Orig­i­nally from Swe­den, Pe­tra Börner is an artist and il­lus­tra­tor based in Lon­don. In­fused with warmth and bold char­ac­ter, her art­ful hand­crafts and pa­per-cut creations ex­ude a mod­ernist charm. With clients in­clud­ing Louis Vuit­ton, the V&A Mu­seum, Thyren, Heal’s and Blooms­bury, she has ex­hib­ited her work world­wide in­clud­ing at the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, the De­sign Mu­seum, 3331 Arts Chiy­oda and the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo, to name a few. Börner cur­rently di­vides her time be­tween com­mer­cial com­mis­sions and per­sonal artis­tic pur­suits.


Cre­at­ing de­signs that could be trans­lated into tex­tile prints and knitwear, Börner de­scribes work­ing with fash­ion la­bel Qasimi as a dream project: “I loved his aes­thet­ics, the colours, the form and gen­eral tone of the brand.”

In­tro­duced to its late founder Khalid Al Qasimi through a friend, Börner had an ini­tial de­sign meet­ing where they dis­cussed the con­cept of the South Shields col­lec­tion. “We looked over the mood boards and vis­ual de­sign re­search, and dis­cussed the var­i­ous themes,” she says. De­signs were in­spired by ropes and twists, Yem­ini flo­rals and Pais­leys, and Madras cloth in­ter­pre­ta­tions.


For Börner, the fi­nan­cial re­ward is se­condary to the cre­ative process. “Work­ing with brands en­ables my work to take flight – a sort of cater­pil­larto-but­ter­fly ef­fect – and this is so ex­cit­ing to see when it’s done right. This com­mis­sion ex­panded my work, en­abled ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and stretched my con­cep­tual process for de­sign. I feel proud to have worked on it.”


“Work­ing with clients who ac­cept or en­cour­age your cre­ativ­ity is ex­cit­ing and ful­fill­ing, but I’m not sat­is­fied with­out a con­tin­ual, per­sonal ex­plo­ration of ideas,” says Börner. “It’s al­ways been im­por­tant to me to keep work­ing on new ideas and to ex­per­i­ment.”

Hav­ing worked with brands in­clud­ing Thyren, Cacharel and Qasimi, she em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of trust­ing your in­stincts. “Go with your gut feel­ing – this is key. A part­ner­ship means that both par­ties must feel sat­is­fied, at ease, and that in­cludes you! So if it’s not right for you, then it’s not right at all.”

Börner knows first hand that this is not al­ways easy – the na­ture of free­lance is a roller­coaster ride – but it’s key to get the work you want. “It’s es­sen­tial not to waste any­one’s time, and for both par­ties to feel cer­tain about all ex­pec­ta­tions ben­e­fits the process. I want the process to feel up­beat and pos­i­tive, to feel that I can max­imise my skills and that the project feels valu­able.”


Börner credits her suc­cess to main­tain­ing a hand in her per­sonal work, which is key to all her cre­ative de­vel­op­ment. “It’s im­por­tant to me to meet dead­lines and take on client com­mis­sions, and some­times I have to fo­cus on this more than my per­sonal work. There’s an ebb and flow in the bal­ance be­tween these prac­tices, but in the end I aim to com­mu­ni­cate the same in­tent, skill and ded­i­ca­tion through­out all my work.”

Sup­ported by her proac­tive and con­fi­dent ap­proach to mak­ing con­nec­tions and en­gag­ing with po­ten­tial clients, Börner im­plores designers to fol­low their pas­sions in the same way.

“The key, I think, is to try to main­tain an en­er­getic prac­tice, to fo­cus on the love of your work, to be in­ven­tive and en­thu­si­as­tic with all projects you’re in­volved with,” she adds. “Hope­fully you will get the op­por­tu­nity to work on mean­ing­ful projects and to show your skills.”

Flo­ral & rope de­sign on Knitwear from Look­book- Qasimi - South Shields AW 16-17 col­lec­tion

Rope print WIP, Qasimi South Shields AW 16-17 col­lec­tion

Madras print WIP, Qasimi South Shields AW 16-17 col­lec­tion

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