Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Red Door Gallery would simply not be the same if it wasn't for the wonderful support of independent and emerging designers and artists dedicated to presenting original, inspirational and affordable artwork.

In amongst all of these talented folk is the very lovely and talented Katy Brown. Founder of olive & brown, Katy will be launching brand new work, including bespoke embroidered wallpaper, at the much anticipated Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2009. Held at Spinningfields in Manchester from the 22nd to the 25th of this month, the fair provides a unique shopping experience, showcasing creations from some of the most talented designer-makers in the UK today. A week ahead of the big event we were able to grab an interview with a busy Katy for our next regular designer/artist feature. Thanks for giving us a great read Katy!

Q - Please describe what you do. What materials/techniques do you use?

A - I would say I am a modern embroiderer. Recently my work had involved pencil drawings too. I have also been embroidering on to paper and have created bespoke wallpaper for the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2009.

Q - Where do you live? How does it feed your art?

A - I live on the borders of Greater Manchester and Cheshire. I love Manchester, it inspires me whenever I go in to the city.

Q - Describe your studio. Where is it? How often do you use it? Do you work alone?

A - I currently create work in my bedroom (pictured above).....I sound like a teenager! I have recently moved back in with my mum and my bedroom is the only room I have to work in. It's not great and doesn't inspire me to get on and work. Since moving out of the home I owned with my ex boyfriend it has been difficult to be creative. Since getting the place at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair it has forced me to get on and work and I'm now back on track. It feels fantastic to be doing what I love again.

Q - What name do you work under?

A - My grandma's name was Olive. I loved her to bits. She died three years ago. She was a wicked person with a wicked sense of humour and her own personal style. I liked the idea of her being part of something that she would be proud of me for and would fully support me on. Sometimes I get sad knowing that she will never get to see how well I'm doing.

I also like the name Olive, although she hated it. Her full name was Olive Edna and she couldn't stand it...ha ha. I am obviously the 'Brown' bit.

Q - Have you always been a designer? How did you end up doing what you do now?

A - No. I did a Fine Art degree and was working with much more conceptual ideas. Prior to my degree though I did an Art Foundation course and focused on textiles. I wanted to do an embroidery degree at Manchester, however due to failing my A Levels (I was too interested in singing) I didn't get a place, so ended up doing Fine Art in Sheffield. I'm glad I did though as I met some of my closest friends there and two people I couldn't live without. I believe that there is a reason for most things.

Q - Where did you train?

A - I pretty much taught myself.

Q - What inspires you?

A - There are many artists on etsy that inspire me. My best friend and her lovely man often inspire me. They are two very creative souls and I often find them very inspiring. My mum, although she doesn't inspire me in the creative way, she inspires me with her hard work. She runs her own business too and I often get home from a night out to find her beavering away at her computer!

Q - Is there anyone or any style that you're influenced by?

A - I am mainly influenced my Fashion. Clothes are a big thing in my life, how I dress is very important to me (god, that sounds so shallow). My favourite fashion designers are Stella McCartney, DAY Birger et Mikkelsen (pictured above, top), Lyell (pictured above, bottom) and Beaumont Organic. I tend to read fashion blogs like stylebubble and The Sartorialist. I also love etsy and bloesem for craft inspiration. I read Antler mag, Elle Deco and Vogue on a monthly basis. I often draw the models from Vogue and use them in my work.

Q - What piece of machinery or tool could you not live without?

A - My sewing machine!

Q - Besides the products you sell at The Red Door is there anything else that you make?

A - Yes. Check out my website

Q - What are you working on at the moment?

A - I have recently been working on pieces for the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. This includes framed embroidered art work, pencil drawings and collage, wallpaper, cushions and brooches (pictured above) that I sell in the Red Door.

Q - What do you do when you are not working? Can you switch off? How do you unwind?

A - I do lots of different things. I like watching films (especially French ones), going to gigs, walking, going to the gym, spending time with the lovely man in my life, shopping, having a glass of wine or two, cycling......and many more things. I am not very good at sitting and doing nothing.

Q - What's your favourite pastime?

A -Watching people whilst drinking coffee, with a magazine or book in hand that I'll probably never read but at least I won't look weird!

Q - What do you like least about being a designer? Any occupational hazards?

A - Nothing!

Q - What do you like most about being a designer?

A - The feeling of achieving what I want in my life by being creative. So far I will never look back and think I didn't try to do what I've always wanted to do.

Q - What's your favourite possession? This can be absolutely anything!

A - I have a few but I am not very good with material possessions. I'm better at treasuring people. But if I had to answer then basically anything this lady (sunlight on closed lids) has given me and a beautiful old charm bracelet given to me one Christmas by Olive Edna.

Q - What advice would you offer to other creatives?

A - Stick at it. If it makes you happy then it is worth the hard work.

LINK LIST. Who's work do you love? Any artists/makers/friends/galleries/websites you'd like to share.

Thank you Katy! Wishing you every success at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair next week.

For more information on visiting the fair go to the Great Northern Events website.

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