Shop Etsy

Featured Seller: maryink

Jul 19, 2007

by maryink

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

 

Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).

My name is Mary Helt, and with my partner, Chris Sittel, we make t-shirts, totes, and votive candle holders under the name maryink. We live in Nashville, TN, which is where we grew up, but hadn’t lived in for 15 years until we moved back last summer. We met at a party almost five years ago when we were both in town, when Chris was a screen printer in Florida, and I was a photo stylist in New York. Pretty soon after we met, we started making t-shirts whenever I would come for a visit. Which was pretty often. Eventually, we had enough trips between us to earn free tickets to Europe! After doing the back and forth for a couple of years, we moved to the Caribbean for a short spell. It was beautiful, but we made the decision that in order for our little business to grow, we needed to move to a more convenient place. Nashville was an easy choice for a small creative business, and we live in a neighborhood that has loads of self-employed, creative types. We have two cats Buster and Vivian, who are best friends and painfully cute.

 

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

Mary: I remember making animals out of thumb prints, à la Ed Emberley, who remains an inspiration to me today. The combination of animals and stamp pads, two of my favorite things, made it a perfect art form for me.

Chris: I made comic books as a kid, and first made silkscreens to make posters and t-shirts for school plays, and for friends’ bands. I enjoyed it so much I’ve been doing it more or less ever since.

 

What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

Mary: The past. Stories and fairy tales. Cute animals. Children’s books. Nature but also cities, and all the little elements that make both, like trees and houses. Hippies. All ephemera. 60’s and 70’s interiors. Art instruction books. Old French & Czech movies. Surface design and everyday items from far away places such as Scandinavia, Benelux, and Eastern Europe. I think of the places I’ve been, and imagine the ones I hope to visit some day. Oh- and music!!! We listen to it constantly while working, and sing songs when the mood strikes.

Chris: I mainly get inspired by typical things: art, music, reading. Ideas usually come from thinking about what types of things we haven’t done yet.

 

What are your favorite materials?

Mary: Sheer, soft cotton and dye-discharge ink, cotton canvas, kraft paper, vintage plastic, exacto knives, beads, computers.

Chris: Art supplies and printmaking equipment of all kinds, inks, paint pens, & transparency film.

 

What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists on Etsy?

Take the best pictures you can. Approach your craft as something fun, but also work at it like your life depends on it. Be prompt with convos and shipping if you can, although I know well that it’s easier said than done sometimes.

 

Why should people buy handmade?

Mary: Buying handmade helps people make lives for themselves that maybe they didn’t think possible until you started buying their stuff. And even though many sales of handmade articles are online, it’s much more of a personal exchange than forking over money to your local big box store.

Chris: Handmade things are made with more care and make more of a statement about one’s own uniqueness.

 

What features/services would you most like to see on Etsy?

Being able able to answer conversations without logging in would be cool. Some advanced search features would be rad, like being able to put parentheses around a phrase. Other than that, any new features will surely be great, as the site is already a beautiful thing.

 

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

We keep busy with craft fairs, which was a big motivator for us to move when and where we did. We’ve been fortunate to do Renegade Craft Fair, Indie Craft Experience, and Art Vs. Craft so far, which has given us a chance to sell our wares, meet people & get a change of scenery in fun, big cities. Gardening and playing music are our favorite things to sneak in when we aren’t making things or getting our stuff out there. Riding bikes is fun, and there is a beautiful bike path nearby that we like to frequent. It’s set up in a way that no buildings are visible: great for pretending we are somewhere else in the world. On a hot day, a friend says it looks and feels just like the countryside in India. We also like to spoil our cats and visit friends in the country.

 

Read any good books lately?

Mary: The last book I read was The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, which is an amazing story of familial craziness and perseverance. I have a limited attention span for books lately, so the books I have been picking up have lots of pictures! Some I like are: Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip by Tove Jansson, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, I Like You by Amy Sedaris, and a book by an ad man filled with motivating one liners: It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden.

Chris: J.G. Ballard – Quotes, Printmaking History & Process, and The Psychic Soviet by Ian Svenonius.

 

In ten years I’d like to be…

In ten years, we’d like to be practicing our crafts, working with interesting people, traveling to new places, & living happily ever after.

Check out the Handmade Video Portrait of louchelab and read the Storque article here!

Featured Seller Archive

Royal Blue Racerback Tri Blend Tank, Screen Printed Folk Design
Royal Blue Racerback Tri Blend Tank, Screen Printed Folk Design
maryink
$26.00 USD
Gold Flock Loose Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
Gold Flock Loose Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
maryink
$28.00 USD
Llamas Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed, Nifty Speckled Fabric
Llamas Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed, Nifty Speckled Fabric
maryink
$28.00 USD
Tree of Life Sleeveless Tee
Tree of Life Sleeveless Tee
maryink
$28.00 USD
Summer Sale! Silver Flock Tank
Summer Sale! Silver Flock Tank
maryink
$26.00 USD
Good Luck Sleeveless Tee
Good Luck Sleeveless Tee
maryink
$28.00 USD
Tree of Life Bohemian Hand Printed Muscle Tee Yoga Top
Tree of Life Bohemian Hand Printed Muscle Tee Yoga Top
maryink
$28.00 USD
Tree of Life Tank
Tree of Life Tank
maryink
$26.00 USD
Royal Backcountry Tank
Royal Backcountry Tank
maryink
$26.00 USD
Flock Pullover, Metallic Gold Print, Black Comfy Cozy Top
Flock Pullover, Metallic Gold Print, Black Comfy Cozy Top
maryink
$40.00 USD
Sale! Boho Shirt, Loose Tshirt, Comfy Tee, Ventana Design
Sale! Boho Shirt, Loose Tshirt, Comfy Tee, Ventana Design
maryink
$15.00 USD
Striped Bandana, Hand Screen Printed and Soft
Striped Bandana, Hand Screen Printed and Soft
maryink
$16.00 USD
Mountain View Tee
Mountain View Tee
maryink
$26.00 USD
Sale! Camping Shirt Loose T-Shirt, Comfy Tee, Backcountry Design with Tents, Moon Design, Graphic Tee for Women
Sale! Camping Shirt Loose T-Shirt, Comfy Tee, Backcountry Design with Tents, Moon Design, Graphic Tee for Women
maryink
$14.00 USD
Loose Tank, Moth Print, Black, Mystical Design, Bohemian Clothing, Women's Tank Top
Loose Tank, Moth Print, Black, Mystical Design, Bohemian Clothing, Women's Tank Top
maryink
$30.00 USD
Sale! Bohemian Shirt- Loose T-Shirt, Comfy Tee, Tree of Life Design
Sale! Bohemian Shirt- Loose T-Shirt, Comfy Tee, Tree of Life Design
maryink
$14.00 USD
Llama Shirt, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed, Cross Stitch Design, Screen Print, Tri Blend
Llama Shirt, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed, Cross Stitch Design, Screen Print, Tri Blend
maryink
$28.00 USD
Hand Screen Printed Bandanas, Set of Three, Durable and Soft
Hand Screen Printed Bandanas, Set of Three, Durable and Soft
maryink
$45.00 USD
Sale! Women's T-Shirt, Mushroom Shirt, Loose Tee, Bohemian Clothing, Outdoorsy Gift
Sale! Women's T-Shirt, Mushroom Shirt, Loose Tee, Bohemian Clothing, Outdoorsy Gift
maryink
$14.00 USD
Tiger Tank
Tiger Tank
maryink
$26.00 USD
Summer Sale! Pinecone Tank
Summer Sale! Pinecone Tank
maryink
$18.00 USD
Vintage Moth Print on a Watermelon Tank
Vintage Moth Print on a Watermelon Tank
maryink
$26.00 USD
Sale! Women's T-Shirt, Moth Shirt- Loose T-Shirt, Comfy Shirt, Bohemian Clothing
Sale! Women's T-Shirt, Moth Shirt- Loose T-Shirt, Comfy Shirt, Bohemian Clothing
maryink
$14.00 USD
Tree of Life Tee, Clay Tri Blend Basic Tee
Tree of Life Tee, Clay Tri Blend Basic Tee
maryink
$26.00 USD
Flock Tee
Flock Tee
maryink
$26.00 USD
Sale! Llama Shirt- Loose T-Shirt, Blue with Cute Llamas in the Mountains, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
Sale! Llama Shirt- Loose T-Shirt, Blue with Cute Llamas in the Mountains, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
maryink
$14.00 USD
Tiger Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
Tiger Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
maryink
$28.00 USD
Flock T-Shirt, Watercolor Birds
Flock T-Shirt, Watercolor Birds
maryink
$30.00 USD
Metallic Gold Flock of Birds Dress
Metallic Gold Flock of Birds Dress
maryink
$42.00 USD
Metallic Gold birds T-Shirt
Metallic Gold birds T-Shirt
maryink
$26.00 USD
Backcountry Tri Blend Camping Tee
Backcountry Tri Blend Camping Tee
maryink
$26.00 USD
Llamas Tank
Llamas Tank
maryink
$26.00 USD
Pinecone Print, Tri-Blend Tank, Bark Color, Screen Print Tank, Camping Shirt, Nature Inspired, Tree Print, Rustic
Pinecone Print, Tri-Blend Tank, Bark Color, Screen Print Tank, Camping Shirt, Nature Inspired, Tree Print, Rustic
maryink
$26.00 USD
Flock of Birds Metallic Gold Sleeveless Muscle Tee
Flock of Birds Metallic Gold Sleeveless Muscle Tee
maryink
$28.00 USD
Pinecone Tee, Spring Green Basic Tri Blend
Pinecone Tee, Spring Green Basic Tri Blend
maryink
$26.00 USD
Moth Tee, Clay Tri Blend Basic Tee
Moth Tee, Clay Tri Blend Basic Tee
maryink
$26.00 USD
Twin Peaks Pullover
Twin Peaks Pullover
maryink
$19.50 USD
Backcountry Camping Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Loose Fitting in a Speckle Fabric
Backcountry Camping Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Loose Fitting in a Speckle Fabric
maryink
$28.00 USD
Llama Shirt, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed, Cross Stitch Design, Screen Print, Tri Blend
Llama Shirt, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed, Cross Stitch Design, Screen Print, Tri Blend
maryink
$26.00 USD
Forest Mushroom Tee
Forest Mushroom Tee
maryink
$26.00 USD
Tiger Long Sleeved Pullover, Graphic Tee, Oatmeal Color, SALE
Tiger Long Sleeved Pullover, Graphic Tee, Oatmeal Color, SALE
maryink
$19.50 USD
Sale! Metallic Gold Flock T-Shirt, Watercolor Birds on Black
Sale! Metallic Gold Flock T-Shirt, Watercolor Birds on Black
maryink
$18.00 USD
Set of 2 Bandanas, Hand Screen Printed and Soft
Set of 2 Bandanas, Hand Screen Printed and Soft
maryink
$28.00 USD
Metallic Gold Flock T-Shirt, Watercolor Birds
Metallic Gold Flock T-Shirt, Watercolor Birds
maryink
$30.00 USD
Summer Sale! Lace Fragment Screenprinted Loose Tank Top
Summer Sale! Lace Fragment Screenprinted Loose Tank Top
maryink
$22.00 USD
Tree of Life T-Shirt, Coal Cotton
Tree of Life T-Shirt, Coal Cotton
maryink
$30.00 USD
Bridge T-Shirt, White Cotton
Bridge T-Shirt, White Cotton
maryink
$30.00 USD
Ventana, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
Ventana, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
maryink
$28.00 USD
Metallic Silver Branches Sleeveless Tee
Metallic Silver Branches Sleeveless Tee
maryink
$28.00 USD
Good Luck T-Shirt
Good Luck T-Shirt
maryink
$30.00 USD
Moth T-Shirt -Women's 100% Cotton, Graphic T-Shirt, Womens Shirt
Moth T-Shirt -Women's 100% Cotton, Graphic T-Shirt, Womens Shirt
maryink
$30.00 USD
Twin Peaks Tank
Twin Peaks Tank
maryink
$26.00 USD
Tree of Life Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
Tree of Life Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed
maryink
$28.00 USD
Loose Tank, Tree of Life Print, White, Yoga Clothes, Boho Shirt, Women's Tank Top, Screenprinted
Loose Tank, Tree of Life Print, White, Yoga Clothes, Boho Shirt, Women's Tank Top, Screenprinted
maryink
$28.00 USD
Mushroom Pullover, Graphic Long Sleeved Tee, Tri Blend Pullover, Boho, Women's Graphic T-Shirt, Camping Shirt
Mushroom Pullover, Graphic Long Sleeved Tee, Tri Blend Pullover, Boho, Women's Graphic T-Shirt, Camping Shirt
maryink
$40.00 USD
Branches Loose Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed, Confetti Fabric
Branches Loose Tee, Graphic Shirt for Women, Hand Screen Printed, Confetti Fabric
maryink
$28.00 USD
Llamas Graphic T-Shirt, Teal
Llamas Graphic T-Shirt, Teal
maryink
$18.00 USD
SALE Tiger T-Shirt, Grey
SALE Tiger T-Shirt, Grey
maryink
$14.00 USD
Mushroom Print, Graphic Tank, Racerback Tank, Boho, Yoga Clothes, Women's Tank Top, Women's Graphic TShirt, Camping Shirt
Mushroom Print, Graphic Tank, Racerback Tank, Boho, Yoga Clothes, Women's Tank Top, Women's Graphic TShirt, Camping Shirt
maryink
$26.00 USD
Llamas Tri Blend Tank, Heather Black Color
Llamas Tri Blend Tank, Heather Black Color
maryink
$26.00 USD