Jenn BakosComment

Freckled Fuchsia : Hand Block-Printed Art & Textiles - Providence, Rhode Island

Jenn BakosComment
Freckled Fuchsia : Hand Block-Printed Art & Textiles - Providence, Rhode Island

I know, it’s been a little while since you’ve heard from us, but we are still here! Life is kind of crazy but we still want to bring you some wonderful makers! We were excited when Chandlyr Jackson (co-founder) reached out to us about connecting and being featured. We don’t get a lot of folks from Rhode Island and we are happy to have Freckled Fuchsia on here! Not to mention, they are very environmentally and ethically conscious which we think is SO important for businesses to bring to the forefront these days. Please read on and enjoy our interview!

Photography by: Clare Jessey

First off, tell us about your business, what it is/ what you do!

Freckled Fuchsia is a lively creative brand composed of hand-illustrated and hand-stamped goods founded by Chandlyr Jackson and Tyler Nelson in Providence, Rhode Island. We’re an environmentally and socially conscious brand, particular about the materials we use, and other vendors and small businesses we support. Much of our work focuses on themes relating human expression, women and nature. Although we started Freckled Fuchsia on the basis of more digital illustration, we have shifted our workflow and products to be complimented by block-printing.

What is the story behind your business/ how did it come to be?

Freckled Fuchsia started very simply and spontaneously from a road trip conversation between my boyfriend, Tyler, and I. We were on our way back from a summer camping trip in New Hampshire just last year, and I looked over at him and said, “I want to start a t-shirt design business, or something like that - we should do it!” Both of us have always fantasized about working for ourselves, and wanted to create something completely organically. When we returned home from our trip, I felt completely inspired to start drawing again because I wanted to start putting myself and my work out there. I had been drawing, making and exploring various mediums of art my whole life, and worked as a User Experience (UX) Design for a few years, but hadn’t explored my illustration style in a while. I spent the rest of that summer coming up with our name, and woke up early to spend time drawing before going to work. The more I let myself explore different themes, and styles, the more excited, and serious I became about the concept of Freckled Fuchsia and what it could become. As the brand evolved over a few months, I worked up the courage to contact a few local boutiques to carry my work in the form of greeting cards and art prints, and then eventually participated in our first artist’s market. Just back in December, I decided to take the leap and pursue Freckled Fuchsia full time, and put everything I had into it.

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What is your background? How did you meet your business partner(s), did you always want to be doing this?

I had been drawing, painting, and making in various ways throughout my life. I didn’t come from a family of artists, but they really encouraged my creativity, whether I was constructing a diarama for a school project, hand-drawing cards for family or making hand-made friendship bracelets - I seriously loved it all. My formal background is Industrial Design, also known as Product Design, in which I studied for four years at Wentworth Institute of Technology, to then become a User Experience (UX) Designer for another few years. After going through design school, my process become more design-oriented involving strategic problem solving, spending more time designing digitally and conducting user-research. I met my business partner, Tyler, also my boyfriend and best friend, during my last year at school when we did our senior thesis project together! A little bit of a love story.

When I initially graduated from school, I was so fixated on finding a unique job that fit exactly what I studied, and I did! It was wonderful working with a small team of incredibly talented designers, but I realized that what I was doing was not ultimately going to fulfill me in the coming years. Freckled Fuchsia was a new lens that inspired us to capture expression, and movement through continuous line and repetition, utilizing bold patterns and touches of color.

What is behind your business name?

We definitely get this question a lot! And no, I don’t have tons of freckles or fuchsia colored hair. When we first started, we kept asking ourselves, "What do we call it?" We wanted the name to be funky, and we wanted it to be something people haven’t seen before, and almost question it. “Freckled” comes from a place of subtlety and softness - I felt that this spoke well to the humility I feel and project as a designer and artist. “Fuchsia” comes from the opposite end of the spectrum representing the essence of being bold and standing our ground. Freckled Fuchsia represents a beautiful balance of character, driven by bold expression, countered by self-awareness. It's complimentary at its best, the moment you've never felt more alive.

Favorite things to create?

I’ve recently re-discovered my new-found loving for carving! I do a ton of block-printing, whether it’s for pattern making or dreaming up a composition for an art piece, I enjoy the process of hand-carving the whole printing plate. It’s so gratifying to create prints by removing material because it’s a little messy and hand-made aspect give it more life than a perfectly cut stencil or stamp. If I were to choose, I think that pattern making is my favorite thing to create because it can be very organic, abstract and “improv”.

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What are your sources of inspiration and creativity?

There are several amazing artists and brands that I follow that keep me inspired daily such as the brand LRNCE, or artists such as Heather Day or Diego Cabezas. But I’m also genuinely inspired by general human expression that I’ve observed, as well as micro or macro observations of nature. For example, flying high in an airplane I love seeing rivers and canals, observing how they meander like a snake or fizzle out into smaller streams, almost resembling tree roots. I believe that we can find inspiration anywhere we look, and within ourselves.

What do you do when you feel you are in a rut?

It depends on what I’m working on, but I believe that a good shower followed by a nice self-care routine does the trick to refresh my mind. If that doesn’t help, sometimes I just need to force myself to take the rest of the day off, tune out, and just watch a movie, or go for a really long walk or hike to wear myself out physically. If my mind gets too crowded or overwhelmed with tasks or circling thoughts, I begin to feel creatively paralyzed. I’ve also noticed that if I spend too much time flipping through instagram, being fed too much information, the same thing will happen. Sometimes there are things I can do during my day to day that help prevent falling into ruts, but there are other times that they just happen. When I do get into a rut, I remind myself that it will pass, but I need to remove myself from my environment and get a change of scenery.

What has been the most challenge part about having your business? What has been the most rewarding or fun?

There are many challenges, but one of the most challenging aspects for me is establishing a consistent and unique style to my brand and my creative process. There are so many talented artists and makers out there, and I think that a big part in setting myself apart was showcasing my process. When I first took on Freckled Fuchsia full-time, I spent about a good month experimenting with different themes and styles of illustration. It was difficult because there are so many things that I  want to try and experiment with, but I knew that consistency is key if you want to build a successful creative business, so I needed to maintain my focus. I like to move quickly, and imagine my brand in the bigger picture, but I realized that working in baby steps is also super important if you’re trying to build something organically. It’s been a challenging balance of maintaining the bigger picture vision, but also following through with day to day tasks that will get me there.

The most rewarding (and fun!) part of making Freckled Fuchsia a full-time gig for me is that I have complete control about who I work with, when I can take a break (or not take a break) and my overall level of productivity. I am my own creative director, and I love having complete control while maintaining honesty with myself if something is not working. I’m really enjoying building the balance between creating work that comes from my heart, as well as collaborating with other brands or business who are looking to incorporate my style into their product or business.

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Are you originally from New England? How has the New England community played a roll in your business?

Yes! I was born and raised in Windsor, CT. My high school had a fantastic and diverse art department that encouraged me to experiment with not only 2D Mixed Media, but also metal-working for jewelry and ceramics. From there, I went off to school in Boston, MA where I was immersed in a seriously talented and driven group of classmates and teachers that worked our butts off. I’m currently living in Providence, RI where there’s so much going on with the arts scene, between music, installation design and fine art, I see a lot of small business starting up here because it’s an affordable city to live in, making it a great place to take risks without losing much. With a vast range of creatives living here, there are so many different ways to connect with other artists through small, casual meetups or larger workshops and lectures. I see a big focus and push on supporting local - whether it comes to food, music and art in Providence, as well as several other areas of New England. It’s exciting to see more people choose to support small businesses and I think it’s fantastic sign for the years to come for other aspiring artists in the area.

What are you favorite things about New England?

I like the closeness of it. I’ve been to other cities in the Midwest, South, and out West and I like how New England cities are more compact and cozy feeling. With all of the older homes, and beautiful old mills that have been renovated, I’m in love with the character that these structures embody, and they feel unique to the area that we live in. Some of my favorite places to go in New England are up into the Green Mountains of Vermont or to the coastline of Maine. Northern New England embodies more of wild feel than Southern New England, and I look forward to each time I get to escape to these areas.

What do you think is unique about your business or craft?

I think our approach to pattern making with hand-carved stamps is a unique way that we look to achieve unity in a piece. We find comfort in imperfect pattern, and we want to share that with people. Patterns aren’t always a form of calculated repetition or tesselation, but instead the ability to visualize relationships in the elements we have already created. I really enjoy sharing our process from concept to final product. I think it’s really important, and our responsibility as makers, to showcase our process and highlight the grit as well as the finished piece. Aspiring designers and other creatives who are following our work respond very positively to the stop motions, and process videos we create and I think it’s because its often very interesting to see how someone else goes about bringing a concept to life. Everyone’s creative process is different, and I love to emphasize the importance of establishing a process that is comfortable to you.

Where can we find you or your product in the future? (Ex. Any markets coming up? Workshops? Do you sell a product? Classes?)

You can always find our products online on our website - we have a variety of greeting cards, art prints, postcards and mini notebooks. We look forward to expanding our product line this year, and have a few other products in the works, such as notebooks and tea towels! We have a few markets lined up for the spring - all based in New England, yay! You can find us at Perkatory Coffee Roasters in Middletown, CT during the month of May. Our work will be displayed on their walls throughout the whole month, and we will have some prints for sale inside of the cafe. We will also be at Sons of Liberty in South Kingstown, RI for an outdoor craft fair on Saturday May 11th (Rain date: May 12th) If you’re looking to know where are products are stocked in boutiques, or future events in New England, we make sure to stay up to date in the “Events” and “Stockists” sections of our website!

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