Helen was one of the first makers I asked to join my collection. When I came across her lovely garden print design on Instagram, I got in touch straight away to find out more about her and her beautiful linen designs are now some of the bestsellers in my collection.
She recently launched a new Eco Collection using linen offcuts and bamboo which is perfect for These Two Hands and which I’ll be adding more of in Autumn. I’m so proud to stock her work and I asked her a bit more about her inspiration, her focus on sustainability and what she loves about being a maker.
What made you decide to become a maker and how did you get started?
I have always loved making and when my children started school I returned to teaching, running the contemporary craft programme at Plymouth Art Gallery and Museum and working in schools devising and delivering creative art weeks. I was so busy that there was never any time for my own creativity. I made a decision to cut back on the teaching and started to design and print my own fabric. From the kitchen table, my business was born. My collections of practical, usable homeware is made from beautiful linen fabric which we now get dyed to our own specifications.
What inspires your designs and colour combinations and how has your work changed over time?
Living in Cornwall provides endless inspiration for my designs. I love walking and in this slow pursuit, often find plenty to stop and stare at, take photographs and add scribbles to my sketch book.
What is your favourite thing to make?
Our new ECO collection is made with the off cuts that are left from bigger products that we make. As we work really hard to become a zero waste business, it feels great to be able to use these smaller pieces of linen to make the products in this collection; the soap bag, sandwich wrap, tissue case, fabric storage pot and travel cleansing wrap.
What do you love most about being a maker?
Every day is different and there is always so much to learn. I love the freedom to be creative, to experiment and play with fabrics and designs. I am proud to have grown a business that employs local people, offers training and empowers local people in craft apprenticeships, staying true to the philosophy that all the products are sustainable, ethically produced, inspiring simplicity and faith in nature.
How important is the space you work in and what do you love about it?
My surroundings are really important to me and I love being in the light. I am lucky enough to have my office in the garden of our home. With my studio perched at the top of the garden, bursting with plants and flowers, I have fabulous views across fields and down to the water. I start work at about 8am, after climbing a dozen or so steps through the garden, often stopping to pull out a few weeds on the way!
Why is sustainability important to you?
I am passionate about excellent quality and all of the products we produce are printed, by hand, using traditional screen printing techniques, here in the Cornish studio. We use linen fabric, not just because we love it but because it is so sustainable. It grows with no pesticides and requires only rain water to grow…..magic! We have just started using bamboo for our reusable make up wipes and face cloths – again another fast growing, sustainable plant.
I have always recycled and made thoughtful purchases. When I started to business I wanted to make useful things; things that would last and be treasured. All of our packaging is recycled wherever possible… local people often drop by the studio with cardboard boxes, packing materials and bags for us to reuse.
What would you be in another life if you weren’t doing what you do?
That’s a difficult one! I would like to be many things… I love cooking, travelling, teaching, gardening, being with people….. so, it would have to be something that encompassed at least two of those things. I do love running my own business and I imagine whatever it was, I’d probably be working for myself!
Browse Helen Round’s Designs in the These Two Hands collection or
visit the Helen Round website to view her full range of designs and colours.