Q&A with Katie Barton
Textile artist Katie Barton creates SpotMe badges -reflective accessories from her studio at Cockpit Arts and writes below about his inspirations, projects and the support he’s had along the way…
Q: What three words best describe your work/style?
Handmade, colourful and playful.
Q: Who, or what, inspired you to become a designer-maker?
Both my parents have always been self employed, my dad in the building industry and my mum as a fashion illustrator, also my Aunty Jane was a fashion designer. So I grew up in a wobbly world of creativity and uncertainty. The recession in the 80′s has left a big imprint on me, but overall I had a happy time and learnt that the rewards greatly outweighed the hard graft that my parents put in.
They have been my inspiration.
Q: When are you at your most creative?
When I am relaxed ideas seem to flood in, but I do find it hard to relax. I’ve got an album I listen to that always takes me to a place in my head – Inch beach in Kerry (Ireland), its somewhere I always feel safe and can breathe. Also I love walking around London and soaking it up.
Q: What can’t you work without?
My filofax and a pencil.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
I have just finished a commission from Brompton Bicycle to make 600 tweed Union Jack bags to celebrate the Queens Jubilee, using 3 British tweeds including a Dashing Tweeds cloth with retro reflective yarn woven into it. I am currently running workshops for a selection of primary and secondary schools in the city, for the City of London Festival, making costumes and sculptural pieces for the parade at the end of June. I’ve also just started making custom embroidered retro reflective badges for Google.
Q: What’s the best thing about having a studio at Cockpit Arts?
So many things it hard to choose! It’s all been awesome and made a HUGE difference to my business. But if pushed I’d have to say it’s the people, both in the office and the other studio holders. I look forward to going in everyday.
Q: What difference has receiving The Jill Humphrey Springboard Prize made to your business?
The award gave my business a boost it needed and gave me a bit more confidence. I bought some new machinery that meant I could increase my product output and take my making time down, which in turn lead to increased sales and an improved quality product. I also gave my packaging a facelift, which made it look more professional and better for retailers to stock.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give a maker setting up business for the first time?
Be open and talk to anyone and everyone about your business, be flexible (you never know where a great idea or opportunity might come from) and you have to be passionate about what you do.
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