"Making things should be a joy, not a chore" - Katie Parrott on what inspires her incredible crafts
Welcome to The Creative Files, where we speak to some of the biggest crafters, makers and designers, gaining insights into their creative processes, inspiration and their advice for newcomers. This week we had the pleasure of chatting with Katie Parrott, a dedicated crafter and sewer who is normalising diverse bodies and celebrates plus-sized fashion.
Who is Katie Parrott and what is it that you create?
My name is Katie Parrott, I am a plus size fashion influencer and body activist, and a passionate crafter - whether it's sewing, knitting or jewellery making, I love doing it!
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I've always been creative, and my family always really encouraged that. My granny and I used to spend time together every week after school and we would always be making something - she taught me to sew, knit, make paper, you name it and we probably tried it. Despite this, I always felt drawn to environmentalism and politics, which is where my career has ended up. I'm lucky that I get to have both the creative and the academic in my life.
How did you cultivate your distinct style?
I'm not sure I have one! I will try anything at least once, and don't like to box myself in. If I had to describe my distinct style it would be 'anything goes'.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I start with the inspiration - often that comes from Instagram, where I adore following people who get my creativity flowing. Often this is a beautiful knitting project, or a new garment I desperately want to have in my wardrobe. From the inspiration, I go looking for patterns and materials, and it all goes from there!
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Most days I am at my 9-5 office job, working on an environmental policy project. But when I come home I love to sit down and get something creative done - if I'm tired, it's knitting on the couch while watching tv, or if I've got enthusiasm for a specific sewing project I will head straight to my machines.
What has been your favourite project to work on so far?
Oooh this is a tricky one! But I think it would have to be the blazer I made last year using Spotlight's tapestry fabrics. It's fully lined and interfaced, and always gets me compliments. I also loved the project because it pushed me further than I thought I was capable, and forced me to be meticulous with my cutting, stitching, and seam allowances!
Who are your biggest artistic inspirations and why?
My friend Lena probably. She has this amazing old-school mentality that everything is make-able and mendable. Her sense of connection to craft always inspires me to think differently about how I honour my projects - using special buttons, or hunting down era-appropriate patterns. Lena also inspires me to try anything and not be caught up on perfection (even though her work is pretty dang close to perfection in my book), because making things should be a joy, not a chore. I just adore her and have many pieces in my wardrobe inspired by her makes.
Do you have a single piece of advice you'd give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Just start making things. Do what brings you joy and don't be afraid to make mistakes - the pleasure of creating is that pretty much everything can be salvaged for something else, so just go for it!