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Meet Trailblazer Ityng Deng

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ityng Deng.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ityng. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have always loved design. I remember flipping through interior design books when I was little and daydreaming about different layout plans. Then in high school, I wanted to study Architecture. But then, I discovered Graphic Design and I realized that what I had always wanted to do was Graphic Design and it actually existed! Though for a brief moment in freshman year at Massachusetts College of Art I had an internal conflict when deciding whether to major in Graphic Design or Fibers. I had taken an elective in Fibers that year and LOVED it. I’ve always loved to work with my hands and I had such a great time in that class.

Since then, I have been working as a Graphic Designer since graduating MassArt. And a few years ago, when I started Foxfire Creative Studio, I felt that those two worlds have finally come together. With my love to work with my hands and my skills as a designer, I have been able to exercise my creativity outside of the “nine-to-five.” I started with designing and printing shirts. That evolved to designing patterns and printing fabric to make pillows. I made cards, stationery and even hand-bound books!

Currently, I design and print flour sack towels, aprons and tote bags.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I started this new venture, I didn’t really know where it would take me. One of the challenges I’ve had was on finding a voice. I went through a series of different products and styles before finding what worked for me. But that’s all part of the growing process — not that it makes it any less frustrating! I mean, I never would have thought that I would be designing and printing vintage-inspired flour sack towels right now!

And I think there are always going to be struggles. Especially with owning a small business. The whole business side of a small business is a challenge on its own. I went to art school. I don’t know much about business! But I could have never imagined three years ago where I would be today. I have learned so much, met so many wonderful people and developed a kind of confidence I never thought I would have.

We’d love to hear more about Foxfire Creative Studio.
So right now I design and print mostly flour sack towels (I like to introduce them to people as dish towels). Flour sack towels have a lot of history going back to when food came in cotton sacks. The sacks would be cut up to make clothing and towels. It is a very durable material and is very absorbent (great for drying dishes!). Based on the history, I have been designing and printing vintage and vintage-inspired imagery on the towels. The latest is a series of original vintage-inspired brands I designed. The designs started out as sketches and then a final version is created on the computer. I purchase hemmed flour sack towels and use a direct to garment printer to print everything myself.

Last year, I started offering gift sets as well. The sets are packaged with a set of towels and products that are also made locally. The sets are either kitchen themed (with cutting boards, wooden utensils and spices) or self-care themed (with handmade soaps and soy wax candles).

I started printing on flour sack towels based on a suggestion a friend made. She is an avid cook and has an affinity for these towels. Since I’ve been printing these towels, I have found that people either do not know what they are or are completely obsessed with them!

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Image Credit:
Ityng Deng

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