Monday, July 30, 2012

Inside the Home of Ashley Helvey

Textile Artist & Stylist, Ashley Helvey, invited me inside her beautiful home for a cup of tea.  I photographed her fantastic shoe collection, discussed what brought her to the Pacific Northwest, and what she never leaves the house without. 

What brought you to Seattle?
I moved here from San Francisco because my boyfriend was finishing his masters degree in computational linguistics at UW and I was excited to try living somewhere totally new.

You're a textile artist. What inspires your art? Where can we find it?

I'm inspired by processes- physically and spiritually. Felting and weaving are almost meditative in  that way. I am working on an installation at Kaleidoscope Vision at the end of this month which includes some plant hangers, ceramics, and textiles that I'm really excited about.

Besides being a textile artist you also have an incredible style blog, Hunter Gatherer(er) and have styled shoots for Kinfolk Magazine. What was it like styling a dinner party in Seattle's Smith Tower?
To be honest, looking back I feel like it was a bit contrived. There is something about "styling" shoots that it takes away the authenticity of a place, which I think is what makes spaces actually interesting. I guess I prefer to see spaces in their unaltered states. Over-styling can almost seem dishonest in a way.

What have been some of your favorite styling projects? Why? 
Probably working with Totokaelo. It's so rare to be able to work with any kind of decent merchandise in Seattle!

What's your current occupation?
I currently am an assistant stylist for Nordstrom Creative Marketing. It's always a challenge to find a balance between what you love to do and what pays your bills. I find styling to be a great outlet to meet amazing people, work with fashion, and collaborate on creative projects. Also, a  few years ago I realized that making money from from my artwork totally changed the way I worked in a way that wasn't quite as pure or productive. Realizing that took a lot of pressure off and made my work more enjoyable.

What are five things you never leave the house without?
Besides my keys, wallet, and phone: Chanel lipstick and pressed powder, my Mason Pearson hairbrush, Kiehl's Original Musk oil, and my little Canon S95.

Who are some of your favorite designers?
Maison Margiela, Jil Sander, ACNE, Celine, and Robert Clergerie for shoes.

What's on your personal soundtrack?
Always Glasser and Molly Nillson, but lately all Lil Jon's old hits...

What's your vice?
Eating out. As much as I love cooking, I love going to restaurants! Some of my favorites here in Seattle are Walrus and the Carpenter, Le Pichet, Sitka and Spruce, The Corson Building, La Bete, Spinasse, and Boat Street and Cafe Presse for brunch.

Who's someone you admire? Why?
My friend Theresa, because she's a strong, creative, entrepreneurial woman who has inspired me to dream big.

What're you looking forward to?
Visiting friends and family in San Francisco- I'm teaching a textile workshop at California College of the Arts at the end of the month and am looking forward to eating delicious food and getting my drivers license renewed.

If you could be anywhere, where would you be?
Living in a pied-a-terre in Paris with some property in the German countryside.


  1. Ah, I love these posts Kirby. great interview. Such fun to get a glimpse into Seattle creative's homes. I've enjoyed Ashley's blog since meeting her a few years back when I photographed her for my blog. Looking forward to seeing the installation at KV

    1. Aw thank you Dana! I'm very excited to check out the pop-up shops/installations at KV! What a treat for Seattle.