Kate is taking part in our coming Makers and Designers Market at Turner Contemporay on 4th and 5th December.
Describe what you do as a creative.
I am a textile designer creating luxurious handcrafted accessories and homewares, inspired by the raw textures and colour palette of the local coastline where I live in Margate.
Tell us briefly about yourself.
I grew up in a tiny village in the countryside in Bedfordshire surrounded by farmland and fields. My mum was an early influence on my love of textiles. She was hugely creative and spun her own yarn, experimented with vegetable dyes, knitted and sewed clothes for the family and also painted.
How did you begin doing what you do?
I decided early on that I wanted to be a textile designer and following a degree in Knitwear at Nottingham Trent, I set up my own business soon after graduating and gained invaluable experience and knowledge over the next twenty years designing and creating women’s luxury knitwear and accessories in my Clerkenwell studio in London. I sold my designs through select boutiques and also provided a successful commission service making one-off pieces for my clients.
Then nine years ago I made the decision to relocate from London to the Kent coast. In London I had been surrounded by a very urban environment of concrete and glass, working mainly with smooth cashmeres and silks in monochrome tones with flashes of bright accents. Following the move to the Kent coast, I found that my aesthetic evolved and developed and I now work with sustainable tactile textured wools and alpaca in an earthy colour palette.
What turns on your creativity?
Lots of things! The incredible natural light, raw coastal textures and ever-changing sky and seascape provide a rich source of inspiration for my creative practise. Finding new ranges of sustainable yarns to experiment with is always exciting and sparks new designs and ideas. Visiting galleries, museums and especially the V&A. Travelling to favourite inspirational cities such as Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam.
What do you like best about your work?
I love the hands-on process of making each piece myself and often find this sparks a flow of new ideas. Seeing my accessories worn and enjoyed by my customers, or my cushions and throws selected and purchased to create a cosy space in their homes is incredibly rewarding, and it’s always great when they are bought as a gift for a loved-one.
What is the most exciting part of your work at the moment?
It is always exciting to launch a new range of designs after months of development in the studio and see how people react and respond to them.
Which artists / creative people are your heroes and inspiring figures?
Sonia Delaunay, Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks
Your idea of happiness?
An early walk on the beach when the sun is rising, seeing friends and family again after months in lockdown. A strong, hot coffee is an affordable daily luxury that lifts the spirits and gets the creative juices flowing.
What art/creativity related book should everyone read?
‘On Weaving’ by Anni Albers, which is a constant source of inspiration. Also ‘The Art of Repair’ by Molly Martin and ‘Loved Clothes’ Last by Orsola de Castro are both invaluable to help us all strive to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle, thinking more about the purchases we make and taking better care of the things we already possess and love in our wardrobe and in our home.
Tell us a lesson life has taught you.
You never know what is round the corner, but unexpected challenges and events can open up wonderful new directions and opportunities in our lives.