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Today’s Home Work: Heather Toupin

We love getting to know parents in our community. In our Home Work series, we ask moms and dads how they juggle their work while raising kids, hoping to get some insight on how to better balance our own work/playtime while being introduced to our neighbors and their cool businesses.  Today Linda Demers interviewed local Providence artisan and mom Heather Toupin. Meet Heather: She is an amazing gocco screenprint artist who makes hip stationary and prints.

Kidoinfo: How did you get started with gocco and screenprinting?

heather-toupin-webHeather: I’ve always loved printmaking. In college I tired to take as many printmaking classes as I could fit into my schedule. I was a textile design major, so the two complemented each other nicely. In my senior year of college, I took a class called “Art of the Book” and the professor brought in a Print Gocco. I nearly lost my mind when she showed us how to use it. I immediately ran, in a craft-frenzy, to the nearest art supply store (this was 11 years ago when you could still buy Gocco in stores) and bought my own. Since then I’ve been Gocco-ing non-stop. Now that Gocco has been discontinued, I’m slowly transitioning into traditional screenprinting. As much as I love the Gocco, I’m looking forward to delving into this and seeing where it takes me. My first project has been really fun; onesies and toddler T-shirts using some of my designs. I’m also working on getting set up to do my stationery and wedding invitations this way, but clothing is much easier, so I figured that would be the best way to get started.

Kidoinfo: What other mediums do you dabble in or would you like to try?http://ny-image0.etsy.com/il_fullxfull.95124196.jpg

Heather: Oh, so many . . . I’m one of those people with way too many interests. I’m constantly reining myself in because if I let myself, I would be all over the place creatively. I try to focus on printmaking, but if I had all the time in the world, I would love to become more proficient in photography, knitting/crochet, sewing, and woodworking. I would love to work more paperfolding techniques into my stationery and wedding invitations. And really, I just wish I had more time to sit down and draw.

Kidoinfo: How do you find time for your art with a little one?

Heather: It’s not easy! However, I feel extremely fortunate to be able to run my little business from home so that I can be with him all day. Basically he naps for about two hours in the afternoon. Those two hours go by in what feels like two minutes because this is when I feverishly try to clean up the house and my studio, answer some emails, do my packing and shipping of etsy orders and wedding stuff, and even get a little printing in if I’m feeling extra ambitious. Really though, my work day begins when Finn goes to bed. I try not to work past 11:00 pm, but often, especially during my busy times, it’s more like midnight. I try not to do this too many nights in a row so that my husband and I can have some time together as well. It’s a lot to juggle, but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. I say it all the time but I truly feel like I’m living the dream.

Kidoinfo: What are your favorite local activities you like to do with Finn and your family?

http://ny-image0.etsy.com/il_fullxfull.95464396.jpgHeather: This summer we discovered what may be Finn’s favorite thing ever: the carnival. He’s too little to go on most of the rides (even the kiddie ones), but just the sights and sounds were enough to keep him busily squealing with glee the whole time we were there. He slept really well that night! We love visiting the local playgrounds, the zoo, and of course the Children’s Museum.

Find more of Heather Toupin’s work in her etsy shop: http://www.heatherjeany.etsy.com/

Find Heather locally:
Craftland (now year round), Providence, RI
November 13th & 14th :: Twist, Northampton, MA
December 6th :: Bazaar Bizarre, Boston, MA
December 12th & 13th :: SoWa Holiday Show, Boston, MA

Linda Cox Demers moved to Barrington, RI, from Chicago with her husband and two boys, ages 12 and 7.  She runs her handbag and accessories business, à la mode, from home and has recently discovered a passion for blogging.  As an independent designer , Linda enjoys promoting local artists and the “buy handmade” movement.

Visit Linda’s blog at http://alamodestuff.blogspot.com.

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  • thank you for such a great interview.

    “I’m one of those people with way too many interests. I’m constantly reining myself in because if I let myself, I would be all over the place creatively.”

    wow. this sentence really resonated with me. i can definitely relate.

  • This interview made me happy to read. It’s inspiring to hear about people who love what they do, and consider themselves lucky because their days are so full of children and work. There are many people who would complain about exactly that. I will definitely keep an eye out for Heather’s prints!