Helen - owner, maker, designer and curator of Cloth & Ink with Mr. Duffy
Each month we will be bringing you 'Inside Etsy'. That means you get to take a peek inside the studio's of amazing Etsy shops. They share with us their workspace and what inspires them. This month we are visiting
in Boulder, Colorado.
Mr. Duffy sleeping on the job, Helen at her desk, a sampling of her studio
Do you have a shop mascot?
Meet Mr Duffy, Cloth and Ink's customer service representative, always ready to help with a friendly wag of his tail! He could be CEO of this business with all the decision making he sits through, if only he wouldn't sleep on the job.
The Rocky Mountains, views of Boulder and Helen in Colorful Colorado
Where is your studio
Hi and welcome to Cloth & Ink! When I signed up for a studio tour a few months back my location was a very different place to where you see today. In February, my family relocated from Texas to Boulder, Colorado.
I am so inspired by my new surroundings and all the creative people I’ve met in the short time I’ve been here. There is a really strong handmade movement here and great support for local designers and artists. Buying local is a huge motivation for folks and I’m excited to embrace this community. I just have to walk out my door to be inspired here, there is such a positive energy to the place and of course there’s the breathtaking views. Although I’ll always be an ocean girl at heart, these mountains have won me over already. As for my studio, I'm still growing into my new space but I love the light that streams in all day, it's a happy place to work.
inspriations: orchids, butterfly in Ecuador, deer, flowers
How did you get started in your craft? What inspires you?
I have a long history with textiles from my childhood home, through under-grad school, to working in fiber research and then garment manufacturing. Starting Cloth & Ink came from a lifelong love of design, a resistance to mass produced products and making the most of a change in circumstance. Working in the industry, I saw mass production first hand and found it stifled creativity. I left the industry with the thought that next time I would do it my way, designing for myself and focusing on small production. That time came a couple of years ago, after moving from the UK to the USA, a relocation meant leaving my job as a teacher and brought about the
beginning of Cloth & Ink. I began as a screen printer, designing and printing my own fabrics for home decor but it has evolved since then and moved beyond home decor to
women’s accessories. I love to try out new things and see where I can go next.
more from nature: sea anemones, boardwalk in Washington State, beach pebbles in England
The inspiration for my prints comes from my adventures in the great outdoors and getting close to nature. I love to take photos and use these as a starting point for my prints which develop through sketching and watercolors. It can be as simple as a flower in the garden or as grand as a mountain range. An influence on my style of graphics definitely comes from my love of Scandinavian aesthetics, I’m always drawn to this design style so it has become prevalent in my own work.
Helen at her sewing machine, dabbling in watercolor
What are the top 3 tools that are most important in your craft?
Only three! Well, I’m not often seen without a tape measure around my neck these days, it’s the hottest fashion accessory in my house. I absolutely need a really good pair of scissors...and you better not get caught cutting paper with them. Lastly, I’d have to say my hands, they are what does the hard work after all.
works in progress
Does music play a role in your creating or do you like to work in silence?
I definitely prefer to work with some music in the air. I love listening to some folk/indie
melodies while I work, especially The Lumineers, a little Munford & Sons and a lot of Of Monsters and Men right now. Anything that gives me an excuse to have little dance around the studio really. I can see myself following some of the local folk and bluegrass bands here in Colorado, I’m amazed at the local talent. I also love to listen NPR and of course I stay in tune with the UK music listening to BBC Radio 1 online.
sample rack, Mr. Duffy at work
What are the greatest rewards of creating something that is handmade?
One of the greatest rewards for me is knowing the journey that a product has been on to become what it is. Knowing the entire history from design, to the materials and the construction and then being able to share this with others and see their enthusiasm for something I've made is such a buzz. I love to share what I do and encourage others to have a go.
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