Your Fondest Forest City Memories in Print

Carolyn Holdsworth, the me and the C behind Me & C. is a London-based silkprinter. She creates designs from photographs of the people, places and perfectly random things in London, ON that grab her attention, printing on t-shirts, totes, tea towels, pillows, cards, and other home decor items.

A woman stands against a graffitied brick wall. Behind her is a green face with a large eye, she looks to the side at the eye.
Carolyn of Me & C. is inspired by the iconic buildings, places, and spaces of London, ON. Photo by five|one|nine|photography via meandc.ca.

Carolyn has three collections through Me & C. — Places, Rewear, and the soon-to-be-launched, People.

The Places collection perfectly captures the memories of your favourite London landmark — whether a wild night out at Call the Office, a Sunday ball game at Labatt Park, or that first date in Victoria Park. She has 32 designs featuring some of Londoners’ favourite small businesses, cultural centres, and iconic buildings.

A rack of t-shirts with Me & C designs on them and three black and white prints to the left.
Carolyn captures London icons to make wearable memories of the Forest City. Image via Instagram @meandclondon.

Rewear, a community collaboration with Goodwill Industries, Ontario Great Lakes, is a collection of curated, thrifted clothing that Carolyn has reinvigorated with Me & C. designs. 

And her newest collection, People, is a collaborative endeavour to share the stories of people in our community who are experiencing oppression. Carolyn will work with the individuals to help them capture their story in a collage, turning their art into a t-shirt design that they can sell through Me & C.

Right now, the collection features stories from her life, but soon it will be full of moments and memories from artists throughout our communities, with a new individual featured each month. 

A person holds three totes in front of their legs. The totes are screenprinted by Me & C. and feature three London, On images, including Call the Office.
In addition to clothing, Me & C. silkscreens London icons on totes, tea towels, pillows, prints, cards, and more. Image via Instagram @meandclondon.

In addition to her gorgeous silkscreened items, she’s also quite the weaver of tales. Her weekly newsletter is more than just another email — she writes human stories of joy and struggle, sharing personal perspectives that make you feel like you’re not so alone in this unpredictable world.

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Three pillows sit on a coach with screen printing on them - from left to right, they include images from the Grand Theatre, The Embassy Hotel, and Victoria Park.
Silkscreening is the process of pressing ink through a stencilled mesh screen to create a printed design. Image via Instagram @meandclondon.

Plus, if you sign up for her newsletter you get early access to her shop updates, which only happen every two to three months. 

So let’s get to know this thoughtful, creative icon!

What do you make?

I use photographs and stories to create artwork that I silkscreen onto clothing and home decor items. I also write a weekly newsletter to a wonderful community of people who like to think and share stories and feel inspired.

How and when did you start creating?

I came to silkscreening later in my life. Originally, I trained at Western University as a classical singer and when I decided not to pursue singing as a career, I started looking for a new creative outlet. I took a silkscreening workshop in Toronto and set up a DIY studio in my home. My first sale was at the Forest City Flea in June 2016. I only started writing my newsletter last year, but writing has always been a part of my life. I’m glad to have finally started sharing it.

Do you remember your first piece? What was it?

The first thing I ever silkscreened was a picture I took of the Eiffel Tower when I was backpacking through Europe. It actually wasn’t bad!

What do you wish you had known when you first started making?

I wish I knew to focus on developing a creative habit. I think there’s nothing more important for someone who wants to be a creative professional than showing up every day to make something. That’s how you develop your skill and your style. It’s how you discover your unique creative voice — by doing. 

How did you come up with your name for your business?

I’m laughing just thinking about that process. I had so many random ideas. At one point I was going to call it Tilting Rabbit because it reminded me of a funny conversation I had with a friend once. But eventually, I thought about what got me into this work — the years I spent trying to reconnect with the creative person I was when I was in University. I had a dear friend at Western who always called me “C.” I decided to name my business Me & C. because it was about rebuilding and nurturing a connection with that creative part of myself. I also like that when other people say the name, it implies a relationship with me and my business. Self-exploration, self-development and relationships are at the heart of what I do (and who I am).

What or who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who seem to know themselves — who they are, what they need, and where they tend to go wrong — and who, because of that, create the most incredible, beautiful, honest things.

What’s your favourite item or piece to work on?

I’m experimenting right now with incorporating new mediums into my work and it’s my favourite thing to play with at the moment. I haven’t released any of that work yet. Stay tuned.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a maker?

For me, it’s self-confidence. Business is, by nature, really externally focused. You’re thinking about how people talk about your work, what they want, what they need, what they think. To have a successful creative business, you still need to do all that work but you also have to be able to refocus internally. To reconnect with the core of who you are because that’s where art comes from. Not from outside, but inside.

I find when I’ve been thinking a lot about marketing and have been very focused externally my confidence tanks. I get anxious and insecure. I’m still learning to bring myself back to myself in those moments. It’s getting easier, but jeez, some days it’s hard. A creative habit helps. Creating is grounding when you’re doing it from an honest place.

What’s your favourite London neighbourhood and why?

No way I can pick a favourite. Every neighbourhood is like a person with its own wonderful qualities. I rent an apartment in Woodfield. The trees are beautiful, a lot of different people pass through from all walks of life, and my neighbours are good, kind, community-minded folks. I also spend a lot of time in OEV and downtown and really enjoy the sense of community pride along Hamilton Road. I guess I gravitate to areas that are imperfect and real and generous toward people, no matter their circumstances.

What’s your favourite “hidden gem” in London you think more people should know about?

I don’t know how hidden it is, but the first thing that comes to mind is Tania Floral. Her bouquets are beautiful, her Instagram account is a burst of kindness and generosity, and she has a floral subscription, which I think is just brilliant. She’s also growing a lot of her own flowers now too! If you love flowers, head over to www.taniafloraldesign.com immediately. And if you’re looking to buy me a gift, I will take a bi-weekly flower subscription, please.

Where can people find your work?

You can find my work at meandc.ca. I update my online store every couple of months so that I have lots of time for creating in-between updates. Spruce Moose at The Market at Western Fair and Purdy Natural also carry a small selection of my work. 

What other London Makers should Londoners check out?

Well, Spruce Moose and Purdy Natural for sure! I just bought a backpack from Cindy at The COB Shop that I use constantly and a beautiful stained glass feather from Stacie at Forest City Stained Glass. I recently came across Stefani Riley‘s work, which I love. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my next-door neighbour, the Soft Flirt herself, Alayna. She’s been telling me about some of the very cool things she’s working on. I’d check her out! 

Connect with Me & C.

Feature photo courtesy of Me & C.

London Makers and Creators is a series from LondonFuse, focusing on the talented artisans who make and sell their work throughout London and area.

Are you or do you know a London maker we should be highlighting? If so, let us know in the comments below or email info@londonfuse.ca to be featured.

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