Monday, January 21, 2013

Maker of the Week: Helen Dealtry

Todays guest post comes from designer Jenny Gordy of Wiksten. A former Brooklynite, Jenny lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where shes found a likeminded community of knitters and crafters.

Helen Dealtry, the head designer for textile company Woking Girl Designs, recently invited me to visit her workspace in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The studio windows look out over a courtyard garden, where Helen gathers some of her best inspiration for the prints she designs. Plants and vases of flowers fill the studio, bringing natures inspiration inside.

Helen has a talent for painting lush florals, but her newer work also includes geometric patterns. As she sorted through sample yardage, I was able to peek at some of her designs printed on silk.

I was fascinated to learn more about Helens process and to watch her at work. It all begins at the mood board.

She has an ever-evolving collection of inspirational images, such as tear sheets from magazines, photos of artwork, and even little doodads like fly-fishing lures! Next to the mood board is the table where she creates the artwork.

Painting her designs on paper, she works in layers. I photographed as she put the finishing touches on a retro scenic print. On average, she completes two paintings a day.

Finished artwork is scanned into a computer and then stored in flat files by season. The clients are fashion labels, who purchase the prints for use in their collections.

As well as designing textiles, Helen has been developing some new products for Working Girl Designs. Her line of silk scarves is currently available on the companys website, and shes in the process of creating some simple garments featuring her prints.

Preferring a hands-on process, Helen drapes and sews the product prototypes herself. She also keep everything local: all production takes place close-by in order to support the community economy.

Before we finished, I asked her to answer a few fill-in-the-blanks:

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