A CREATIVE Bradford on Avon mother has launched her own line of homeware using computer-aided design.
Helen Baker, 38, who lives in Trowbridge Road with her husband Jon and two children, creates family friendly fabrics under that are gender neutral and natural.
While her first range of cushions, lampshades and material reflects her Cornish upbringing, she is already hard at work on a second, Wiltshire-inspired line. The theme of the British garden in the prints is reinforced by using UK-sourced fabrics.
“I take inspiration from everything around me – even while just looking out of my kitchen window while doing the washing up,” Mrs Baker said.
“I’m currently working on a range inspired by windows in Bradford on Avon. Our windows, shop windows, all the gorgeous architecture. I always take snaps on my phone while I’m walking around town, visiting all the wonderful independent shops in the centre.”
She moved to Bradford on Avon 18 months ago and is completely self-taught in terms of design. Her husband works in IT so has helped her get up to speed with the latest technology, including learning from podcasts, sharing ideas on social media and web-based training courses.
“The great thing about the internet is that I get to connect with people all over the world, both for design inspiration and customers,” Mrs Baker said. “My generation shops online: We don’t have the time to trawl round fabric shops but we still want our homes to be reflect our personality and interests.”
Mrs Baker moved into fabrics after a successful stint in running a home craft business. When her husband’s work prompted a move from Cornwall she decided to work for herself full time.
She said: “I design while the children are at school and perhaps an odd hour in the evening. It works perfectly with family life.
“I believe that rather than holding out to live the dream somewhere else, we should inject elements of what makes us happy into our present homes.
The outdoors-inspired collection, which includes colours such as Mizzle and Saffron and patterns such as Pebble Stacks and Surfboard Scallop, provides the perfect pop of colour to add personality to interiors. Mrs Baker says she has been inspired by other self-taught designers, such as Emma Bridgewater and Cath Kidston, as their prints are so distinctive.
“I love working with fabrics as homes are personal,” she said.
“Interiors should invoke an emotional reaction - in the case of Cornwall, evoking memories of days on the beach, holidays, summer and so on.”
“I was looking for something like these fabrics when we moved here but all I could find were cliched prints of beach huts and boats. And children’s interiors sections tended to be loud and garish.
“Modern family life means a lot of shared spaces so something gender neutral and natural is a lot more appropriate. As I couldn’t find what I wanted, I decided to design it myself.”
The range is stocked at helenbaker.com. Fabric by the metre starts at £58.