Cindy Durkee headshot

Cindy Durkee

Volunteer and Instructor

Advancement Circle and Fiber & Crafts Circle

Cindy Durkee is a highly active and deeply motivated member of the Mixed Media Circle at Makers Mill.  The creative process is her passion, her dedication, and the driving force of her life.  “I am creative and always have been,” she affirms.  “I cannot help it.”   


Cindy grew up on a farm in Littleton, Mass. However, by age 16, she was determined to become a fashion designer.  She began the odyssey of her creative spirit by studying fashion design at Pratt Institute of Design in New York City.  After completing her BFA degree in fashion, she became a swim wear designer, but this was only the beginning.  As she affirms,  “Each career path that I have followed and each business that I founded evolved as I found a purpose for my design skills in new and innovative ways.”  


These innovative careers have included a diverse and highly successful application of Cindy’s creative skills. In 1980, she opened a toy company in Norwalk, CT, called Oh You Beautiful Doll and sold her handmade products through craft fairs.  Based on this experience, she reports a surprising discovery.  “I found I was better at selling things than making things.”  The toy business evolved into a specialty retail company, Seasonal Sensations, which brought seasonal offerings such as roses for Valentine’s Day, Easter baskets and toys, or flowers and plants for Mothers’ Day into shopping centers throughout the Northeast.  


Seeing a need in the specialty retail cart and kiosk industry, Cindy drew on her experience developing displays for a wide variety of products and opened a design consultancy, Impact! Visual Design.  She developed and delivered retail design seminars for mall developers’ staffs and tenants, wrote for trade journals, and managed the design and installation of retail cart programs and seasonal displays.  Some favorites were the Santa booth and display at the Mall of New Hampshire, the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport retail kiosk program, and Mall Grand Openings for Saint Louis Mills, Pittsburgh Mills, and Grapevine Texas Mills.    


Referring to her professional evolution, Cindy describes how she loves learning and embraces change.  “I have been like a rock rolling downhill into the next business venture or design experience.”


Volunteering and teaching at the Makers Mill is that next creative adventure.  “I am truly excited to have found a community of creative, productive people who freely engage in sharing their time and talent with the next wave of creators.”  


She explains the draw to Makers Mill in the following way.  “At The Makers Mill, there are people like me who are ready to stretch themselves and become part of a community of creative minds and hearts.  I’m at Makers Mill for the friends, the connections. I have all the tools and materials in my studio at home, but I have no one to play with there.  When you join other people in the creative process, the joy and excitement are compounded.  And it’s all about connection, collaboration, and learning from each other.  Together we are more than the sum of the individual parts.”


Cindy was initially drawn to Makers Mill when she saw the announcement of the Upcycled Fashion Show in April of 2022.  She co-led the Mill’s Upcycled Fashion workshops and helped organize the fashion show.  Through this initial contact, she realized that she had found the next application for her art and design experience.  Teaching and creating at a community art center had long been a part of her vision for retirement.  What she discovered was that the environment that she wanted to create was already taking shape at Makers Mill so she has joined the creative community of Makers Mill.  She feels she has come home.


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