Katie: So that could be an interesting step forward as well but I think its always going to start with me physically drawing.
Woven: Is all your work hand screen-printed or do you do any digital?
Katie: Yeah, I do design Fashion prints for some small UK based labels, just really loyal clients that have been with me since the beginning they usually get my stuff digitally printed because it usually tends to be a bit more watercoloury. Digital printing is the best kind of medium for that really. But for my own work everything is screen-printed.
Woven: In some of your cushions I’ve noticed you have a different back to the front, with contrasting patterns or textures of fabric. How do you go about deciding that?
Katie: That was like an editing process, You know when you start a collection you always end up with more prints than you actually need, maybe some aren’t as strong as others. It was just a case of paring them together, I quite like clashing textures and patterns as you can tell from my wall hahah. I’m not really one for paired back minimalism really, I wouldn’t say that my stuff is particularly garish.
Woven: No not at all, I guess when doing something that’s traditional like florals its nice to have a twist.
Katie: Yeah, definitely.
Woven: There is so much freedom that comes with printed Textiles as it can be applied to so many different contexts. Is home ware something you have always been interested in, would you ever want to try out different surfaces?
Katie: Oh yeah I would love that, I would like to start doing tiles actually, that’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while although I think that’s for after the summer. But I always thought I would work in Textiles for Fashion, and I did work in Fashion for a couple of years after I graduated. But with my own stuff when I started my own label I found you could be a bit more experimental with home wares in some ways. I think it can give you a bit more freedom of expression. I suppose that does apply to fashion as well, I always think cushions and interiors are an investment you make into artwork. There are labels that are doing that really nicely with clothes, I don’t know, I saw my seamstress last week and she was like “You should start doing clothes” it’s a can of worms and I don’t know, so that might be coming later.
Woven: I think colour is so important for every Textile Designer, how do you create your colour palettes? Are there particular colours you are drawn to?
Katie: I go through phases where I will really get into a particular colour. So 2015 – 2016 I was really into cornflower blue and then last year I got really into odeneal so it is everywhere! I used it in the piping of my cushions and the borders of my throws. Its my favourite I love it, I still haven’t quite shaken it, but I think some more brighter colours are beginning to sneak in a bit. More turquoises and a bit more red than I usually use. I don’t know whether the next collection will flip on its head and go really garish. But that emerald and teal I use a lot of. Its funny because I mix my colours myself so I buy little tubs of highly concentrated colour that you mix with a binder to print with. And I always run out of blue first, and then yellow and I have this bottle of red left that I barely touch. Apparently I love green!
Woven: What’s your typical workday like?
Katie: It depends what I have got on, I usually do my marketing stuff on a Monday or a Tuesday and set up my emails for the week. And then save printing for Thursday, Friday, as that’s the fun part. If I have a big run of printing things get a bit crazy as I don’t have time to tidy up sometimes, but I’m getting better at it.
Woven: Sustainability is definitely the future for textiles, is this something you incorporate into your work?
Katie: yeah, I mean I only use water bade mediums. I make all my stuff to order so I have full control over the amount I am making, also I keep my production very local to London or Reading is the only other workroom I use. My main seamstress just lives up in Edmonton so that means it keeps the wastefulness down and makes sense financially as well. It works for the planet and it works for me! Textiles is always going to have an element of waste as that is the nature of the product, if you can control your output of the product then it helps.
Woven: Whats your favourite thing about being a textile designer?
Katie: I get to print! I love printing its my favourite thing! I get to draw and do artwork. I feel very lucky because I have a good core group of clients that are really loyal to me but just the community of other textile designers is really nice. I have friends that do similar things to me, I wouldn’t say its cutthroat and competitive everyone is here to help each other out. And just the options you can do as well its limitless, it’s fascinating!