An Interview with Katie Brown

Good morning everybody, today we are delighted to introduce the very lovely and talented Katie Brown.

Katie Brown is a printed textile designer based in Northern Ireland. She screen-prints silks by hand in a stunning palette of bespoke dyes, using the urban landscape as her inspiration. Her obsessions are colour, out-of-the-ordinary patterns and travel.

1. How and where are you today?

I am in my studio at Seacourt Print Workshop, Bangor, feeling very motivated after my holidays! I am based here for two years as part of Craft NI’s making it Programme, which provides business support for designer makers. It is a fantastic opportunity and I adore being surrounded by the hubbub of artists who also use the space

2. How would you describe the journey that has brought you to this place? And was this the destination you had in mind?

Throughout my degree in Textile Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, I was determined to work in some sort of large-scale design operation as part of a creative team. However, graduating in 2009, just as the recession kicked in, was bad timing! I did some internships in London but quickly realised that I missed designing to my own brief and this prompted the change of heart. I started investigating creative entrepreneurship and took lots of courses, which has led me to where I am today. I continue to learn as I go along and I definitely haven’t reached the destination yet! I am determined to keep pushing my work and be in a job I love.

3. Do you have a process to ensure you are in the right frame of mind to create?

I usually have a cup of coffee at hand and an ipod plugged in. I love to get lost in my work. I plan and write lists, trying my best to be organized but I don’t think it’s in my nature!

4. How do you think your background and culture influences your creations?

My prints are inspired by the urban landscapes of the cities I visit or live in. My current collection stems from images of my home city of Belfast, more recently of the docks and shipyards. So I am in a sense influenced by my background, using local imagery in my work. I often regret the huge loss of the textile industry in Northern Ireland as it played a big part of the lives of our previous generations. I had grandparents and great grandparents who worked within it. However, I like the idea of continuing to use some of the traditional processes in my work and combining these with digital advances.

5. What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty comes in many forms. To me, something eye-catching, with stunning colour or with interesting shape and shadows can be transformed into beautiful patterns and vibrant prints. My work uses traditionally ugly, industrial images, such as barbed wire, that suddenly become beautiful when applied to soft flowing silks. I love disguising these images in my fabrics and challenging ideals of beauty.

6. If we had interviewed you when you were 11, what would you have told us you wanted to be when you grew up?

Bizarrely, I wanted to be a doctor up until the age of 17! I was always creative but never believed that I could turn my skills into a career. A teacher at school encouraged me to look into courses at art colleges and I never looked back. Studying design, having the chance to experiment and being surrounded by inspiring people was an amazing experience.

7. What advice have you received that you want everyone to benefit from?

“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” Be persistent and determined and you can make things happen.

 You can find out more about Katie and her work at

www.katiebrowndesigns.com

www.facebook.com/katiebrowndesign

Thanks so much for those amazing answers Katie, we are so glad to welcome you to the family.

Handsome and Pretty

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