When Trisha Hartwick started her clothing business, she was fortunate. What she liked to draw, people liked to buy.
“You want to make money, so you want to appeal to people who are coming to the mountains,” she said. “I’m lucky, because that’s what I like to draw anyways.”
Hartwick is the creative talent behind Love Making Designs, a clothing company she runs with her partner Kiley Dare.
Hartwick is a recent transplant to Revelstoke, having moved here from Canmore earlier this year. She and Dare bought a home together in Farwell and set up their screen press in the basement. The room is filled with clothing of Hartwick’s creation.
Hartwick grew up in Ontario and attended Sheridan College and the University of Toronto, where she studied art history and then print media.
Seven years ago she moved to Canmore and, struggling to find good work, she started Love Making Designs. “I did a few craft markets and a few farmers markets and that’s how it became a full-time job,” she said.
She and Dare moved to Revelstoke because it still has a quaint, mountain town feel.
For Hartwick, the screen-printing process is relaxing and meditative. It all begins with her sketches — hundreds of which fill her sketchbooks. “They might never make it onto a t-shirt, but I have six that are filled,” she said.
About 20 per cent of her sketches will be turned into full-fledged designs; right now she has 30 drawings on clothing.
Her designs range from the Bicycle Tree, which is as titled — a tree with the bicycles instead of foliage. There’s Punch Buggy, Slap Bus, featuring a VW van and a VW Beetle. Jammin’ features a bear and squirrel playing a ukelele and banjo on the front, and a fox playing the guitar on the back.
The drawings are often playful, but some, like the Elk Skull, are more realistic. The shirts often feature a main design on the front, with patterns sketched out on the back.
Love Making Design’s logo is an arrowhead with antlers that swoop into the shape of a heart.
“Everything is nature-based,” said Hartwick. “I do a lot of biking stuff, but most of it is all animals.”
The process to make the shirts starts with the sketches. She will then upload them to her computer, where she can manipulate them and add elements and colours. They then get printed onto acetate and then transferred onto the screen using a homemade lightbox. From there, it gets run through the screen press onto the shirt, after which it is dried and then heat pressed.
The designs are printed on shirts from American Apparel or Alternative Apparel; she makes sure the clothing doesn’t come from sweatshops.
The creative side of Love Making Design is handled by Hartwick, but Dare helps with the manufacturing, selling and business aspects. They travel to farmers markets and craft shows throughout the summer, selling their clothing.
The appeal of the work is the freedom it gives her — both to be creative and live a great lifestyle where she can ski during the day and work in the evenings.
I asked what here favourite design was. She didn’t know.
“I look at them so much that after a few weeks I don’t want to look at them anymore. I’ll go back to them a year later and go, ‘It’s not as bad as I thought it was,’” she replied. “That’s why I always create new things, because I always want something newer, something better. I always want to get better. I’ll see little things in a drawing I don’t like, so I’ll draw something similar all over again with something that I do like.”
You can buy one of Hartwick’s designs at ArtFirst!, Skookum Cycle & Ski, or at the Farm & Craft market every Saturday during the summer. You can visit her website at lovemakingdesigns.ca.