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Our Day With Thomas Petherick

As a set designer and prop-maker Thomas Petherick has created scenes for many a fashion shoot. Here, it’s his life that takes centre stage


Bliss Café

‘I always make time for a lunch break when I’m working. When you have assistants in the studio you need to look after them, it helps to keep everyone productive. If it’s just me I get completely consumed by what I’m doing and lose track of time – I keep packets of biscuits in my studio to keep me going. My team like the organic cafés that have sprung up all over Dalston. I prefer a good greasy spoon.’



‘I literally come to [the hardware store] Leyland three or four times a day to pick up cement and other supplies. I’d say it’s genuinely my favourite shop. The guys here know me by now, but they prefer it whenI come in with my female assistant. When I come on my own they’re always asking me where she is.’


Thomas's Studio

‘I’ve got about 20 tracksuits, all different colours. I wake up about ten minutes before I need to leave the house so it’s easy to chuck one on and go. I prefer wearing bright colours, but it does cause problems – last week I wore a turquoise tracksuit to a shoot and it kept reflecting off the white sheets of plastic they were using. All you could see was me, so I had to leave the set.’


Thomas's Work Yard

‘I’ve always enjoyed making things but as a child I was obsessed with taking things apart. Once my mum gave me a television to dismantle. I cut a big wire and got the biggest electric shock. I never touched anything electric again – now I work with things like paint and wood. I assisted an amazing set designer called Andreas Cellerino before starting out on my own last September. Now I’ve just designed a stage for Design Week at Royal Festival Hall.’


Thomas's Studio

‘This will be a white-tiled plinth with black grouting for a Bitching and Junkfood lookbook shoot. Sometimes people come to me with a very specific idea, but the jobs I enjoy most are where I’m given free reign. It was amazing working on Fred Butler’s boutique - she let me do whatever I wanted. It’s great to have those kind of relationships.’


Jaguar Shoes

‘The week running up to this Jaguar Shoes installation I was in my studio 16 hours a day. Usually artists who show here just exhibit on the walls, but I wanted to go further so I made all the furniture. The place is packed on Friday and Saturday nights - you need to create something that sticks out, and I thought the robots were really fun. After it’s over I’m making a desk out of a couple of them, and my friends have dibs on all the others.’

by Hollie Moat. Photography by Piczo