We caught up with Todd Heim to learn more about his small textile design studio. Say hello to your new favorite Lake, Pool, and Beach Blanket.
How did Todd Heim Projects come to be?
A couple of years ago my boyfriend and I wanted to escape the realities of NYC winter so we planned a trip to Puerto Rico for his birthday. I wanted to make him a gift that would be useful on the beach and I was a little short on time so I thought a towel would be nice for him and efficient for me. I knew I wanted to use linen but wasn't finding a fabric I loved. Then I noticed a floor to ceiling wall of linens in a rainbow of colors, realized I could piece together any stripe combination I wanted, and the rest is history...
What is a typical day for you like?
It varies but any combination of the following: wake up, PG Tips with half & half and sugar, everything bagel toasted with butter, walk through Herbert Von King Park en route to my studio, emails, cutting, sewing, pressing, tacos, emails, cutting, sewing, pressing, walk to the corner bodega for a giant seltzer, packing, walk to the shipping center, emails, walk through Herbert Von King Park en route to home, say hi to my boyfriend, pet my cat, vodka tonic, dinner, media consumption (right now Stranger Things), sleep, repeat.
We love your colors, where do you look for inspiration?
Mostly places I travel to. When I made my first pieces I was thinking a lot about sunsets and sunrises I had seen both locally - the Rockaways and the Finger Lakes in upstate New York and on recent travels - Puerto Rico and the South of France. My second round of designs were inspired by another trip to the Caribbean and the colors I saw, particularly on peeling building facades.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws
What's next for Todd Heim Projects?
At this point I'm still making everything myself and a few recent orders have pushed me to my limit in terms of quantity I'm personally able to produce so I've been thinking a lot about growing and sourcing. In the coming months I'm considering bringing on a person to help me and also looking into factories both domestically and abroad. I'm particularly interested in having pieces made in Oaxaca, Mexico and considering a residency with Pocoapoco there this fall.
What's the most rewarding part of your work?
Seeing people use what I make! I think I've always had a misconception that only my friends and family are aware of what I'm working on and are my customers. The other day a friend texted me from the beach to say she was sitting near someone using one of my towels. It's fun to know that my work has a further reach than just my community and that people in the world I don't know are using and enjoying what I make.
What is your process?
Wash, dry, press, cut, sew, press, sew, press, fold, ship, repeat.
Describe your workspace…or the factory where your pieces are made?
My workspace is in a former auto body shop that was converted into studio spaces. A friend of a friend painted a floral print on the outside of it a couple of years ago so it's hard to miss. There's eight studios in the space and we all work in different mediums - a couple of woodworkers, a prop stylist, a ceramicist, a filmmaker, etc. At this point we're all good friends which is ideal as it's a pretty open floor plan. Everybody bounces ideas off of each other and helps when their expertise is needed so it's a nice environment to work in.
What is your favorite piece of your collection?
I made a rainbow towel (listed as blanket 1 on my website) for Pride this year. It's fun to be able to make something that celebrates a community I'm a part of.