New designer Helen Baker today launches her first collection of modern Cornish-inspired, contemporary fabric designs. Called ‘You can take the girl out of Cornwall’, the range draws on natural influences from Helen’s native county but aims to inject fresh life into Cornish design ideas.
As a mother of two young sons, Helen’s fabrics are gender neutral and family friendly - summed up by her strapline: ‘The fabric of modern family life’. Her debut range is designed and printed in the UK using eco-friendly pigments and natural fabrics. The outdoors-inspired collection, which includes colours such as Mizzle and Saffron and patterns such as Pebble Stacks and Surfboard Scallop, gives a contemporary representation of Britain’s most westerly county.
The idea for the collection came about when Helen moved from Cornwall to Wiltshire 18 months ago and, looking to bring some of her coastal influences into her new home, she started to search for furnishings. But she was disappointed to find time and again only tired, clichéd representations of Cornwall featuring wooden boats and small harbours. A world away from Helen’s own experience.
“I am proud of my Cornish roots and really wanted something in my new home to represent this. But I didn’t want nautical knots, quaint sailing boats or anchors; I wanted contemporary, bright, design-influenced Cornwall of today", Helen says. “After a long time searching and not finding what I wanted, I taught myself digital and surface pattern design (I was a complete novice) and a year later, the collection was complete.”
Always creative, Helen formally ran a home craft business, Sew Coastal, after taking the decision to stay at home full time when her second son was born. When her husband’s work prompted a move from Cornwall to Bradford-on-Avon, near Bath, Helen decided to develop and grown her design skill-set. She originally trained and worked as a primary school teacher.
"I am proud of my Cornish roots and really wanted something in my new home to represent this. But I didnt want nautical knots, quaint sailing boats or anchors I wanted contemporary, bright, design."
An entirely self-taught designer, Helen’s ‘You can take the girl out of Cornwall’ range reflects her keen eye and impeccable attention to detail - for example the Surfboard Scallop pattern uses the exact dimensions of a surfboard to ensure true authenticity.
“My debut collection 'You can take the girl out of Cornwall…’ is me in a nutshell.” Helen says. “I was brought up in Cornwall and lived there on and off for 25 years. On meeting new people and saying where we had moved from it amazed me that so many had connections to the county. Everyone spoke happily about spending time in Cornwall and I saw how memories of a place, particularly by the sea, evoked positive emotions.”
Helen adds: “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. Home is where you make it.”
The collection launches at The Makery in Bath on Tuesday 2nd May. The range will be stocked online at helenbaker.com Fabric by the metre starts at £58.
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