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Stationery Diaries // Holly Clarke at Orto Print Studio

We've all seen countless 'what's in your handbag' articles, right? Well personally, I'm more interested in what people have in their pencil cases. As a stationery magpie, ever since I can remember I have been coveting the perfect glue stick, or the perfect permanent marker. So, why not find out what some of our favourite creatives have in their pencil cases so we can all have the perfect stationery stash? Welcome to our stationery diaries.

Holly Clarke Orto Print Studio

For our first ever profile, we're introducing Holly Clarke, who along with being the manager of 3rd Rail Print Space (in which our little Completist HQ lives!), is also half of Orto Print studio, who've been behind some of the most beautiful prints in some of your favourite runway collections. Holly thinks she's found a permanent marker that's even better than a Sharpie (controversial! You heard it here first!) so we just had to ask her all about what's in her pencil case.

Holly Clarke Orto Print Studio Pencil Case

Hey Holly! Talk us through what's in your pencil case, and most importantly, the marker that's better than a Sharpie...

First of all, my personal favourite thing in my pencil case is my N50 permanent marker, I always need to know where it is all the time as I use it so often. If you think a Sharpie is good you have not lived! This is important in writing on all client shipments, labelling our dye pastes and outlining recipes on pretty much any surface.

Second is my mini spanner, this is the perfect size to change reg fittings and to connect t-bars to our repeat screens. We use this tool to set up our large format screens when creating multiple layers and meterage onto textiles.

I can't miss my Wacom Pen, perfect for creating hand drawn print designs and editing. An essential for any print designer!

Next are my Posca Pens - when creating hand drawn elements, they allow me to create my artwork to be exposed directly to a silk screen rather than incorporating the digital process, much more my style as I love hand painting/ drawing organic forms for my screen prints.

Finally, fabric scissors (sharpened - essential!). We are in fact waiting for the new (top secret!) The Completist scissors to come out to replace these, but they are necessary when working with so many fabrics, precision is key.

I don't just keep stationery in my pencil case - I also carry around a few beauty essentials to keep me going throughout the day. This includes my Byredo hand cream, as my hands get so dry and overworked so this is a little luxury to have. Also bonus: it smells so lovely, perfect when working with smelly textile processes. I can't go without lip balm - you can never have enough lip balm in my eyes, this one is the By Terry Baume de rose, it smells delicious and a must have when still wearing masks. And finally, I always have my Bach Rescue Remedy, towards fashion week this calms me of my anxiety and keeps my stress levels at bay, especially when working late nights (all nighters).


Alright, so tell us about Orto and some of these amazing clients you work with...

Orto is an innovative, accommodating and dedicated specialist fabric screen printing service based in Peckham. We're professionally equipped and trained in an extremely broad spectrum of print processes and we are able to execute the designer's vision to the highest of standards. For us, attention to detail is central. Orto has organically grown and gradually assembled an impressive cluster of high profile clients over the last 5 years including JW Anderson, Burberry and Bethany Williams. The team is formed of creative, inventive individuals, thus as a collective, our combined knowledge is priceless.

 Orto Print studio

Okay, all brands I love! It must be so exciting to work with them. What are some of your most memorable clients/projects?

Working with Bethany Williams, we believe in her ethos on working on recycled and dead stock fabrics, along with using eco friendly inks and techniques. It's also incorporated to support the Magpie project charity, being a part of a project for an amazing cause is something we strive to do. Bethany Williams Orto Print Studio

One of my favourite projects I have worked on in my career is the fabric development and printing for Louise Gray. I was assisting a fellow colleague on this mega project printing onto sequins, velvet and silks and even tights with the most amazing colours and techniques. This was when I first graduated and to this day this inspired me to continue working with fashion brands to create new and exciting prints (you can view the amazing collection here).

Louise Gray Holly Clarke Vogue

Lastly we got commissioned by Ralph and Russo to work on a Wedding Dress for one of their exclusive vip clients. I have to employ a team of people to work shifts throughout the day and night. We had to hand apply the smallest crystals onto tulle in a pattern format. Was a technical job but a massive achievement to complete, also our biggest invoice to date so this was exciting for us.

Holly Clarke Orto Print Studio archive

Okay, work aside, I want to know - what are some of your favourite brands and why?

Any brands that are in the boutique Katie & Jo especially Seraphina. I love the flowing spring like dresses in muted pink shades. 

I also have to throw in Beauty Pie - I’m a keen skincare fanatic and having this on a monthly subscription gives me treats each month. My favourite product has to be the retinol eye cream and vitamin c capsules. I spend a lot of time researching and trialling skincare, as in my day to day work I'm in overalls and ink stained clothes, so it's a nice treat for when I'm not in the studio.


And where do you go to get inspired? What are your creative go-tos?

Galleries - I'm constantly getting inspired by my surroundings and now that the galleries are open I can go and explore again. Museum Archives always give unexpected inspiration - it could be texture, colour or form. And... books, books, books (especially during lockdown)! I try to keep looking and sourcing technical books on textiles, could be dying, colour development or even embroidery. My brain is more technical so the experimental approach comes before the print design, which in my field is a unique way of working.

Orto print studio archive

Finally, have you got any tips for new print designers or creatives?


Don’t give up on your passion, if you are determined and work hard, I really believe it will work out for you in this industry.

Have an online presence. This could be an online portfolio, website and/or social accounts - this has enabled Orto to grow organically and work with some amazing people who are not not instantly in our network.

Network. Anyone you meet in the industry be super nice and make an impression as it's worth making as many connections in the industry. Word of mouth is key - be professional at all times, as people have very long memories.


Make sure you check out Orto Print Studio here and their instagram here.