Artists ~ Amy Ryan ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Amy Ryan
Business name: Hilly House Designs
Location: Providence
Etsy shop:

1. Tell us about your work: 
I make 100% hand-sewn felt accessories and children's items. I love making colorful and whimsical items that convey a sense of fun. Most of my items are custom made, intended to provide unique ways to celebrate special events and milestones.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter? 
I have always enjoyed crafting as a hobby, and frequently make gifts for friends and family. One Christmas I made felt flower pins for all my friends, and they liked them so much they asked to buy some for their family members! When my second child was born, I left my job as a preschool teacher to stay home with my kids. At that time I opened my etsy shop as a way to earn some additional income, and to provide myself with a creative outlet. It has been a challenging and rewarding process for me.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration? 
From the people I love! Everything I make started out as a gift for a friend or family member. For example, the first tooth fairy pillow was designed for my daughter; my baby name signs originated when I wanted a unique baby gift for a dear friend. I believe this is why my shop has been a success. Because each design is something that real people want to have and use.

4. What’s your favorite item to make? 
Any customized item. I love working with a client to create something one-of-a-kind. Some customers have a very specific idea of what they want, and some just have some colors or a general theme in mind. It’s exciting to have the conversations, to form and re-form ideas, and then to create the final, unique product.

5. What’s your best seller? 
My birthday party hats! Moms want to have something extra special for their baby's first birthday, and they love being able to personalize it with the child's name or the party theme.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island? 
Since 2005, only months after the birth of our first child. My husband and I wanted very much to own a home for our new family, but we just couldn’t afford anything in the Boston area where we lived at the time. We were thrilled to discover that we could buy a single family home in Providence and still live in the city.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island? 
Rhode Island is small enough that it’s easy for newcomers to become familiar with the area. But there’s still enough variety that after seven years we are still discovering new and interesting things to do here! It has been exciting to explore the beaches, forests, and towns together as a family. We get to experience Rhode Island through our own eyes and through the eyes of our two children.


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