Silk Screen Queen
Designer Erin Flett brings her cheerful, modern textile lines to Gorham.
Photographs by Erin Little
Former graphic designer Erin Flett, who began silkscreening her whimsical hand-drawn images with her husband, Maslen, in the basement of their Gorham home ten years ago. Operations later moved to a former cotton mill in Westbrook, and, finally, to her first-ever retail store in Gorham, which opened in July.
Flett eyed the 1850 storefront on the corner of Main and School Streets for years before the opportunity arose to rent it and the former theater upstairs, where her silkscreeners and a stitcher now work and where she consults with custom clients on the stage-turned-office space. Her renovation of the 4,000-square-foot interior included scrubbing off years of grime, refinishing the original hardwood floors, and whitewashing the pressed-tin walls and ceilings. “I felt like I was getting connected to the building,” she says. “I was washing it and loving it and talking to it. Like, ‘I’m going to get you all buttoned up, don’t you worry.’”
A rainbow sampling of Flett’s simple, splashy designs, rendered on bags — her hottest seller — framed prints, glassware, hats, potholders, sachets, shower curtains, table runners, tea towels, and wallpaper. Then there are the pillows, arrayed on a long wall, a maple sleigh bed from Freeport’s Chilton, a mid-century sofa, and a pair of vintage rattan chairs. “I see everything in pillow form before I design anything else,” Flett says.
The bright barkcloth Kiddo pillows featuring oversized childhood icons like hearts and flowers; the linen ones in delicate stripes and stylized Rain and Twigs patterns (“a fabric is really what sings a song, what makes a space unique,” Flett says); and the navy Rain wallpaper — a pointillistic showpiece. “The aesthetic foundation of every design is inspired by my life and everything I come across,” Flett says. “That is the touchstone for me.”