Women Who Create / Kate Rochester. In this fortnight’s edition of women who create things I am excited to introduce to you designer and illustrator Kate Rochester. I first met Kate some years back when she took on a studio space with us in Brighton at our old HQ. Her joyful and colourful work always brings a smile to my face! Her love of colour and texture has filled many a children’s story book, map and more recently murals!
Tell us a little about your background…
I was always encouraged to cook, sew and draw as a child. I went on to study surface pattern at college, where I developed my drawing and practical skills. This enabled me to achieve a diverse career in print for textiles, graphics and illustration. My work is a combination of good old painting and drawing mixed with digital. I make all of my own textures and draw everything by hand before scanning in and refining on the computer.
Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?
If I know my dog has had a good morning walk and is settled, then I can focus. I listen to music, podcasts, womanise hour and desert island discs.
Lists are essential! I have lists everywhere from scraps of paper to notes in my sketchbook and diary (old school hard copy, not digital!)
What two things can’t you live without?
My dog Dolly, and Pinterest!
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, magazines, nature, and every day things like packaging and the shapes in architecture. I treasure hunt at antique shops and flea markets looking for children’s books, textiles and ephemera. I like to use hand lettering in my work and love looking at the variety and individuality of fonts. I get really inspired by group workshops, strengthening techniques and learning new skills.
What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you?
Home made, hand made, thrifty, recycled. I love to bake, sew and build and re-use vintage and second hand stuff wherever possible. I haven’t bought a birthday card to send for years, although I have got a box full for inspiration! I make gifts for friends too when I have time and always have a craft or DIY project on the go.
If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?
I would love to work on a big mural or window display for Anthropologie; produce some inspiring pages for Flow or Uppercase magazine; or create my own range of screenprinted products
Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?
I have recently got into collage and papercutting and have rediscovered my scalpel and scissors.
What is the best thing about working for yourself?
It is flexible and varied and I pay my bills by drawing and painting! It can be challenging sometimes to balance financial security with freedom and creativity, but it is worth it.
What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?
I was commissioned to design a series of panels for a specialist heart ward at the Royal Brompton hospital in London. They feature buildings and scenes from allover the world. There are animals hidden throughout to give the patients something to do and the palette is bright and colourful so I like to think they bring some to an otherwise daunting hospital visit.