why Publisher Textiles is what it is, and why I am here, doing what I do.

View of Publisher Textile lofty warehouse & factory in Sydney’s Leichhardt.

A brief insight into the company – Publisher Textiles is a Sydney based in-house hand screen-printing company, specialising in a flamboyant collection of wallpaper’s and textiles. The company is based in a lofty warehouse in cosmopolitan Leichhardt with two 20m printing tables, an ink room and a studio shop/office. One part of our company is to be commissioned to design and print wallpaper for many commercial ventures. On the other hand, we also custom print and develop design for fashion houses, including clients like Romance Was BornAkira Isagowa, Zimmermann, Nookie, Therese Rawsthorne and Ginger & Smart.

More wallpaper people! Top left – Carousel, black on white. Top right – Botanica in  duck-egg blue. Bottom – Swans, colour: Swan Song.

When did you first decide to start your business? Do you remember your first project?

Starting my own business happened after I gained over 15 years experience in other hand-screen printing houses (as mentioned above), it wasn’t just hand screen-printing that I learnt. I also educated myself on the science of colour and additives for all the inks that we use in the hand printing process. I enrolled myself in a TAFE Trade Screen Printing Course to learn about all the nuts and bolts of the industry, with the knowledge of screen-printing. I felt the need to learn business if I wanted to start this venture on my own. Therefore, I sent myself on the Neis Business Programme (highly recommended) to get the nitty-gritty of starting your own company. Fully equipped with enough knowledge to start Publisher, the journey began.

My first big project in 2002, which launched Publisher Textiles onto the wallpaper market was designing bespoke ostentatious wallpaper for a new up and coming nightclub in Darlinghurst called “Ruby Rabbit”. Although a challenging first project; as I had never played with wallpaper before, it was a huge learning curve and became a success. This wallpaper spurred the birth of what Publisher Textiles was to become. The bold use of colours, graphics and design used in this first wallpaper ever designed by me seems to remain the signature for Publisher Textiles to this day.


Hibernian House, one of the newest wallpapers.

How do you go about establishing a concept and an overall direction/look and feel for your collections? Do you have a certain process that you always follow?

Establishing an overall direction or concept usually derives itself from something that I like, or something that interests me; people, sci-fi, geometric, floral, nature, art-nouveau, music…the list goes on! The first stage to a collection is purely selfish, the second stage is slowly developed with how the customer might respond to the design (almost making it customer friendly!!) that I have created, and thirdly the design is a happy medium with what I like, and what the customer bites!

What are you seeking to portray in your work? Is there something which is always fundamental to your practise – your philosophy and process?

In my work I want to portray an interest, not a minimal blank. All of my work is created by hand, I believe this ingredient is so important and I find it lacking in today’s world (“why don’t they make things the way they used to”).

Top – one of the wallpapers in the process of hand-printing. Bottom – tubs of ink colours used for wallpaper printing.

Can you describe your typical day of work?

Every day has to be started with a very large cup of coffee. My printing off-sider extra-ordinaire, Javed, arrives at 8am every morning. I check the day’s plans with him and the front of house and then a rough timetable is made up each day, which is always open to change. When we are doing print runs either for fabric or wallpaper, there is continuous process before we even begin of checking the colour-ways, mixing up the inks, preparing the screens and setting the table and then printing. This routine is meticulous and no mistakes can be made. As a company we also have a contract to print on large wall partitions for office fit-outs. I stand at the end of the heat-setter, slowly stacking the boards; I find that this time is very important for my mind to wander-off and dream up new collections for up and coming projects, or to find solutions for ink problems, create new designs, and mix new colour-ways. This time allows for the company to keep running, but also allows me to work on my design process, which is important for the company to keep moving forward.

Javed and Mark printing ‘Pinstripe Tapestry’ wallpaper on one of the 20m long printing tables.

What is one of your biggest lesson learned since starting your business? Do you have advice for others who wish to follow in your footsteps?

The greatest lesson that I have learnt is how important it is to get a good grounding in business. Being creative is one thing, but sadly this particular attribute is not often accompanied with a good business sense. Producing a great product is one thing, learning how to sell is a whole different process. My best piece of advice that I could give to others is to do a business plan before you even contemplate starting. My other lesson is to always have fun with what you do.

Who or what are some of your influences and your sources of inspiration? What other designers, artists and creatives in general do you admire?

When I was a young impressionable artist at 18, I travelled to Europe for the first time; I was overwhelmed by the architecture of homes, castles, galleries and the style of people. In Europe there is no limit to how something looks – it could look grotesque, flamboyant, outrageous, but I found that it all seemed to work and I liked that there were no restrictions. In addition this type of experience created a perspective that can be seen in my work today. In terms of artists, William Morrisis a huge influence on my work. I love the way that every one of his colours stands out from one another, yet the overall pattern undoubtedly works. Maurits Escher and Koloman Moser are also another two of my favourites – their work stressed the importance of symmetry and repeats; this is crucial for my work when I am printing meterage. I follow these traditional artists as I feel that they perceive the core method of how hand screen-printing is accomplished.

Bugsey wallpaper outside Publisher Textiles factory was hung by Mark and Javed “just to see if it will work”. Well… I dare say it worked Mark!

What are you most proud of professionally? Your favourite project, a turning point in your career?

Two projects stick out for the beginnings of Publisher;

One was Akira Isagowa where I developed a process of acid-etched denim; calling it “Tapacidry”. At this time I didn’t even have a table to print on. Using one of his designs, I printed the acid onto denim then bake it at a correct temperature, then I had to blast the eaten denim away. It was a bit of a nutty project… so nutty, this would be the start of a business! Akira was brilliant to work with and he turned this denim into a beautiful jacket and skirt. This experience gave me a huge insight into what makes a designer tick.

Left –  Final acid-etched denim forAkira Isagowa which became a beautiful jacket and a skirt. Right – Publisher Textile’s own take on acid-etched denim (10 points if you noticed it in the cushions up the top.)

Secondly “Ruby Rabbit” was a custom designed wallpaper for a club in Darlinghurst, the whole ground floor. At this time we were not even doing wallpaper and we didn’t even have the base, but it was too good to pass up and I was sure that we could make it up as we went. The design took a couple of months to finish, as it does when clients want to have an input and they hadn’t completed renovation, therefore the deadline was not eminent. All of this artwork was hand-painted with no computers, creating a creep in the repeat that was not picked up until hanging (giving the hanger the shits!). The printing of the job, what a nightmare! Everything that could have gone wrong…went wrong!! The first supplied ink scratched off (later lead to my fascination in ink manufacturing) 200m in the bin. Two weeks until deadline, only way to solve this was the hard way, but it was to take four times as long. Each layer was hand-flashed; there were four layers of colour, many all-nighters were in order. Only you if you saw the club, it was love/hate.

Publisher’s very first wallpaper was for Ruby Rabbit in Darlinghurst (which is no longer around). I believe that this wallpaper was developed in collaboration with one of my clever designer friends – Mark Leib, who used to work at SJB at the time. But I may have made that up so don’t quote me on it.

That’s Javed printing “Ruby Rabbit” wallpaper, thank you very much.

Is there something professionally you would like to try that you haven’t done yet? What would be your dream creative project or collaboration?

Lick-able wallpaper!


Let’s Get Personal.

What are the Qualities you most like about yourself?

Always give everything a go, I don’t mind making mistakes I actually kind of like it. And I’m easy going.

Apart from your work, what other interests of hobbies do you have?

Biking, Stencilling and Photography.

More wallpaper, just cause I really like it. Top – Moroccan Tile in Squid Ink on White. Bottom – Arachnid in Olympia Yellow on White.

What is your most treasured belonging?

Trixy my Motorbike – although I have had a few bumps with her, it brings us closer together.

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I did classical Ballet as a kid for over three years.

It’s not very cool, but I really like…


In ten years I’d like to be…

Still young and a not a grumpy old man!

Top – The Typewriter Cushion Collection 2011. “A collection designed to pretend to write your memories, your novel or anything you should be doing??? Whilst procrastinating on the couch!!” It’s my kind of collection really. Bottom – Hibernian House with How to Live Long backing.

[Images courtesy of Publisher Textiles.]

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

7 Responses

  1. Harriet

    I first saw Publisher wallpaper in Bistro Ortolan in Leichhardt years ago and was struck by how beautiful it was (I think it was the carousel design). Art Nouveau heaven.

  2. Hannah

    I’m a textile design student and just like *jaw drop*
    Screen printing is phenomenal and Publisher are like the cherry on top.

    Thank you for this post, it brightened up my morning!

  3. Maxine Pyke

    Great interview Dana, love Publisher’s work and work ethic.


Leave a Reply