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Caroline Hurley’s Introduction to the Artisan Life

The New York painter expands into housewares with a new design company for the modern bohemian

A RISD painting major is making a name for herself: Caroline Hurley, burgeoning Brooklyn artist, created an eponymous homeware company offering artful pieces from ceramic bowls to block-printed linen textiles (which can be used as throws, table clothes or even as a sarong). Her designs are available for sale on her website and at cool boutiques including Grey Area, Mociun and General Store in Venice and San Francisco. Below, Hurley talks to DuJour about her new direction.

How did you move from painting/art into more commercial items in the last few years?
It was an organic process. I have been making products for a long time just for friends and family, but I happened to walk into a store wearing one of my necklace creations and the shop owner asked if he could carry some. Everything sort of took off from there. I am still very much painting in addition to my product line. Painting influences my design and vise versa. The paintings are loose and very free and the designs are much more meticulous and exact. It’s a good way to use both sides of my brain.

How do you juggle both?
I love for people to live with and enjoy the things I make whether it’s a painting or a napkin. It is difficult juggling both the fine art and design business but I find myself loving the process of figuring it all out. I am just so happy that I get to wake up every and make art.

Where is your studio?
I am currently an artist in residence at ISAair. I work on the third floor of the restaurant Isa in Brooklyn. It has been an amazing experience. Hearing the sounds from the kitchen as I work reminds me of my childhood and my work has become nostalgic and a bit more psychedelic because of the vibe of the studio. Before this current residency I was in Dumbo for about four years.

What are your favorite items from the line?
My favorites are the throws because they are so versatile. They can be used as a blanket for the couch or bed or as a table cloth, or as a blanket for the beach, or as a wrap dress.

How do you make the textiles? What’s your process?
I block print all the textiles. It’s an old process that has been around for centuries. My version of block printing is a bit more modern with non repeat patterns and simple iconic shapes. The ceramics are created in Los Angeles with a pal of mine from RISD, named Patrick Johnston, who’s helped me get the molds down for my bowls and serving dishes. Ceramics is totally new for me, so I am lucky to have a mentor who is super skilled and willing to help me as I learn the ropes. So far I love the process.

What’s been the biggest challenge as you develop this business?
The business side of things: paper work, keeping organized, tax stuff. Hopefully, some day soon I can hire someone to do all the things that don’t come naturally for me!

What’s next for you?
I want to keep growing and eventually have a full home wear line complete with dishes, platters, bedding, blankets, pillows and everything else associated with the home.