Presenting our inaugural list of the industry’s most inventive and resourceful talents. Get to know Amy Baker of Threadbare Print House.
For Amy Baker, art and entrepreneurialism exist in harmony like the complementary colors in the graphics she screen prints on clients’ T-shirts.
The co-founder, owner and art director of Eugene, OR-based Threadbare Print House and the talented team of printer-artists she leads produce deft prints in water-based inks on tees, totes, posters, record album sleeves and more for customers that range from craft breweries, bands and clothing brands, to schools and nonprofits.
When Baker and the Threadbare crew aren’t executing killer prints for clients, they’re coming up with unique works to showcase in art shows, developing original designs for tees that support social causes, and partnering with artists to make limited edition runs of graphic tees.
So, while the business is profitable and widely complimented for its consultative and efficient service, the vibe inside Threadbare’s workspace is more artists’ collective than industrial print shop. Baker’s leadership, hands-on involvement and hiring of like-minded individuals have kindled that creative flame.
“Everyone who works here prints, and is foremost an artist,” says Baker. “We try to provide a higher level of customer service and creative input to our customers.”
The approach is generating loyal clients. “Whenever I have ideas or need help, Amy is quick to respond and aid me,” says client Hannah Child of Oakshire Brewing, a craft beer maker. “Amy and her team so clearly care about their customers and never fail to treat me like I’m their only priority.”
When off the clock, Baker and her crew meet up to create their own designs, some of which they exhibit in art shows. One such show had Baker and the team producing printed poster portraits of comedians. Around press time, a Eugene café/gallery was to host “Threadbare Collective,” an art show in which Baker and company were to feature prints they’d made based on newspaper clippings from the late 19th Century.
The spirit of collaborative creativity that Baker exudes and encourages within Threadbare has also translated into partnerships with other artists. For instance, Baker teamed up with a graphic artist who had done work for hip-hop performer MF DOOM. Threadbare created screens for graphic tees based on the MF DOOM artwork and held a launch party at its shop. Millennials in the college town flocked to the shindig and snapped up the shirts. “So many people came and were interested to see the process in action,” Baker says.
Furthermore, Baker and her team have a knack for producing shirts with poignant messages for causes they believe in. In support of the Women’s March in 2017, Baker conceived the term “Fiercely Feminist” and printed it on tees that became extremely popular. “We donated 100% of the proceeds to Planned Parenthood,” says Baker.
Co-founded in 2010 with then business partner Jaylene Arnold, who has since moved on, Threadbare has grown from a garage operation running on a homemade primitive press into a thriving small business where art and commerce are one.
“It’s very addicting,” Baker says of screen printing. “Once I started, it was something I wanted to do all the time.”