New designs from Original Little Bird

If you went to Pulse this year, you might have stopped by Original Little Bird’s stand, drawn in by the flock of printed bags hung on a real tree. This textiles and homeware company set up by Gabi Bolton creates beautiful fabrics and prints with a folkloric, narrative quality.

Original Little Bird stand at Pulse 2011

Original Little Bird stand at Pulse 2011

She often starts with personal drawings and photographs as a base, then builds up layers of intricate drawing and tone, making her designs richly textured. She then applies her prints to products like bags, suitcases, scarves, cards, wallpaper and cushions.  As she says on her website, ‘Choosing to create imagery that is personal she positions herself outside the world of trends and forecast, preferring the integrity of a more personal perspective’ – sounds a lot like Max Fraser’s talk at our 2011 Forum. As he said then, trends can do more harm than good to design, and making products because you think they’ll look good on a magazine page is not the way to produce your best work.

Gabi will be launching a new wallpaper called ‘The Soho Papers’ at Tent London this September, during the London Design Festival. Inspired by 17th and 18th century cartographers John Roque and Ogilby and Morgan, Gabi Bolton has created what she calls ” a shambles of half remembered nights and decades”. 

Print by Gabi Bolton combining elements of 3 historical maps and her own drawing and pattern.

Print by Gabi Bolton combining elements of 3 historical maps and her own drawing and pattern.

There will be 3 versions of the Soho Papers,to be printed on cloth and as wallpaper. This version (wallpaper and cloth) shows the map sitting in areas of colour, which derived from marbled paper.

To achieve this effect, Original Little Bird worked with paper marbling expert Victoria Hill who created the endpapers for Prince Charles’ Highgrove Florilegium. Gabi says:

“After doing a short marbling course myself I discovered the nature of its random patterns and its huge decorative appeal. I wanted to incorporate it into the Soho papers on my own terms, to use it as its most basic,  the first stage of the process. Not being experienced enough to do it myself  I called upon my friend Marbling expert Victoria Hill (who created the endpapers for Prince Charles’ Highgrove Florilegium)

She  completely understood what I wanted and created a marbled sheet of pure simplicity, which has become a kind of vessel that holds the map together, whilst making it even more fragmented and even harder to read.”

After the wallpaper is launched at Tent in September, it will be available to order. The wallpaper will be £35.00 per metre (for approx 1 metre wide), and will be available in 4 colourways. We think it would look beautiful on the wall of a study, or behind your favourite chair in a peaceful reading alcove.

To see more of Original Little Bird’s beautiful work, you can have a look at her blog, or visit her online shop. And if you’re a Hidden Art member and you’d like us to feature your work on the blog, email us at, or send us a tweet (@hidden_art)

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