Pili Pala Pieces was established in early 2009 as a hobby for maker/designer Helen Mansbridge, and has grown beyond all expectations. A speech pathologist by profession, Helen became frustrated with the demands involved and the lack of job satisfaction due to high caseload numbers, so at the end of 2009 she left it all behind to see how far she could take Pili Pala.

Pili Pala - Life Instyle Trade Show

Pili Pala Pieces: Life Instyle trade show (photo supplied)

Pili Pala: Pieces Come Together

The business has gone from strength to strength and as a result of regularly participating in the world-renowned Salamanca Market, stockists from around Australia have taken an interest in the Pili Pala range. The brand is stocked widely in Tasmania and is now popping up in a growing selection of boutiques throughout Australia. Pili Pala recently participated in a Trade Show in Melbourne and again picked up a wide range of stores to stock the pieces within Australian stores.

‘Pili Pala’ is Welsh for ‘butterfly’ and was chosen on a whim after Helen had to meet a deadline to submit her products to the very first market she applied for. Helen’s daughter was born in Wales and consequently she has a soft spot for all things Welsh; ‘pili pala’ was also one of the Welsh words she used with her daughter after they returned to Australia.

Pili Pala - Tasmanian Blackwood Window

Tasmanian Blackwood Window (photo supplied)

Fly Away Peter Signature Piece

Pili Pala’s signature pieces include the ‘Fly Away Peter’ necklaces featuring a sterling silver ‘Peter’ bird (exclusively designed by Helen), a sterling silver key and a Blackwood tile with an image of a cage on it. A gorgeous little poem accompanies, and completes, the necklace; ‘A lonely little birdie, was longing to be free. When Sally wasn’t looking, he quietly snuck the key’.

Pili Pala - Fly Away Peter Necklace

Fly Away Peter necklace (photo supplied)

Helen Mansbridge: Inspiration for Pili Pala

Now with two children in tow, Helen runs the business out of her home studio and is a regular fixture at the various markets throughout Tasmania. She is inspired by all things vintage, particularly vintage storybooks from the early 1900s. Her products feature mediums including Tasmanian Blackwood, recycled scrabble tiles, resin, linen and vintage papers. With new designs always on her mind, Helen continues to expand and evolve Pili Pala’s range to include more exciting and desirable accessories and home wares.

Helen Mansbridge is also the co-ordinator of the Barn Market held at Rosny Farm near Eastlands on the eastern shores of Hobart. The next Barn Market will be a Christmas spectacular and is scheduled for Saturday 26 November 10:00-3:00.